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Forest Green Rovers 1 Harriers 1


Date: 25-01-11gif Venue: The New Lawngif att: 687gif away fans: 183
Harriers pull it back at fiery Forest Green

gif Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers returned from a fiery encounter - as it always seems to be - at Forest Green, with a point thanks to a latish Chris McPhee goal but we should really have wrapped the game up in the dying minutes of the game when Nick Wright spurned a golden chance to give us all three points by shooting at the keeper a few feet from goal.

Towards the end of the first half Forest Green should have had Reece Styche sent off after he kicked the Harriers keeper Danny Lewis in the face causing the game to be stopped for almost five minutes while Danny was attended to.  The referee, Richard Martin, decided against a red card and instead issued a yellow in a feeble attempt to look as if he was in control of the game.

With a changed team selection McPhee dropped back into midfield while Jamille Matt replaced him up front.  Out wide Matty Blair was dropped to the bench in favour of Dave Hankin, Jack Byrne too with Callum Gittings replacing him while Nick Wright also part of the game out.

Forest Green had former Harriers Luke Jones and Craig Armstrong starting for them while Gavin Caines was on the bench.

The game was scrappy.  Let's not beat about the bush here because both sides were a poor example of non league football and on their day bottom placed Histon could have beaten either of us.

It was FGR that did have most of the chances in the opening period with Styche and Ross Dyer both going close but Danny Lewis pulled off some very good stops.  The scoring was opened by Steve Guinan in the 20th minute when Mark Albrighton decided not to challenge for a through ball to Jared Hotchkiss who then crossed the ball over to the unmarked Guinan to head it past Lewis at close range.

The goal knocked us back for a while and we allowed Rovers to take control of the game.  This wasn't helped by some poor passing and poor defending from the Harriers and in one attack Michael Briscoe was booked for a foul on the edge of the area when it looked to most fans as being just inside the penalty area.

Soon after came the disgraceful GBH attack on Lewis.  The ball was played through for Styche to run onto but Danny got there first and tried to shield the ball with his body.  Styche swung his foot at him and caught him in the chest then to everyone's disbelief he aimed a boot at his face and caught him just above the eye.  The linesman immediately flagged for the incident but, with Harriers fans crowding round him and fans baying for blood, the referee raised a yellow card in a cowardly fashion and allowed a thug to stay on the pitch.

Within seconds of the restart, following treatment to the Harriers keeper, Styche had fallen to the floor claiming he had been elbowed by Briscoe even though Briscoe was behind him at the time.  It was Rovers fans turn to call for a sending off and matters were made worse when a non playing member of the FGR team, Ian Herring, ran onto the pitch to have his say.  Again the referee failed to take action and had by this time lost total control of the game.

He quickly blew for the break and walked off the pitch to a crescendo of abuse from all around the stadium.
  HT: 1 - 0
The second half was a vast improvement from our point of view.  It looked as if the incidents of the first half had galvanised the side and we seemed more up for it now.  An early substitution of the hopeless Jamille Matt for Matty Blair and Jack Byrne for Callum Gittings seemed to do the trick and we, at last, looked a more complete unit with the corresponding move of McPhee into a striking rôle.

Rovers were still seeing the best of the chances on goal but Lewis was having a blinder and not much was getting past him.  At the other end we had our first shot on goal when McPhee blazed a ball over the bar.

Byrne was the next for us to try his luck but his weak shot didn't really trouble the FGR keeper James Bittner.  Soon after Lee Morris was subbed by Nick Wright after he pulled up with what looked like a groin strain and hobbled away to the changing room in discomfort.

With the introduction of Wright we started to se a few more chances come our way and Wright could have scored soon after coming on but was judged to be fractionally offside as he struck a ball that was scrambled away by Bittner.  As it was we finally got the goal we had been waiting for all evening.

Dave Hankin played the ball through to Wright on the edge of the area and it was his clever little back heel that set McPhee up with a clear view of the goal to unleash a shot that screamed into the back of the net from 12 yards out.

With the Harriers now going all out for the killer second goal it was the provider of the goal that threw away a diamond studded chance in the dying minutes.  With Rovers also going in search of a winner they lost the ball in front of goal and the ball was ent back up the other end for Wright to give chase.  He beat the defender all hands down and then ran towards Bittner with the goal at his mercy but, for reasons known only to himself, he failed to shoot early and instead ran all the way into the keeper who easily stopped the ball from going beyond him.

The game ended soon after, all square, as yet another fiery encounter with Rovers failed to be decided one way or the other.  The Harriers left the field to a round of applause from the fans for their efforts in the final quarter of the game while the referee slunk off back into the hole he had come from.
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for FGR: Guinan 20
 Goal for Harriers: McPhee 82

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Forest Green Rovers  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Bittner     Lewis  
Hodgkiss     Vaughan  
Hall   Williams  
Turk gif   McPhee  
L Jones     Briscoe
Armstrong     Albrighton
Klukowski     Hankin  
Forbes     Briggs  
Styche   Morris gif  
Dyer     Matt gif  
Guinan gif     Gittings gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Z Jones     Stevens  
Bartlett     Wright gif  
Caines gif     Blair gif  
Allen     Shaw  
Enver-Marum gif     Byrne gif  

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