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Braintree Town 1 Harriers 1


Date: 04-09-12gif Venue: Amlin Stadiumgif att: 579gif away fans: 60 est
Harriers climb off the bottom (just)

gif Report by Centreforeword
A pleasantly warm evening greeted Kidderminster Harriers' trip to Essex for this important tie in the Blue Square Premier league.  Harriers were still looking for their first win of the season and Braintree were, to this point, punching above their weight, being placed just outside the play-off spots.

Harriers started with a 4-4-2 formation.  New signing Richard Peniket playing as centre forward was given his first start along with fellow debutant Josh Gowling, signed from Lincoln City, who started in the centre of defence.

The Iron had a potent partnership up front themselves with the well travelled Michael Gash alongside new signing Dan Holman who had scored three goals in the preceding two games.

Harriers began the better of the two teams in the first ten minutes.  Indeed, the game started at a frantic pace as both sides created chances from the off.  Peniket had the best of the opportunities for the visitors when he hit the bar with a header after a cross came in from Danny Pilkington and he saw another effort cleared off the Braintree goal line.  His extra height was giving Harriers something that they had been missing so far this season - a tall target man.

Because of this, in the first half, Harriers often chose the lazy option of lumping the ball forward for Peniket to chase, instead of a deliberate build up, creating crafted chances and tiring out the part time opposition.  Consequently, the Iron remained a threat.

With eleven minutes on the clock Gash showed his undoubted quality; finding room inside the area he shot firmly at goal with Nathan Vaughan's woodwork coming to the rescue as the ball rebounded off the upright.

With Braintree becoming more dominant the Harriers' goal was breached on seventeen minutes when the in-form Holman made the breakthrough.  The former Histon man took his goal brilliantly even though Harriers gave him slightly too much space on the edge of the area.  Holman turned, gave himself an extra half a yard and beat the helpless Nathan Vaughan with a sweet curling purler into the top corner of the net.

As half time approached the Aggborough outfit were more and more under the cosh as Braintree pressed to increase their lead.  Luckily Steve Burr's men held on and managed to go in at half time just one nil down - a fair reflection of proceedings to that point.
  HT: 1 - 0
Just a couple of minutes after the restart Braintree went close once more when Brad Quinton blazed a shot over from distance.

Steve Burr made two changes around the hour mark and one of those, Nathan Blissett, immediately went close to making it 1-1 when his incredibly skilful back-heel from close range was met by a good save from the Braintree keeper Danny Naisbitt.

As the second half progressed Harriers' extra fitness began to tell as the Worcestershire men endeavoured to take charge of the midfield and grab the game by the scruff of the neck.  Peniket volleyed an effort over the bar and then Cheyenne Dunkley and Kyle Storer both took aim as a frustrated Harriers side looked for an equaliser they'd have thoroughly deserved.  This was followed by a Marvin Johnson free-kick from out-wide that was tipped away from danger by a grateful Naisbitt.

Nonetheless, a raft of substitutions from both sides midway through the second period left the game with a bit of a disjointed feel.  One of the new arrivals, Steve Guinan, took aim from twenty yards with seventy four minutes on the clock with a shot that floated just over the target.

A free kick awarded a few minutes later in a strong position for Harriers pretty much summed up the second half - the delivery from Johnson was good and kept out well by Naisbitt.  The follow up shot from Lee Vaughan was equally well blocked by the home defence and Storer's eventual final attempt flew well over the bar.

At that point the travelling throng of Harriers supporters - a surprisingly good turnout given it was a Tuesday evening, a 400 mile round trip and Harriers were bottom of the table - wondered whether the Iron defence could ever be broken down.  Indeed, Harriers and their supporters looked like they could be heading home empty handed with what would have been an undeserved sixth defeat of the campaign but with one minute of normal time remaining, the all-important goal arrived.

A free-kick was awarded to Harriers on the edge of the area about five yards in from the goal line.  The ball was rolled out to Mickey Demetriou so he could shoot from a better angle but his weak initial effort was blocked.  He met the rebound with a thunder bolt that blasted into the top corner, past Naisbitt, and a crowd of bodies trying to block the way into the Iron goal.

Harriers were the poorer of the two teams in the first half as they seemed to fall short of Braintree in tactical terms.  However, in the second period Burr's men showed a lot of character in continuing to take the game to the home side.

Fitness played a big part but so did belief and a desire for that first win.  In particular the central defence looked solid and both Gowling and Dunkley had good games.

It would seem (hopefully!) that Barrow was a turning point and surely Harriers can secure their first win against Southport at home on Saturday.
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Braintree: Holman 17
 Goal for Harriers: Demetriou 89

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Braintree Town  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Naisbitt     N Vaughan  
Peters gif     L Vaughan  
Habergham     Demetriou gif  
Bailey-Dennis   Storer
Wells     Dunkley  
Quinton     Gowling  
Symons   Pilkington  
Davis     Briggs gif
Gash     Peniket gif  
Holman gif gif     Malbon gif  
Sparkes gif     Johnson  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
McDonald     Panther  
Paine gif     Guinan gif  
Mulley     Vincent gif  
Marks gif     Blissett gif  
Dawkin gif     Williams  

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