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Harriers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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Date: 05-04-10gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1463gif away fans: 311
McPhee penalty miss loses Harriers points

gifReport by Harry Taylor
Kidderminster Harriers threw away a possible win with a late missed penalty at home to former rivals Rushden and Diamonds.  Harriers had come back from a goal down and in the early moments of stoppage time Chris McPhee had a penalty easily saved after the Rushden keeper, Dale Roberts, had brought down Brian Smikle.

Rushden started out with a weakened side with their star man Lee Tomlin, who had struck the winner for Rushden against Harriers over the Christmas period, out through injury.  Returning to the Harriers ranks were Lee Baker from injury and a surprise start for deputee keeper Jasbir Singh instead of Ross Atkins in the Harriers goal.

Rushden were the first to try and get on the scoresheet as Rob Wolleaston hit a shot from the left hand side of the penalty area but his connection was all wrong and it went spinning wildly out to the right hand side of the goal for a goal kick.

The Harriers were also creating chances of note, firstly Brian Smikle had a shot go past the right hand post after a good ball over the top from Dean Bennett and the provider nearly scored himself in the fourteenth minute as Bennett, following a clearance from a corner struck a curling volley into the top corner only to have Dale Roberts catch it before it reached the net just as it was seemingly dipping underneath the crossbar.

In the twenty fifth minute Rushden took a deserved lead.  McPhee was robbed of the ball by the Diamonds attacker, Max Porter, who saw the goal open up in front of him and from about twenty yards out with only the keeper separating him and the goal.  He hit a fierce drive that gave Singh little chance as it flew into the bottom left hand corner despite the diving efforts of the Harriers keeper.

Following this Rushden continued to retain possession but were lucky to still have eleven men on the pitch when Nick McNamara appeared to elbow Jack Byrne in the face and, with the referee not having a great angle to see the challenge, he only issued the Rushden man a yellow card.  The Rushden manager, Justin Edinburgh, hastily withdrew the midfielder to stop the risk of him getting sent off for any more rash challenges with Paul Terry being the man replacing him.

After this the away team continued to dominate possession and we had little threat up front.  The two supporting strikers of Darryl Knights and Smikle often left Matthews isolated and when he did win flick-on's they were nowhere to be seen so the balls were wasted.  Kidderminster could also have been accused of not being clinical enough especially with Smikle's chance near to the end of the half from which he should've perhaps scored.
  HT: 0 - 1
The second half started brightly albeit with a yellow card for Terry as he attempted to pull back Knights as the livewire raced away from him.  Paul is the brother of the famous England centre-back John Terry.

Within eight minutes of the restart the Harriers were level.  Seemingly out of nowhere Knights raced between two Rushden defenders, who apparently thought there was no danger, and hit a shot under the diving body of Dale Roberts and, despite coming off his arm as he dived, it rolled over the line to give the Harriers fans something to cheer about after the 'Jeckyl and Hyde' performances of late.

The goal had given the home side some encouragement and they started to pressurise Rushden more.  Lee Baker was going down the left at times threatening the defence with crosses that had been much missed with Sharpe not being as adventurous an attacker when compared to Baker.  In fact the left back nearly scored himself as he had a drive at power from outside the area, which was fortunately deflected at power off a Rushden defender, otherwise the ball may have ended up in the net.

Matthews, who had been winning flick-ons in the air for most of the game and adding good link up play, was bringing others into the game with Darryl Knights having more of the ball in the second half in attacking positions.  This improved second half performance almost ended up in a second goal for the Harriers with Smikle being put through in the sixty seventh minute on the left of the goal.  He stuttered slightly and hit his shot towards the near post but it was at an easily savable height for Roberts who got one hand to it and got it out for a corner.

From then on until late in the game the Harriers continued to put pressure on the Rushden keeper with Smikle twice cutting inside.  However the match should've been won by Harriers in the ninetieth minute when a ball was put into the area and when Smikle put pressure on Roberts the goalie dropped the ball straight to Smikle.  He then proceeded to bring him down for a stone wall penalty.

Up stepped Chris McPhee, who had scored a penalty against Tamworth near the start of the season and had then missed one against the same team in December.  He ran up to the ball and hit it straight at Roberts who saved it with his knees and the ball ricocheted away to one of his own defenders.  McPhee looked demoralised, Rushden looked delighted.

Subsequently the Rushden manager Edinburgh was given a red card for continual arguing and was made to spend the rest of the game (all three minutes of it) in the dressing room.

The final whistle eventually went and the Harriers fans were rueing McPhee's miss which could've given them a valuable three points in trying to finish as high up the league as possible.

Next we see them play Barrow away this Thursday night and that will be a tough game up North.  To get three points there will be a hard task.
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Knights 54
 Goal for Rushden: Porter 26


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Harriers  subs   cards      Rushden & Diamonds  subs   cards 
Singh     Roberts  
Courtney     Osano  
Baker   Robinson  
J Byrne     Porter  
Prosser     Stuart  
Riley     Huke gif  
McPhee     O'Connor  
Bennett     Wolleaston  
Matthews     McNamara gif
Knights     Smith gif  
Smikle     Akurang  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Atkins     Downer gif  
Lawrie     M Byrne  
McDermott     Pattison  
Kerry     Terry gif
Sharpe     Louis gif  

REFEREE:
Mr B Malone
Wiltshire





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