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Eastbourne Borough 0 Harriers 0

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Date: 06-03-10gif Venue: Priory Lanegif att: 913gif away fans: tba
Eastbourne ends as a bore draw

gifReport by Philip Lench
The Harriers lost further ground in the play-offs today when they could only manage a scoreless draw at struggling Eastbourne, a side that found themselves slammed 6-0 by Stevenage on Tuesday.  We were hoping to go some way towards matching that score line but by the end of the game we had come nowhere near it.

Now we find ourselves probably too far away from those play-off places with teams no better or worse than us looking good for them.  Both Rushden and Kettering won today with Luton and York City not far behind although the latter lost for the second game running at Forest Green.

The thing is with the play-offs is that although we know we are not good enough to go up this season the games themselves are mini money spinners and that's a good standby if we don't progress beyond the Stevenage games in the FA Trophy.

For today's game we made do without the injured John Finnigan and Robbie Matthews from the midweek Ebbsfleet game.  Marcus Bignot came in for his first start in place of Finnigan while Adam Boyes took over from Matthews.  Matthews went to the bench while James Lawrie, now returned from San Marino, joined him there.

Eastbourne made a few changes from the side that lost so heavily midweek and played most of the game in a defensive format with just a lone striker up front.  That massed defence, and the woodwork, played it's negative part in a game that was never exciting to watch.

Both sides were slow to start although Boro should have scored in the opening seconds of the game when Neil Jenkins scuffed a shot wide and then James Taylor lobbed an effort towards goal but it too went wide.  It didn't end there and, with the Reds looking nervous, Liam Enver-Marum had a shot blocked by Ross Atkins when the ball looked destined for the back of the net.

Slowly we got back into the game but chances to score were rare.  Our first real chance came after twenty minutes into the game when new boy, Adam Boyes, managed to surge past defenders and fire in a firm low effort that was straight at Danny Knowles.

As the half hour approached we began to dominate the game and Eastbourne were forced more and more onto the back foot but we still couldn't capitalise on our position.  Dean Bennett missed an easy chance to score but scuffed his shot instead and then probably the best chance of the half fell for leading scorer Brian Smikle when a shot from Boyes was parried into the path of Smikle but when he returned the shot back Ben Austin got back just in time to clear it from going in.
  HT: 0 - 0
Six minutes into the second half and it looked obvious that the home side had come for the draw.  All they had done in that time was pack their half with bodies to try and stop us from getting a clear look on goal.  That spell came to an end when Adam Boyes was denied by the woodwork.

A Darryl Knights corner came in and landed just right for Boyes to send a rising shot crashing against the crossbar of Danny Knowles' goal.  The woodwork at the other end came to our rescue just after when Matty Crabb, unmarked in the area, fired in a volley that beat Atkins but then came back off the bar.

The first of our substitutions took place soon after that near miss and Marc Goodfellow replaced Darryl Knights.

Eastbourne had a couple of rare forays on goal when Liam Marum sent a volley well over and then Matt Crabb saw yet another shot hit the woodwork from his curling free kick.  In between those Gavin Caines picked up a yellow card after the referee said that he had hauled Marum down when in fact it looked more like the Boro striker falling over.

We were still applying pressure on the Eastbourne goal and Brian Smikle sent a shot across the face of the goal and then Dean Bennett, again, fired the ball over from Chris McPhee's layoff.  Boro had shouts for a penalty waved away when Marum went down far too easily in the area, soon after he went off to be replaced by Andy Atkin.

With time now running out a last throw of the dice from Steve Burr saw Robbie Matthews come on for Marcus Bignot and James Lawrie arrive in place of Adam Boyes.  We had now gone to four strikers up front and all out for that winning goal.  It didn't come though and as time ticked away to the final whistle Dean Bennett saw yet another strike come back off the woodwork.

It just wasn't going to be our day to score.

So it's now onto the Trophy games next Saturday with a trip to Luton sandwiched in between.  We're going to have to get our shooting boots on if we hope to get any kind of result from those three games.
  FT: 0 - 0



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Eastbourne Borough  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Knowles     Atkins  
Elphick     Courtney  
Jenkins     Baker  
Smart     Bignot gif  
Austin     Caines
Pullan gif     Riley  
Benjamin gif     McPhee  
Armstrong     Bennett  
Taylor     Boyes gif  
Enver-Marum gif     Knights gif  
M Crabb     Smikle  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Atkin gif     Singh  
Johnson     Sharpe  
Weatherstone     Goodfellow gif  
N Crabb gif     Matthews gif  
Rowe gif     Lawrie gif  

REFEREE:
Mr A Davies
Hampshire




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