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Ebbsfleet Utd 3 Harriers 3


Date: 29-11-11gif Venue: Stonebridge Roadgif att: 731gif away fans: 50 (est)
Farcical refereeing ruins the game

gif Report by Centreforeword
The rain had blown through leaving a gusty evening when Kidderminster Harriers kicked off their Blue Square Premier clash with Ebbsfleet United at the Stonebridge Road ground, Northfleet, Kent.

Harriers made two changes to the starting line up that had drawn against fourth place Cambridge at Aggborough the preceding Saturday.  Lee Hendrie started in place of James Vincent, who had picked up a slight knock, and Kyle Storer was in for Dave Bird who had flown back to Cheltenham at the end of his loan spell.

The Harriers were out of the starting blocks the fastest with some great flowing football.  They deservingly therefore took the lead when winger Dave Hankin let fly an unstoppable twenty yard shot into the back of the Fleets' keepers', Preston Edwards, net after four minutes.  Sheer delight could be seen on Hankins face as it was his first goal for Harriers since joining the club at the start of the previous season.

As is often the case when sides take an early lead Harriers then sat back and Ebbsfleet came back into the game beginning with Michael Wests long range effort in the tenth minute which drew a save out of the Harriers keeper Tony Breeden.  The visitors often looked dangerous on the break though and Lee Vaughan then released Hankin down the right.  He produced a good cross but Lee Hendrie aimed his header straight into the arms of Edwards.

However it was the home side who continued to produce most of the chances.  The Ebbsfleet skipper Paul Lorraine pounded a header across goal from a West corner only to see it drift past the post.  Fleet frontman Nathaniel Pinney then tried to take advantage of a mix up between Michael Briscoe and Breeden on the edge of the box but, with Breeden somewhat stranded, Pinneys attempt swerved away from goal.

Hankin, buoyed by his first goal for the Harriers, then looked intent on a second after good work by Storer.  However Edwards was behind his firm shot and produced a good stop.

Ebbsfleet were always seeking out the elusive levelling goal.  This seasons top scorer for the Fleet, Callum Willock, then shot over the bar from twenty yards out after receiving a good pass from Ram Marwa.  Pinney also failed to capitalise a few minutes later when he surged into the Kidderminster box but miscued his shot wide of the target.

The pressure continued right up to the half time whistle and Lee Vaughan, Tom Sharpe and Briscoe all made vital blocks to allow Harriers to take a one nil lead into the dressing room with them at half time.
  HT: 0 - 1
The second half began in nightmare fashion for the boys from Aggborough.

They were enraged when the referee blew for a penalty just a hundred seconds after the restart.  In what appeared to be rather a perverse decision the referee Rob Whitton adjudged Briscoe had handled Joe Howes cross, even though it appeared to hit him clearly in the face.  Rather than giving what he had actually seen, and what was visible to the majority of the 731 strong crowd, the man in black seemed to pander to the pleas from the Ebbsfleet forwards in awarding the penalty.  In a demonstration of the surreal set of circumstances the Harriers skipper was then stretchered off with his head in a neck brace after a delay of some seven minutes had ensued.

Despite the controversy and confusion Willock scored the penalty in a straightforward fashion to add to his goal tally.  However, the awarding of the penalty seemed to reinvigorate Harriers and Steve Guinan then drove a shot towards goal from the edge of the box but Edwards parried the ball onto the bar.  The hosts also continued to push and Breeden had to keep a powerful shot out from West, while another Sharpe block prevented a Pinney close range effort from crossing the line.

The first of the Harriers substitutes, Jack Byrne, was welcomed onto the pitch in the sixty sixth minute to replace Kyle Storer.  Whilst still showing signs of dehydration after his prolonged stomach ailment, his work rate did not seem to suffer.  Having said that he should have done better when, not long after coming on, he shot over the bar from about fifteen yards out having being set up by Callum Gittings.  A similar opportunity to the one that Gittings himself had buried at Hayes & Yeading ten days previously.

Then a double whammy!!

The hosts deservedly went ahead in the sixty ninth minute when Willock chipped Breeden from the edge of the box having been released into space by a bouncing through ball.  A matter of just a few minutes later Pinney's powerful strike beat Breeden to leave Harriers 3-1 down and less than twenty minutes of normal time on the clock.

Harriers did though show great character and belief and refused to accept defeat.  Throwing men forward the game became very open, and the relative naivety of the part timers from Northfleet in not trying to slow things down and kill the game, gave Kidderminster a number of opportunities.  Jamille Matt, who again proved to be handful throughout the game for the Ebbsfleet defence, had a good chance after seventy four minutes but his effort was angled wide.

Nick Wright then came on in place of Callum Gittings and he grabbed a goal back in the eightieth minute after excellent work from Matt down the right wing.  Matt provided such a good cross after beating the Ebbsfleet left back that Wright simply had to tap the ball into the net from close range.

The Harriers revival was complete after another fine piece of work from the tall striker in the eighty fourth minute.  Tom Sharpe headed the ball into the area for Matt, in turn, to loop a header over Edwards and watch as the ball then crept into the net at the foot of the far post.

Both teams had good chances to win the game in the ten minutes of time added on as a result of the Briscoe incident but legs were tiring.  The Harriers finally ended up by coming away with a point from a game, which ten minutes before the end of normal time, looked highly unlikely.

Michael Briscoe was later taken to hospital for investigation into a possibly serious head injury while the referee went home with a seemingly clear conscience of not having made such a colossal error of judgment.
  FT: 3 - 3

 Goals for Ebbsfleet: Willock (pen) 57, 71, Pinney 72
 Goals for Harriers: Hankin 5, Wright 80, Matt 84

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Ebbsfleet Utd  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Edwards     Breeden  
Stone     Vaughan  
Simpemba   Demetriou  
Howe     Briscoe gif  
Pinney     Sharpe  
Lorraine     Storer gif  
West gif     Hankin  
Marwa     Hendrie  
Willock     Guinan
Enver-Marum gif   Matt  
Phipp     Gittings gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Welch     Marc Williams  
Herd     Mike Williams  
Azeez     Byrne gif  
Shakes gif     Jones gif  
Darvill gif     Wright gif  

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