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Harriers 1 Darlington 2

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Date: 19-04-11gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1626gif away fans: 63
Shocking 2nd half see Harriers defeated

gif Report by Harry Taylor
Tonight's game, the game in hand over Fleetwood Town, saw the side completely capitulate and run out of steam, meaning Darlington left Aggborough with three points and moved the Harriers down another place into 7th with York leapfrogging the Harriers.  It had potential to be another great game for the Harriers who could have gone a point behind the 'Cod Army' but alas it wasn't to be.

Jamille Matt started his first game since the home game to Crawley Town and Sean Canham, who started at Eastbourne on Saturday, dropped to the bench.  The 4-5-1 formation was also dropped by the Harriers manager, Steve Burr meaning Chris McPhee could take his place up front signalling the return of the 4-4-2 which has been called for by fans following recent results.

The return of a more attacking formation hastened more chances for the Harriers and more possession as perhaps Mark Cooper had been wrong footed by the change, evidenced by once the Harriers reverted back to 4-5-1 his 'Quakers' side took advantage.

Despite having most of the early chances they were reduced to being spectators as the Harriers came forward and threatened the superbly named Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton's goal with Callum Gittings header producing a superb save from the goalkeeper; in fact those attending tonight may not see a better save all season.

Minutes later and the Harriers had taken the lead when a free-kick on the left side of the pitch was delivered by Michael Briscoe for McPhee to run into the area and nod the ball on as Keith Briggs steamed into the area running across goal to lash the ball into the net.

Five minutes later and ex-Harrier (for all of one poor appearance against Newport) Aman Verma went into the book for a reckless challenge on Tom Shaw that resulted in him receiving lengthy treatment.  Lucky perhaps as it was a very poor challenge and players have been sent off for less.  Minutes later he then threw himself at Shaw again in and sent him up into the air and that surely meant he should have received his second yellow but it went unpunished.

The Harriers then sat back into the 4-5-1 formation that has been used of late and proceeded to lose their grip on the game.

The half then played out with nothing else dramatic of any note to send the Harriers happily into the half-time break with them going a point behind Fleetwood as it stood.  The game wouldn't end that way.
  HT: 1 - 0
The start of the second half was delayed due to spectator illness with an ambulance being called.  Despite not knowing the person concerned I hope whoever it was is OK.

The second half started with a chance for Darlington; perhaps wisely Aman Verma had been replaced by Chris Moore and John Campbell was replaced by Tommy Wright.  From the off Mark Cooper had seemed to see the trend that the Harriers had fallen in to and instructed his players how to deal with this formation as in this half the Harriers only really had two chances to score with Darlington coming back into the game more.

Sean Canham then came on in the 65th minute in place of Matt and immediately Darlington scored an equaliser through Jamie Chandler (no relation to the Harriers director of the same name) on the counter attack.  He got the ball on the right side of the area and hit a shot across Danny Lewis' goal into the bottom far corner of the net.
The formation still didn't change as Burr seemed intent to catch Darlington on the break but that wasn't happening at all.  Minutes later Canham had a chance to put the Harriers back in front as he was completely unmarked about eight yards away from St. Louis-Hamilton's goal but he again produced a fantastic save to deny the loanee.  It could have been a better shot perhaps, but not by much as it was another fine save by the Quakers keeper.

McPhee then had a shot which, in all fairness, he struggled to get out of his feet in the area and poked it weakly towards goal and it was easily saved.

Callum Gittings then came off for Nick Wright and, like before, Darlington scored a minute after a Harriers substitution.  Canham hit a header back into his own half and Darlington capitalised on the wastage of possession, storming up the pitch and leaving Chris Moore to fire across goal from the left side of the area into the corner.  A carbon copy, mirror image, of their earlier goal.

Then the cheating started and the referee - who had already had a poor game - showed his true colours.  Darlington players went down after weak challenges from Harriers players and play was stopped with Paul Terry being a chief culprit.  Once a drop ball was taken but instead of the sporting kick back to the goalkeeper that is often seen, they blasted it as hard and far into the corner as possible.
Then it was the turn of Marc Bridge-Wilkinson who, once the substitution board went up, stood looking blankly at the dugout for about a minute whilst the referee did nothing about it.  Spineless, especially when you're trying to claw a goal back.

It continued with Terry, again, trying to step into the limelight when the Harriers had a free-kick he went and stood two yards away from the ball arguing with the referee.  The ref made no attempt to make him move back.

Ridiculous, clearly another victory for the respect campaign.  Not!
The Harriers continued to press and Matty Blair was clean through on goal and put the ball wide of the goal, but it shouldn't have been down to him to dig the Harriers out of another mess a la Grimsby away.

The crowd were deflated and the game dribbled out to boos directed I assume at the referee and the cheats in black and white.  Disgraceful sums it up entirely.  There can be excuses for hard tackles or niggly fouls perhaps, but blatant cheating like that is absolutely disgraceful and I hope Mark Cooper is proud of the performance on and off the ball his side put in tonight.

So it leaves the Harriers still four points off Fleetwood with a game against them to play, meaning they have to drop the points.  York City are also a point ahead of us but have to play Crawley and Darlington.
It can still be done but after tonight the performance on Friday has to be much, much better if they want any chance of playing in the Football League next season.

Man of the Match has to go to Keith Briggs with a good goal and some great passing on occasion, especially in the first half.
  FT: 1 - 2

 Goal for Harriers: Briggs 30
 Goals for Darlington: Chandler 66, Moore 76


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Keith Briggs
Vote for your Man of the Match here  
Latest table and stats here  

Harriers  subs   cards      Darlington  subs   cards 
Lewis     St Louis-Hamilton  
Vaughan     Arnison  
Williams     Brown
Briscoe     Chandler  
Shaw gif     Taylor  
Albrighton     Miller  
Blair   Smith  
Briggs     Terry  
Matt gif     Bridge-Wilkinson gif  
McPhee   Verma gif
Gittings gif     Campbell gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Stevens     Russell  
N Wright gif     T Wright gif  
Byrne gif     Gray gif  
Morris     Moore gif  
Canham gif     Modest  

REFEREE:
Mr K Johnson
Weston Super Mare





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