Harriers 0 Kettering Town 1
away fans: 169
Harriers crushed by dubious penalty
Report by Harry Taylor
A dire, drab, diabolical and despondent performance by Harriers lead to the 1-0 loss to Kettering Town this evening. Harriers lined up with Robbie Matthews getting his home debut alongside Matthew Barnes-Homer in a line-up that on paper would be one of the best in the league. Instead it failed to deliver or shoot and we were left with one decent chance from Matthews to come out of the partnership.
The first half was a well matched affair with neither side looking very good at all and both sides lacking creativity. The best chance for the Harriers coming with Robbie Matthews striking the ball towards Lee Harper's near post where Harper made a good save. Darryl Knights failed to impress as to me he seemed to offer nothing to the first half with only one good touch out of 45 minutes worth of play. Seeing as he was the man in the 'hole' who is supposed to provide a lot of the creativity.
Harriers failed to create anything dangerous in the first half at all which was infuriating as Kettering seemed to be there for the taking and, despite the fact that they still had the man-mountain of Geohagen in defence, they still looked shaky at times and a decent attack could have broken them down. So its a shame we failed to create one.
The only attacking player to come out of the half with any sort of credit was Matthews who continued to provide a ample set of knockdowns but nobody was on the same wavelength and many went untouched.
At half time we went in at 0-0 which was a fair reflection of the poor Harriers play coupled with Kettering's lack of attack.
HT: 0 - 0
The second half started as the first finished, with Harriers having a fair amount of the ball, but couldn't put a good move together and even when they did they didn't look willing to shoot either.
Kettering were the first team to try and stamp their authority on the game with a Lee Fowler corner which they failed to convert. From then on Harriers had a few shots, a notable one coming from Barnes-Homer with Eaden getting the block.
Sixty minutes in and the game had reached the point where it was crying out for a change, a chance to break the creativity barren spell the game was under. Yates eventually bought on David McDermott well after Mark Cooper had made all three of his changes and McDermott totally failed to have any sort of effect.
Kettering had a decent spell in the game from sixty minutes onwards, with the Harriers appearing to have parked the team bus in front of the goal as countless deflections and blocks saved Coleman from any sort of test. In that respect they were doing their job.
As seventy minutes arrived Harriers appeared to take the initiative and create chances, Robbie Matthews most notably hitting the bar with a superb curling shot, however nobody was there to follow it up so the rebound was cleared away.
Dean Bennett had a thirty yard drive that had some fans already celebrating a goal but it was cleared by John Dempster. The worst aspect of the Harriers attacks reared it's head when, with Bennett having a chance to shoot, instead passed it to Smikle who wasted the chance.
At this point It was becoming clear that Kettering were going to nick the win and they did so in controversial fashion. First McDermott was hacked down from behind and the referee in his infinite wisdom decided not to award anything and then two minutes later Bennett brought down Marna, in the area, with a fairly light challenge as the Kettering man forced himself past him. The referee gave a penalty to add to the reasons why he had a bad game in the middle and Marna converted the penalty to the Kettering fans delight.
Four minutes of injury time was added on meaning just a little more time to save the game by grabbing an equaliser. Just before the final whistle that chance came via a Smikle header that was cleared out of the goal, beyond the line, by Nicky Eaden, to the fans bemusement as some thought it was in (shades of Crystal Palace last weekend).
That was it and the game then finished Harriers 0-1 Kettering.
It was a truly dire and woeful performance that wasn't helped by Yates inability to make any meaningful substitutions. The change should have been made on the hour when we were starting to take the upper hand but just needed that extra something to make it pay.
If these awful performances continue much longer Yates may need to look at his tactics and also bring in a stronger bench because the one we have at the moment is devoid of any quality at all. Only John Finnigan could have the potential but he doesn't really seem to be in Yates' plans at the minute.
Now we have the awful situation of just one goal scored in four games and that is down to our senseless inability and unwillingness to shoot. If you don't shoot when the goal is in sight then how the hell does Yates expect us to win games.
Next up is Grays away and lets hope we can break our duck there. If we don't perform down there and at Altrincham I feel that Mr Yates might be in a lot of hot water.