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Harriers 0 Fleetwood Town 0    FA Cup 4th qualifying rd

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Date: 24-10-09gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1257gif away fans: 220
The 'fishy' referee had a smell of Cod about him

gifReport by Philip Lench
For the first time in at least ten years the Harriers look to be going out of a cup competition to a club with lower league status.  Fleetwood came to Aggborough to do a job on us and they succeeded, along with the unexpected help of a referee totally deficient in a brain of any kind.

It's not fair on the visitors to say that if it wasn't for the shocking officiating that we would have won this game because we were equally as poor as Mr Farries.  It's when you get decisions that see a shocking tackle from Sean Beeley on David McDermott get smoothed over with the wag of a finger and then minutes later our own John Finnigan finds himself the first entry into the refs book for a challenge that didn't look nearly so bad and the Fleetwood player get back up from straight away then we start to get the impression that this particular referee had a smell of Cod about him.

It got worse!

Minutes from the end of the game, after turning down a blatant penalty decision when Kyle Hadley was upended in the box and then ignoring a bone crunching tackle from the previously booked Steve McNulty on McDermott, he then sent off the Harriers Captain Chris McPhee for a tackle that was worthy of a yellow card at the most.  We now have to head to Fleetwood on Tuesday evening minus another important player for us with Robbie Matthews already missing through suspension and now McPhee.

It now looks like Matt Barnes-Homer will have to lead the line by himself, something he's never too keen on doing, unless Aaron Farrell starts to show something of the reason why Mark Yates bought him here for.

As for today's game then Dean Coleman finally put his doubters back in the corner after yet another fine display between the sticks.  He won the official MotM award and looks like doing the same on this site by making some outstandingly crucial saves.  One of those saves came just minutes from the end as Fleetwood were looking for the late clinching goal and Dean somehow flipped a free kick from James Milligan over the bar.

During a disappointing first half we had, or created, very few chances of opening the scoring.  McDermott was the first to show anything with a shot that went high and wide over the bar in the sixth minute.  By that time the visitors had already had three shots on goal with the best one coming from Sean Clancy when his shot swerved just the wrong side of the post.

Fleetwood, spurred on by their vociferous Cod Army, were looking dangerous all over the park and that wasn't just for some of the meaty challenges going in.  They looked a yard faster than us and closed us down all the time making our usual passing game impossible and leaving us to revert to the long ball game that MBH despises.

Matt's game today was summed up by a free kick that he somehow sent flying over the scoreboard and into the car park beyond.

It took until almost the half hour before we managed to create anything worthy of note when Brian Smikle ran onto a Barnes-Homer pass from wide.  Smikle's shot bought the best from the visiting keeper, Danny Hurst, forcing him to fly across the goal to make a one handed save that he flipped out for a fruitless corner.

The half fizzled out a bit after that with a senseless booking for McDermott after he kicked the ball away and a header from Chris McPhee that went narrowly over the bar from a free kick following yet another unpunished tackle on McDermott from Clancy.
HT: 0 - 0
The second half should have been the time to come out with a earwigging from Mark Yates echoing through the players heads and a more determined commitment to getting some kind of positive result uppermost in their thoughts.  It hadn't and it didn't.

Finnigan blazed a defenders shot over the bar two minutes in but we just could not get our heads round the fact that Fleetwood were still more up for the game than we were.  A series of defensive errors should have allowed Town to open the scoring when mistakes from both Finnigan and Gavin Caines allowed Tom Cahill to surge through un-hindered and fire a shot that Coleman managed to make a fine save from.

Not long after we made our first change of the game when Kyle Hadley came on for the under performing (weren't they all) Smikle but if he was to make any difference it was hard to tell.  Let's face it that our subs bench is piss poor this season and we have nobody at all that can come off there and change a game.

Again the visitors should have taken the lead a couple of times when Nathan Pond missed an easy chance to score, sending his header wide of the post, and then probably the best chance for them and also the best save from Coleman when he somehow managed to push a volley from Gareth Seddon over the bar.

While all this was going on the referee was still up to his tricks.  McPhee was being continually bought to his knees by pushes and elbows but not once did the man in black admonish anyone for it.  The crippler came when Hadley was bought down in the area as he burst into it, for what could have been the goal that won us the game, and was then up-ended by a Fleetwood defender only for the cod headed ref to wave the appeal down form his vantage point on the half way line.

With time running down it was looking less likely that we would be going through to the next round today and that a replay at Fleetwood was inevitable.  Caines almost gave a goal away when he deflected a shot from Milligan that went just outside the post with Coleman wrong footed but he then almost turned saviour minutes later when his own shot was somehow saved by Hurst.

Dean Coleman followed suit with the save from Milligan mentioned earlier on but then came the controversial episode that saw McPhee sent off and so missing the next three games for 'dangerous play'.  What!!.  How that nothing tackle on the bye line could be called dangerous will never be explained.  It just means that our task has now been made ten times harder now and if we progress any further in this seasons FA Cup it'll be a miracle.
FT: 0 - 0


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Dean Coleman
Vote for your Man of the Match here  
Latest table and stats here  

Harriers  subs   cards      Fleetwood Town  subs   cards 
Coleman     Hurst  
Courtney     Beeley  
Baker     Wright  
Finnigan   Taylor
Caines     McNulty
Riley     Pond gif  
McPhee   Clancy gif  
Smikle gif     Milligan  
Barnes-Homer     Cahill  
Knights gif     Seddon  
McDermott   McGuire  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Singh     Grundy  
Bennett     Wilde  
Dolman     Connins gif  
Hadley gif     Mullan gif  
Sharpe     Dodgson  
Farrell gif     Dell  
Hayward     Hills  

REFEREE:
Mr J Farries
Oxfordshire





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