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Harriers 0 Stevenage Borough 2

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Date: 17-04-10gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2564gif away fans: 978
Harriers help Borough to the title

gifReport by Harry Taylor
Today was Kidderminsters last Saturday home game of the season and they lost as Stevenage Borough became Conference champions for the 2009-2010 season.  The Harriers started with their now familiar 4-3-3 formation utilising a forward three of Robbie Matthews with Darryl Knights and Brian Smikle on either flank.  Stevenage also played their usual formation although they were missing the tricky winger Mitchell Cole to the bench but they still took the lead within two minutes of the game starting.

Straight from kick-off, under pressure and with perhaps a push, John Finnegan played the ball backwards towards Martin Riley who let the ball roll past him for Jasbir Singh to pick up.  To the majority of fans in Aggborough Stadium at this point there was nothing the matter with this, however following heavy appealing from the Stevenage players for a pass-back, the referee awarded a indirect free kick just outside the area despite the fact that like in a recent Arsenal champions league game Borough took the kick quickly and scored.  The referee brought the ball back for it to be taken properly from the correct position just inside the area and up stepped Charlie Griffin.  Following a touch from a team mate he drove the ball past the wall and past Jasbir Singh into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.

The goal sent the army of travelling Stevenage supporters into wild celebrations as their dreams of promotion to the promised land of the Football League seemed ever more realistic whilst the seconds ticked by.  The goal perhaps could have been prevented after the foul was given away, there were no defenders on the line which perhaps might've proved more useful and they may have kept the ball out of the net.

Stevenage continued to pile on the pressure in an attempt to try and make their lead and subsequent Championship win more definite.  Another chance fell to Griffin whose scuffed shot rolled past the keepers left side of the goal and was eventually so far wide that it went out for a throw in.  He had another chance subsequently following a ball over the top and a deflection meant the ball yet again fell to Griffin who opted to go for power over placement and hit the ball straight into the upright and the ball went away for a goal kick causing him to kick the advertising boards in frustration.

For the whole of the half the Harriers caused no threat to Chris Day in the Stevenage goal at all.  The formation of 4-3-3 gave Harriers no chance of creating any fruitful attacks leaving Matthews often isolated and what he did do proved ineffective.

Knights and Smikle had also seen little of the ball and Stevenage were finding Harriers easy to beat because the home side weren't proving any threat to the Champions elect.

Half time came and as it stood with Luton drawing at home to Altrincham then Stevenage would be champions at the end of the day.
  HT: 0 - 1
The second half started and soon provided Harriers with a hope of drawing level.  Midfielder Jack Byrne burst into the area and, with it being perhaps easier to score than miss, he smacked the ball way over the bar from eight yards out with the ball hitting the top of the stand.  It seemed that it just wasn't going to be the Harriers day.

The next chance for Harriers to try and get back into the game came in the fifty ninth minute when Knights swung in a corner from the right side of the pitch but nobody challenged Day in the Stevenage goal and he caught the ball easily.

A few minutes later Chris McPhee broke away for us and sped towards the Borough goal.  Chasing him was Joel Byrom and he was forced to bring the Harriers man down before any damage was done.  Byrom went into the referees notebook but a minute later his name was going in there again when he sealed his sides promotion once and for all.

Byrom ran onto a long punt forward and advanced towards Duane Courtney who then slipped and let him through.  A left footed drive straight into the bottom right corner of the net once again sent the Stevenage fans wild with celebrations of their near ensured league success.

Harriers may have been down but they were still fighting to regain some pride and perhaps a goal along the way.  Lee Baker had a free kick from the left and Finnigan spooned the ball over the bar, choosing to blame the service rather than the idea for the free kick or the poor connection from the veteran midfielder.

By now Steve Burr had made some changes with James Lawrie and Lloyd Kerry being brought on for Matthews and Knights.  Kidderminster followed this with two chances in as many minutes and Kerry was the first to test the Stevenage keeper with a shot that surprised Day, along with a few of the fans, with a fierce drive that was straight at him.

McPhee was the next to try and score from a great chance to get a goal back with a ball across from the left by Baker.  He volleyed the ball towards Day who could only parry the ball away but Lawrie couldn't connect and the ball was cleared.  Two Stevenage players were on the floor though and any momentum Harriers had built up had been lost.

Stevenage fans knew that their title win was safe and, with Luton still drawing, the game seemed to lose its energy until the final whistle blew after three minutes extra time to signal Stevenage's championship win and cue celebrations along with a pitch invasion from the away fans that even the poor stewards couldn't prevent.

The gulf between the sides was evident, more so today than against the same team in the Trophy first leg, as this time it wasn't a matter of how clinical Stevenage were it was the fact that they again drastically restricted our chances and the Harriers couldn't get a look in.  Rebuilding will be done in the summer and it will be interesting this time next season to look back on now and see whether we have improved or stayed the same.  The coming months will be extremely important.

However football isn't totally over at Aggborough just yet as Barrow visit the Harriers on Tuesday night for one final send off for this season.  A win is a must to regain some confidence in the side after recent performances like today will have lost support from some sections of the support.
  FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Stevenage: Griffin 2, Byrom 62


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Chris McPhee
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Harriers  subs   cards      Stevenage Borough  subs   cards 
Singh     Day  
Courtney     Henry  
Baker     Laird  
Finnigan   Roberts
Prosser     Ashton  
Riley     Drury  
McPhee     Byrom gif
Byrne     Bostwick  
Matthews gif   Griffin gif  
Knights gif     Beardsley  
Smikle     Odubade gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Atkins     Bayes  
Lawrie gif     Wilson gif  
Bennett     Sills gif  
Sharpe     Bridges gif  
Kerry gif     Cole  

REFEREE:
Mr S Martin
Staffordshire




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