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Harriers 3 Ebbsfleet Utd 2


Date: 02-03-13gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2048gif away fans: 47
Harriers go joint top with Wrexham

gif Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers are slowly, but surely, making a claim for the pinnacle of the Blue Square Premier league with this win at home to a resolute Ebbsfleet side today.  The win could be construed by many to be yet another 'ugly' win with lack of finesse shown in the first half but that roughness around the edges improved in the second period as the Reds sought to put the game to bed.

Another goal for Anthony Malbon midway through that second half gave us the lead after Ebbsfleet opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute and a goal from sub Callum Gittings more or less confirmed that the points were staying at Aggborough.  Alas, as only the Harriers could, we gave away a soft penalty with the game in it's dying throes for Ebbsfleet to make it 3-2 but it was too late for them by that time and we played out the final few minutes for the victory.

Back to the start of the game then and we saw the return of Keith Briggs following his injury two months ago.  He took the place of Danny Jackman, who wasn't even on the bench, James Vincent stepped in for Callum Gittings, who was, while Greg Pearson replaced the departed Amari Morgan-Smith.

The game started with the visitors on top for at least the first ten minutes.  A period in which, to be honest, the Harriers looked a shambles with passes going astray and large holes opening up in the defence that Ebbsfleet exploited with ease and our central defenders argued about whose responsibility it was.

That bad period worsened when the Fleet took the lead with a scrambled effort that was fumbled by the Harriers keeper Danny Lewis to a couple of their strikers.  Some reports say that Tobi Alabi got the final touch while others say it was Damma Shitta.  The Daily Mail say it was Shitta so it must be true.

Incredibly we went straight up their end at the restart and scored ourselves to draw the game level in the blink of an eye.

Again a goalkeeping error played its part when Preston Edwards flapped this time, although he was being impeded somewhat, and the ball fell to James Vincent who rolled it over the line for his second goal of the season.  He should have scored his third a minute later but in a one on one with Edwards, and no defenders breathing down his neck, he flapped and hit Edwards' legs after the keeper had committed himself.

Oh James, why didn't you just stop and think and then sidestepped him to roll the ball into an empty net? We would have been expected to keep pressing following that defensive gift but we didn't.  A free kick from Kyle Storer went wide and, with the half coming to a close, Marvin Johnson broke free to cross the ball over to Greg Pearson for him to prod the ball home.  He would have done if it hadn't been for a superb save from Edwards to keep the scoreline equal into the break.
  HT: 1 - 1
It was obvious there were going to be polite exchanges of view in the dressing room for the previous fifteen minutes but within a few minutes of the re-start it seemed that nothing much had been said.  Then it all clicked into place.

We started to up our game and actually began to play the ball to feet, kind of but the aerial kind of.

Anthony Malbon chased what seemed a lost cause down and sent a great cross into the area where Greg Pearson was waiting to send in a strong header that beat Edwards but crashed against the corner of the bar and post.  A minute later and Storer should have converted as the ball ran across the line in front of him but he failed to get a toe to it and it went out of play.

The goal we were waiting for came on the hour mark.  No prizes for guessing who scored it either.

Again Malbon chased down a long ball, again a long ball, and again the keeper made a gross misjudgment and came to the edge of his area to put a stop to Malbons run.  Anthony coolly rounded him and fired a curling ball into the far side of the goal.  It was one of those attempts that nine times out of ten go the wrong side of the post but not this one.

He could have doubled his tally for the day a few minutes later when Johnson sent a cross back from the touchline for Malbon to latch on to and force the Fleet keeper into another great save.  The ball went out to Lee Vaughan but his return shot was befitting of a full back and went well over the bar.

Fifteen minutes from the end Keith Briggs made way for Callum Gittings.  It was he that added the third goal a short time later and what a nice goal it was too.

Set up by Johnson and Ryan Rowe, on for Pearson, it was the latter that waited on the edge of the area for Gittings to arrive and then run on to the supplied ball to fire it powerfully beyond the reach of the static Edwards.  Although we looked home and dry the visitors weren't finished yet.

Josh Gowling was adjudged to have fouled Nathan Elder but from our end it looked more like Elder backing into him then collapsing to the floor in a heap.  The ref pointed to the spot and Elder put his won penalty home for a consolation goal.

The game ended a couple of minutes later along with the news that Wrexham had been held at home by Alfreton.  A draw that allowed the Harriers to catch up on points but with one more game played.

Our next game is away, kind of, at Gateshead (read York) on Tuesday and a win there would put more pressure on Wrexham who will be entertaining our visitors.  If Ebbsfleet can play like they did today they might get a result over there.
  FT: 3 - 2

 Goals for Harriers: Vincent 14, Malbon 61, Gittings 88
 Goals for Ebbsfleet: Shitta 13, Elder 90 (pen)

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gif Anthony Malbon

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Ebbsfleet Utd  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Edwards  
L Vaughan     Gwillim  
Demetriou     Saville  
Storer     Howe  
Dunkley     Barrett  
Gowling     Lorraine  
Briggs gif   Enver-Marum gif  
Vincent gif     Carew
Pearson gif     Shitta gif gif  
Malbon gif gif     Scott  
Johnson     Alabi gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
N Vaughan     Menz  
Gittings gif gif     Bellamy gif  
Williams     Elder gif gif  
Rowe gif     Azeez gif  
Devaney gif     Walsh  

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