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Stevenage Borough 0 Harriers 0 - FA Trophy semi final 2nd leg

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Date: 20-03-10gif Venue: Broadhall Waygif att: 1622gif away fans: 98
We didn't ship five goals this time

gifReport by Harry Taylor
The Harriers produced a far better performance than the one that they greeted Stevenage Borough with the previous Saturday.  Despite the dismal weather over Broadhall Way, and most of the country, the Harriers gave it their all and were unfortunate not to score.

The starting line-up for the Harriers was different to the one that faced Borough the week before with Robbie Matthews style of play preferred by the Harriers manager, Steve Burr.  He was partnered upfront by James Lawrie.

Stevenage, despite some thoughts that the current table-toppers may play a weakened squad, had many of the players who faced the Harriers the week before and it was they who came closest first with a Chris Beardsley chance hitting the post before being cleared early on.  Harriers then replied with a Lawrie effort that Chris Day tipped over the bar for a corner which bought no end result.

In the twenty sixth minute Beardsley had another chance to further torment his former club as the pacey striker got past the Harriers defence and advanced on Ross Atkins but the forward hit his shot past the far post in a moment that would have made Kidderminster fans feel more than a little worried.

Subsequently David Bridges had a header which was kept out superbly by on-loan keeper Atkins who produced a one handed save as he dived to his left to further keep his sheet clean.

This game was fast becoming very end to end and Stevenage were producing ample counter attacks and looked very dangerous on the break as Harriers were at times living on a knife-edge.  Balls continued to go across the face of the area without a Borough touch or a Harriers clearance and produced many heart-in-mouth times for the superb travelling support this afternoon.

Kidderminster almost took the lead through one time Northern Ireland international, James Lawrie, who had the ball laid off to him twenty five yards out.  He hit a low, slightly curling shot towards Days' bottom left hand corner and the Stevenage stopper got down well to keep the ball out.  Darryl Knights got space a few moments later out on the right and his volley went spinning wide as the connection wasn't as perfect as he would've liked and the strike shaved the side netting as it failed to trouble the Stevenage goal.

The half ended all square with both sides evenly matched but now the Harriers had only forty five minutes to get those all important four goals.
  HT: 0 - 0
Early in the second half Martin Riley was subject to a seemingly harsh two footed tackle from Andy Drury who received a booking for his troubles however it could be deemed that it may have perhaps been Riley's fault as he seemed to back off from the ball when it came towards him.

Knights continued to trouble the Stevenage defence and forged the sides best opportunity of the match when he stumbled past the Stevenage defence, getting into some space, and produced a shot.  Just as some fans were waiting for the mere technicality of the net bulging Day kept the ball out with a fingertip save to keep the scores at 0-0.

However Stevenage had some fantastic chances in the second half to take the lead and if they had responded with the same clinical attitude that they had in the first leg they may have won the game.  Firstly Yemi Odubade worked well down the right hand side and produced a low cross towards Beardsley who hit a shot straight towards the near post, bottom corner and Atkins made a superb reaction save to keep it out and then dive on the rebound despite the presence of the front man.

Stevenage's second chance of any note in the half was after a backpass from Riley.  Atkins' poor first touch let him down and whilst he tried to make up for his minor mistake by clearing the ball it hit the onrushing Mitchell Cole - on for Drury earlier - who shot and forced a superb save from Atkins.  It went out to Odubade but he couldn't get onto the end of it to relieved cheers from Kidderminster fans.

The Harriers tried to respond and apart from the Knights chance their best two chances were Duane Courtney's drive which was nearer to a throw in than the goal and a Chris McPhee drive straight at Day.

When the final whistle blew it capped a strange second leg of the semi final.  Harriers had kept a clean sheet and defended resolutely throughout and questions were asked in regards to why they couldn't do it in the first leg.

Atkins, Matthews and Lawrie all had very good games with Atkins producing fantastic saves to keep us in the game.  Matthews held the ball up well and Lawrie showed an attacking and creative force that had not been seen for the Harriers in a while.

Kidderminster could've won the tie perhaps with their possession but they didn't get the ball into the box enough to create any real clear cut chances and this was the difference as to why the tie ended 0-0.

A special mention must go to the superb travelling support.  Despite being 5-1 down on aggregate they were determined to have a good time and, even though some sections of them had suffered a near four hour coach journey previous to the match, they all seemed in good spirits and put the Stevenage support to shame.

There's always next season.
  FT: 0 - 0



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Stevenage Borough  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Day     Atkins  
Henry     Courtney  
Laird   Baker  
Murphy gif     McPhee
Ashton     Sharpe  
Roberts     Riley
Bridges gif     Smikle  
Beardsley   Bennett  
Long     Lawrie  
Drury gif   Knights  
Odubade     Matthews  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Bayes     Singh  
Byrom gif     Bignot  
Albrighton gif     Caines  
Cole gif     Hadley  
Sills     Boyes  

REFEREE:
Mr F Graham
Essex





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