Forest Green Rovers 1 Harriers 1
Venue: The New Lawn
away fans: 195
Harriers throw a win away
Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers dropped yet another two points at Forest Green tonight in what was ultimately another disappointing result for us. 1-0 up and cruising, we looked to be heading for our first ever League win there but once more we allowed the home side to come at us in the second half and a ball over the top left our defence caught out flat footed and two points gone begging.
We started the game in complete control utilising the same starting line-up as against Gateshead on Saturday. Robbie Matthews was back to fitness (again) and started on the bench for us with Tom Sharpe making way for him.
Once again we were passing the ball around nicely but that old failing was still there. That of hesitation in front of goal and looking for an alternative option. Darryl Knights was the first to have a pop on goal for us and gave the Forest Green keeper Terry Burton an early testing.
The game was stoped for a while when the hosts defender, Imudia, appeared to fall badly and twist his ankle. Bad boy Lee Ayres came on in his place to a chorus of jeers from the Harriers fans that remembered his antics from the corresponding game last season when he got Justin Richards sent off.
That was all forgotten, albeit temporarily, a few minutes later when Chris McPhee scored in the eleventh minute for us following some wonderful exhibition football. The gradual build up to the goal involved interchanged passes between Knights and McPhee to end with Chris sidefooting the final pass beyond the reach of Burton.
Two minutes later and Matt Barnes-Homer should really have done better when he blazed a shot over the bar from a few yards out after receiving a perfect through ball from Brian Smikle. Matt seems to have lost his goal touch this season and he really does need to get it back soon.
We upped the pace a bit towards the end of the first half and chances fell for David McDermott, Darryl Knights and MBH again but poor finishing stoped the chances being converted.
FGR had just the one attempt on goal this half and that went to Sean Rigg when he sent a shot just past the post.
HT: 0 - 1
The second half was a totally opposite affair. The new FGR manager, David Hockaday, had rallied his troops and it was they who came out of the starting blocks the faster.
In the first half it was the Harriers that was forcing the other team into mistakes by closing them down as much as possible but this time round the tables were turned and it was Forest Green doing the harrying and the Harriers making the simple mistakes. We did manage to get the occasional shot on goal with McDermott's shot come cross that only just missed the far post after deceiving Burton and also McPhee and Barnes-Homer.
It didn't take the hosts long after that to draw level with a goal out of the blue and also one that should never have been allowed to happen either.
A long ball over the top of the static Harriers defence was pounced on by Sean Rigg and he sped off towards goal, drawing out Coleman, and then slotting the ball beyond his reach. They could have increased their goal tally soon after when another mix up in the Harriers defence let them in again and a shot was fired in following some ricocheting around the area. Coleman was too far out on the edge of the area but luckily for him, and us, Lee Baker was on hand to clear the goal bound ball off the line.
Our best chance of the half fell for McDermott when he broke away from his man on the centre line and made a bee line for goal. With only the keeper to beat he made a grave error and passed the ball to Barnes-Homer instead of using his momentum to carry him on past the keeper and to slot the ball into the net. In the end the chance was wasted because MBH had neither the speed or inclination to reach the proffered ball.
Three quarters of the way through the game Robbie Matthews was sent on in place of McDermott and to be honest he looked far from being fit and we would have been better off keeping Maccy D on and giving Matthews a bit longer to recover from injury. I'd say he was a good two weeks away from the desired fitness level required.
Dean Bennett picked up his fifth booking of the season and he'll probably miss the Wrexham game a week tonight. TBH it wasn't a particularly bad foul and the FGR man went down a tad too easily. The referee also reached for the card a tad too easily too.
Deano had taken a knock in the incident and he made way for Kyle Hadley a minute later.
The game fizzled out into nothingness after that and what chances we did get were squandered with poor passing and an un-willingness to shoot on sight. We threw two points away this evening and this really cannot keep happening. Other results went our way this evening and we failed to capitalise.