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Harriers 1 Forest Green Rovers 0

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Date: 01-01-11gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1370gif away fans: 108
Chris McPhee gives the Harriers some New Year cheer

gif Report by Harry Taylor
With the new year rolling in the Harriers saw a new Chairman taking the reigns in the form of Mark Serrell, the clubs third chairman this season.  However this wasn't the most important event of the day as the Harriers were playing Forest Green Rovers at Aggborough.

The home side saw Lee Vaughan return to the ranks in place of Tom Sharpe, who had come down with the flu between the Newport defeat last Tuesday and today, and Chris McPhee who turned up on time for this game and replaced the injured Lee Morris.  Mark Albrighton also earned a recall to the side.

The arrival of Forest Green saw the return of Gavin Caines, Luke Jones and Craig Armstrong to Aggborough.

The first half saw little of any notability as either side was equally as poor as their respective opponents.  Forest Green had chances from Reece Styche and Ross Dyer turned away by Danny Lewis in the Harriers goal who later went on to make a superb save in the second half.

Nevertheless these chances were more than the Harriers had to show for their efforts in the opening stages, Michael Briscoe's wayward volley from outside the area the only chance they had in the opening half an hour, minutes after a wasted corner from the right by Dave Hankin.  The best opportunity that either side could've taken was for Forest Green who worked well down the left.  The wideman cut the ball back to Brad Gray on the edge of the area who should've taken his chance and shot first time, however he took a touch and the Harriers defence, to their credit, pushed out and cleared the ball.

The best the Harriers created was via a Matty Blair cross from the right towards Dave Hankin in the area but the cross was arguably too high, something that some fans around the ground disagreed with and thought that Hankin ought to have buried the chance.
  HT: 0 - 0
The second half saw the introduction of Nick Wright for Jamille Matt, who had suffered a slight pull to his hamstring after playing a game and a half in a short space of time.  Not surprising considering it wasn't too long ago that the front man was playing part time for Sutton Coldfield Town.

Soon after his introduction the much maligned former Tamworth man had the first real chance for the Harriers when he sped onto a ball over the top but the ball got caught slightly on the pitch due to the showers that had fallen over half time.  Wright reacted quicker than the Forest Green back-line to hit a shot from just inside the area to the right of James Bittner - the former Salisbury goalkeeper - who made a good save.

Soon after came the introduction of Steve Guinan in place of Styche, the former a player who has the distinction of playing for all of the Harriers local rivals except Worcester City.

Callum Gittings came on for the below par Dave Hankin who towards the end of his game was getting into some good positions wide with Vaughan at one stage ignoring him much to the fans disgust as the right-back wasted possession whilst Hankin was hugging the touchline.  The next wave of attack saw Hankin receive the ball from Vaughan in this instance, who sent in a poor cross.

Guinan soon set up Dyer who let a rasping drive go from around 30 yards that forced Lewis to make a fantastic save that wouldn't look out of place on Match of the Day: a truly superb stop by the goalkeeper.

In response Keith Briggs had a chance from a Gittings corner when the ball fell for him outside the area, but as he shot he leant back sending the ball over the bar and wide, leaving Bittners clean sheet intact.  Minutes later however he did have a better chance but his shot was straight at Bittner.

As the game drew into the closing stages the Harriers got more and more on top in terms of play, but chances to break the deadlock for the home side were few and far between.  The ball was being played more on the floor, with Mark Albrighton seeming to play a lot of the football from the back, something which Michael Briscoe could learn from the experienced centre half.

However there was to be a late Christmas present for the Harriers when in the second of three added minutes Chris McPhee was fouled in the area as he attempted to run onto the ball.  He was kicked in the stomach and bundled over by Adam Quinn.

The vertically challenged referee, Mr McLaughlin, awarded the penalty which McPhee, taking the ball off Tom Shaw, ran up and struck calmly to the right of Bittner who made the save.  He parried the ball however straight back to McPhee who this week was in the right place at the right time to slot the ball away for a late winner for the Harriers giving them an undeserved victory.

Next up is Tamworth, on Monday, at the Lamb.  They beat Kettering Town today which should make this another tough game in which the Harriers need to improve in terms of performance to win.
  FT: 1 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: McPhee


The Harriers Online MotM is:

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Harriers  subs   cards      Forest Green Rovers  subs   cards 
Lewis     Bittner  
Vaughan   Hodgkiss  
Shaw     Quinn  
Briscoe     Turk  
Albrighton     Jones  
Byrne     Armstrong  
Hankin gif     Gray gif  
Briggs     Klukowski  
Matt gif     Styche gif  
McPhee     Dyer  
Blair     Caines  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Stevens     Bartlett  
Gittings gif     Stokes  
Griffiths     Forbes gif  
Wright gif     Allen  
Thorne     Guinan gif  

REFEREE:
Mr M McLaughlin
Bedfordshire




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