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Harriers 0 Crawley Town 0

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Date: 08-03-11gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1816gif away fans: 80
Battling Harriers match slick Crawley

gif Report by Harry Taylor
Kidderminster Harriers tonight faced moneybags Crawley Town a side who, following tonight's 0-0 result sit at the top of the Blue Square Premier joint on points with the Harriers next opponent in the league, AFC Wimbledon.  Tonight, at times, we made the self declared champions elect look very ordinary.

The Harriers started with a new strike force of Jamille Matt and a returning Lee Morris, with Chris McPhee slotting into midfield to replace the injured Keith Briggs.  Also missing was Sean Canham who hadn't recovered from a hamstring tweak at the end of the game at Luton last Saturday.

Crawley named a side and a bench that has been the culmination of spending more money than the whole of the league above - League 2 - did last season, boasting the likes of 125,000 Richard Brodie on the bench but including new signing Charlie Wassmer in the starting eleven.  Crawley are believed to be paying £35,000 to Hayes & Yeading for his services once the season ends.

The game as a whole was a tense affair with the Harriers defending almost seemingly for the majority of the game and hoping for a break via the pace of Matt Blair.  Meanwhile Crawley's movement, passing and skill of their players provided a trinity that gave the Harriers the run around in the first half, making it seem at times like the away side had an extra man.

However it was from a set piece that Crawley got their first chance as, in only the second minute, Willy Gibson struck a free kick from inches outside the area firmly at Danny Lewis who punched it over the bar.

Tom Sharpe then went off injured with a dislocated knee, that could see him miss the remainder of the season, before Crawley had a golden chance to take the lead.  Danny Lewis, for the second time in the first half, fumbled a cross.  The first time it was cleared away but on the second occasion Josh Simpson was on hand, a handful of yards out, to slice the ball wide of the goal where the majority of the stadium including Simpson himself must have been waiting for the formality of the net to bulge.

Before the half was out Charlie Wassmer got a yellow card for a elbow in Lee Vaughans face that saw some fans calling for red.
  HT: 0 - 0
The second half saw the Harriers defence, like against Wrexham and Luton, stifle the Crawley attack and reduced them to a smattering of half chances because this was the half for the Harriers.  Their most dangerous move of the half was early on in the game when Matt Tubbs ran into the area and got bundled over by Mark Albrighton, but with the ball going out, a corner was awarded and not a penalty as some may have feared.

Other than this chance it was all Harriers as Matty Blair's pacy, penetrating runs down the right caused problems for Crawley.  Yet the main chance of the half, if not the game, fell to Nick Wright who had come on as a substitute for a poor Jamille Matt.  He followed the ball over the top and then raced past the Crawley defender who slipped up as Wright advanced on goal.  He should have perhaps taken a shot at goal but instead he slipped the ball across the area to Tom Shaw whose shot was blocked perilously close to the line by Dean Howell and Blair couldn't follow up.

This was just after the Crawley keeper, Michael Kuipers, spent seemingly an age on the floor after falling over just outside the area after Chris McPhee had passed behind him and Kuipers had stopped suddenly.  Firstly he handled the ball outside the area on his way down and then appeared to feign his injury earning McPhee a yellow card from the referee.  The linesman, who would have perhaps been in a better position than the referee, was not consulted.

The action wasn't completely over as a goal mouth scramble followed a corner as multiple players had shots which were poked towards goal by McPhee, Albrighton and Tom Shaw but eventually Crawley cleared.  In the dying moments Matty Blair had a header that went wide of the left post.

All in all it was a result which was perhaps a fair one.  Both sides could have scored and the Harriers defence played superbly against a strike force that must have cost an arm and a leg.  More than they'll get paid in a season anyway.

So on we advance to Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow on Saturday where another point would be much appreciated, if only to stave off the interest of Fleetwood who if they won and we grabbed a draw, would be level on points with us.  Either way it's a huge numbers game and hopefully we'll come out of it favourable in a very tough run of games.
  FT: 0 - 0



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Harriers  subs   cards      Crawley Town  subs   cards 
Lewis     Kuipers  
Sharpe gif     Wassmer gif
Williams     Howell  
Briscoe     Hunt  
Shaw     McFadzean  
Albrighton     Bulman  
Blair     Gibson gif  
Matt gif     Torres  
Morris gif     Tubbs  
McPhee   Simpson  
Gittings     Cook gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Stevens     Shearer  
Griffiths     Brodie gif  
Hankin gif     Wilson gif  
Vaughan gif     Smith  
Wright gif     Rusk gif  

REFEREE:
Mr M Heywood
Cheshire




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