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Harriers 2 AFC Telford Utd 2


Date: 11-10-11gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2440gif away fans: 545
Harriers recover from a disastrous start

gif Report by Arno Bryant
The Harriers recovered from a hellish first seven minute but still continue to fail to gain momentum at home with yet another draw.

We went into our first real derby match for years with a diminished team with Luke Jones, Danny Lewis, Dave Hankin, Mike Williams and Jack Byrne all out due to injury.

In front of another strong crowd the match flung its self open from the off.  Almost straight from the kick a perfectly weighted through ball from James Vincent cut through Telfords defence straight to Jamille Matt who easily rounded Ryan Young but the keepers outstretched arms managed to grab hold of the front mans legs bringing him down for a penalty, but not a yellow card.

Lee Vaughan confidently stepped up to blast the ball over the bar, and almost over the stand, to the joy of his former clubs large away following.

Clearly not over his miss a minute later Vaughan was subject to a moment of madness when he went in two footed in a 50/50 challenge, getting the ball cleanly but catching Courtney Pitt on the follow, through leaving the ref with little choice but to send him back to the changing room.  This caused a massive defensive headache for Steve Burr and also forced the MotM selectors into actually thinking about who they'd give it to this week.

Things went from bad to worse in the seventh minute when, completely against the run of play, a fast Telford attack wielded a looping shot that was tipped onto the bar by Dean Lyness but only back to Jon Adams who smashed the ball past the outstretched keeper.

This didn't seem to affect Harriers in the slightest as they continued their fast flowing tempo with Matt causing the Telford defence all sorts of worries.  He wouldn't have to wait long till he got a reward for his early work rate.  Some more strong work from Callum Gittings down the right gave him space to whip in a cross which was very nearly met by Marc Williams head but was sliced behind.

The resulting corner led to a scuffle in the box which was brought out well by Mickey Demetriou who played it out to Matt.  His Sh-oss (Shot/Cross) lobbed the keeper and found its way into his top corner to even the score.

Harriers kept going with this attacking style and three minutes later another strong brakeaway left Matt and Williams two on two but Williams pass was overpowered and Matt couldn't stop the ball going   Harriers didn't lose the pressure and a couple of minutes later a slight theatrical fall from Nick Wright won Gittings a free kick in a strong position.  The ball was played side ways to Wright who crashed the ball into the box, bouncing off half the Telford defence, before going just wide.

At last the breakthrough came when a perfect free drifted into the Telford defence causing an under pressure Dan Preston to scuff a clearing header into his own net.

Kidderminster continued to run at the scared Telford defence with Matt and Wrights passing causing them all sorts of trouble leaving fans at half time questioning if this Harriers team were really playing with one less player!
  HT: 2 - 1
It was obvious from the start of the second half that Burr had instructed his men to sit back a bit more leaving space for Telford to try and play some real football for the first time in the match.

To the Harriers credit the make shift defence soaked up a lot of pressure very well as Telford dominated all the possession but barely got near the Harriers box for the first fifteen minutes of the second half.  In the fifty eighth minute there was a bizarre substitution as a long break for treatment to the referee resulted in his assistant coming on as a replacement ref.

Telford seem to re-group a bit in the five minute break and in the sixty second minute Lyness was forced into his first real save of the game when a Greg Mills shot was smartly stopped by the Harriers keeper.  We broke well from this to show we were still a threat as another strong run from Matt opened up some space near the edge of Telfords box but he could only blaze a shot over Ryan Young's bar.

As Telford continued to make the extra man show Lyness was called upon again when Craig Farrell stormed down towards goal but he got down well to get behind the strikers powerful strike.

The Harriers couldn't hold on any longer though as a strong, but fair, Michael Briscoe challenge was for some reason called up as a foul by the step in ref.  The free-kick was fiercely smashed into Briscoes' head and bounced behind for a corner.  Telfords Chris Sharp rose above everyone else to skilfully bury the ball home.

The Harriers tried to come back into the game, spurred on by the noisy home fans, but alas there wasn't anything left in the tank after their heroic performance. and the game ended all square.
  FT: 2 - 2

gif Report by Philip Lench
There was much anticipation before the game started that this long overdue meeting between two close neighbours and old rivals would produce an exciting, full blooded contest but I don't think the fans of either side were fully expecting what happened in the first five minutes.  With the Harriers already ravaged by injury the last thing we wanted was to be without an important member of the team so early on but that's just what happened with Lee Vaughan.

Up against his old club, in the opening seconds he had mysteriously put a crossfield pass out of play by almost clearing the East Stand and then he had missed a first minute penalty after Jamille Matt was blatantly bought down by the Telford keeper Ryan Young (not even a yellow card? come on ref. Are you sure?).  No more than a minute later and Lee was off for an early bath when he went in two footed on Courtney Pitt giving the ref the chance to brandish one of the cards that he should have used two minutes earlier.

It wasn't going to end there and by the seventh minute the Telford fans had thought Christmas had come early when Jon Adams put them into the lead.  The ball had hit the bar and Dean Lyness had managed to push it away, but only to a Telford man who then pushed the ball back in front of the goal. Dean saved again and again the ball spun away and again it fell kindly for the Telford man to crash the ball home.

The missing man and the give away goal didn't seem to faze us too much and we piled the pressure on the weak AFC defence with Jamille Matt giving them a torrid time.  His reward came just four minutes later when he collected the ball on the corner of the area and sent a superb, swooping shot over the head of the visiting keeper.

We continued to press and look for the second goal but spurned chances were no good to us and especially so when the likes of Marc Williams found himself with an open goal to aim at but decided to pass to Nick Wright instead who was completely marked.  Williams didn't seem to learn from that and later chances for him were also wasted with poor decision making and soft shooting.

Thankfully the Telford defenders were incompetent and it was a mix up between the keeper and Dan Preston that gifted us the lead.  Callum Gittings had floated a free kick somewhat aimlessly into the opposing area and Preston rose to head it to safety but only managed to put it into his own net.

We went into the break far and away the better side and one that made a nonsense of being a man down for forty three minutes.  It was shame that side failed to re-appear after the break.
  HT: 2 - 1
Was it the substitution of Carl Rodgers with the former Harriers triallist Greg Mills that seemed to buck up the Bucks ideas or was it the strange substitution of the linesman for the referee midway through the half?  One that seemed to be instigated by the linesman himself.

Will we ever know but we were on the back foot throughout the half without Telford actually ever raising their game.  We just sat back and allowed them to.

Occasionally we made an effort to approach the Telford goal but their defence had tightened up too and Matt wasn't getting a look in anymore.  When he did he was getting no support from either of his partners up front and chances were going begging.  It wouldn't be long before Telford grabbed a deserved equaliser.

Dean Lyness had already worked miracles keeping them out including one amazing flying save from a Craig Farrell strike across the face of the goal but eventually something had to give and it did from a corner.  Chris Sharp rose unmarked at the far post to bury his header into the net and complete the Telford comeback.

They could have won the game on numerous occasions afterwards but stout defending and keeping kept them out.  Just.

Steve Burr threw on Robert Thompson-Brown for his debut in place of the ineffective Williams and later Steve Guinan for Jamille Matt.  That last one was mystifying at the time and proved later with Guinan rarely touching the ball in the ten minutes that he was on the pitch.

With seven minutes added time, for the ref swap, you'd have thought the Harriers would have gone all out to win the game but they seemed happy with the point and ignored the crowds continuous Red Army chant and encouragement to surge forward.  They just appeared too tired and out on their feet.

The Harriers were the full time, professional team.
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Harriers: Matt 13, Preston (og) 39
 Goals for AFC Telford: Adams 8, Sharp 75

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Harriers  subs   cards      AFC Telford Utd  subs   cards 
Lyness     Young  
Vaughan   Salmon  
Demetriou     Newton  
Briscoe   Rodgers gif
Sharpe     Preston  
Storer     Killock  
Gittings     Pitt  
Vincent     Trainer gif  
Matt gif     Sharp  
Marc Williams gif     Farrell  
N Wright     Adams  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Thompson-Brown gif     Robinson  
Marshall     Whitehead  
Phelan     Valentine  
Guinan gif     Mills gif  
Cresswell     Proudlock gif  

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