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Wrexham AFC 2 Harriers 2


Date: 24-11-09gif Venue: Racecourse Groundgif att: 2086gif away fans: 128
Harriers battle the elements at Wrexham

gifReport by Philip Lench
The Harriers returned from a rain sodden Wrexham tonight with a battling draw that now gives us a three match unbeaten run but still with no movement up the table although the gap is closing quietly.  We'll have a chance to close the gap further on Saturday with the visit of AFC Wimbledon.

For tonight's game there was just one change to the side that won at Kettering on Saturday and Darryl Knights dropped to the bench in favour of David McDermott.  Maccy D had a cracker of a game when he came on at the start of the second half at Kettering and the Harriers manager Mark Yates decided that warranted giving him a start.

On the bench was Lee Baker following the end of his three game ban.  Again Danny Andrew was given the nod over the first choice full back until an injury to the on loan player at the start of the second half saw Baker come on.

Following a cautious start from both sides it was the Harriers who were the first to get the sparse crowd going.  The Wrexham keeper, Maxwell, tipped over Brian Smikle's header but then the referee gave a goal kick in the home sides favour.  No surprise there really because Mr Wrigglesworth was the one that sent off Robbie Matthews against Luton for jumping over their goalkeeper.

Matthews himself headed over soon after but the home side were now starting to stamp their authority on the game and chances became scarce for the Harriers.  We did get a chance from a free kick following a foul by Chris Smith on Dean Bennett but Andrew curled the kick over the bar.  Smith was booked for the initial challenge.

Wrexham followed up with their first real attempt on goal when Marc Williams' shot was superbly saved by the Harriers keeper, Dean Coleman.  The action then went straight back down the other end of the pitch and Matt Barnes-Homer missed a fabulous chance to open the scoring when he somehow put the ball over the bar from a few yards out after Maxwell had palmed McDermott's strike straight into the centre forwards path.  Seconds later the scoring was opened but for the wrong side.

Wrexham were awarded a free kick, against Martin Riley, outside the area and the ball was played across to an un-marked Mike Williams to slide in on the mud and prod the ball into the net at the far post.  The goal had been coming for a while but it wasn't good to have it come from a series of defensive errors.

We countered the goal with another great chance coming the way of MBH when his long range shot was dropped by Maxwell but with no one around to follow up the chance was gone.  Not so the next chance.

A long ball was played upfield on the break by Gavin Caines onto the head of Matthews.  He knocked it back for Brian Smikle and his shot from the edge of the area whistled into the net to draw us back level.

The equality didn't last long.  More poor defending from the Harriers gave Wrexham the lead once more and it was Mike Williams again who scored the goal.  A corner from Wes Baynes came over and, with all our defence rooted to the spot, Williams came in and headed it into the net.

To our credit we still didn't give up and Smikle again had a decent chance to add to his tally but his shot was straight at Maxwell.  Again some more sloppy goal keeping could have given us some reward from Smikle's shot because instead of collecting the ball safely maxwell again opted to just push the ball away and this time straight into the path of MBH.  Luckily for Maxwell Curtis Obeng was on the line to rescue his team mate.

With the clock running down to the break we again drew level.

This time the equalising goal came from Chris McPhee and this time it was McDermott that set it up.  He slipped slightly on the wet grass but managed to regain his balance enough to strike the ball goalwards for Maxwell again to make a hash of it when he parried it this time towards Matthews who then played the ball on for the Harriers captain to slot the ball under the hapless Dragons keeper.

  HT: 2 - 2
Following the glut of goals and the poor defending/goalkeeping of the first half it was to be expected that would continue in the second period but the worsening conditions put paid to that.

Again the home side started the stronger with two chances falling the way of Neil Taylor and Marc Williams before the Harriers got back into their stride.  A Danny Andrews chance was the last in the game for him when he was suddenly substituted for Lee Baker and Andrew went straight down the tunnel for treatment for an unknown injury.

Just after Bakers arrival Wrexham should have scored when Adrian Cieslewicz broke away and made a beeline for goal, striding past Riley and then Coleman, before taking aim and then missing the open goal completely.

We made another change just after that scare and McDermott made way for Darryl Knights.

The game was starting to get scrappy now with the heavy rain creating many problems and a rash of substitutions by both sides did nothing to improve the game and chances on goal were now becoming rare.  Wes Baynes sent one across the goal and Smikle sent a free kick just wide from a header while a few minutes later Martin Riley had a header go over and Chris McPhee had a shot from twenty yards out go just wide.

In the final seconds of the game all our battling could have gone to waste when for some reason Coleman sent a goal kick straight at Marc Williams that then rebounded back towards goal with the keeper stranded.  Luckily for him it went the right side of the post - for us.

So the game ended all square after initially looking like there was going to be a bucketful of goals.  It was a good point to earn away from home and the point still keeps us in touch with the play-offs.
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Wrexham AFC: Mike Williams 26, 35,
 Goals for Harriers: Smikle 33, McPhee 44,

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Wrexham AFC  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Maxwell     Coleman  
Obeng     Courtney  
Sinclair     Andrew gif  
Westwood     McPhee
Cieslewicz     Caines  
Mike Williams     Riley  
Fleming   Smikle  
Smith   Bennett  
Baynes     Barnes-Homer gif  
Marc Williams     McDermott gif  
N Taylor gif     Matthews  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Jones gif     Singh  
G Taylor     Knights gif  
Fairhurst     Baker gif  
McCluskey     Hayward  
Wolfenden     Farrell gif  

Mr R Wrigglesworth
South Yorkshire

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