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Forest Green Rovers 0 Harriers 1

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Date: 19-02-13gif Venue: The New Lawngif att: 1449gif away fans: 458
Harriers bury the Forest Green jinx

gif Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers finally, after fourteen years of playing FGR at their ground, came away from there with a win under their belts and what a hard fought, ugly win it was too.

Following a rumour doing the rounds pre-match that Lee Vaughan had injured his groin, at Hyde on Saturday, Ricky Shakes took up the right back berth and did the job well.  Mickey Demetriou had also been doubtful but played while Danny Pilkington started in place of Callum Gittings.

Both sides were wanting to gain all three points from the game due to the proximity of each other towards the top of the table.  If either side had any aspirations of promotion then this was a must win game for one side or the other and a win for Harriers would mean they would go above Forest Green into third place in the League.

It was FGR that were to have the majority of possession throughout the game but the Harriers defence stood strong for 99% of the evening by thwarting attack after attack from the men in chartreuse shirts.  After a slow start as the two teams cancelled each other out it was the home side that showed in front of goal first with a shot from Chris Stokes that was off target: something that happened too often for a team with pretensions of promotion.

The Harriers were soaking up the pressure well with Josh Gowling and his young apprentice Chey Dunkley marshalling the defence well so it came as a surprise when against the run of play the Harriers took the lead.  Marvin Johnson had broken quickly and crossed the ball into the area for Amari Morgan-Smith to challenge the keeper for the ball.  Sam Russell, in goal, missed the ball completely and it bounced off AMS into the path of Anthony Malbon who struck it firmly into the back of the net much to the delight of the travelling hordes from Worcestershire.

Rovers tried to get back into the game quickly but again found our defensive duo supreme in all they did.  Both Magno Viera and Eddie Oshodi saw their attempts of pulling the game back round in their favour go well over the bar and the closest they came was when their leading scorer, James Norwood, shot from close range but saw his shot also go over the bar but by a narrower gap of around two foot.
  HT: 0 - 1
The second half started with a Harriers substitution.  Danny Jackman came on for a subdued Danny Pilkington following a disappointing first half for Pilks in which he looked off the pace and carrying an injury.

Rovers were still having the lions share of the game and their first chance of the second period came from a free kick that was hammered in.  Danny Lewis saw it slightly late but he flew across the goal superbly to tip it around the post.  Soon after Norwood saw another chance go begging over the bar.

We almost put the game to bed mid way through the half when Gowling won the ball from a corner and sent it heading towards goal.  Russell somehow managed to reach back to fingertip it onto the bar when it looked to be in to most of the Harriers fans who rose in unison to celebrate then stood open mouthed as they realised it hadn't gone in.

Rovers continued to press without any effect and it seemed to most away fans that they would have done better if Matty Taylor had concentrated more on wanting to score than continually wind Danny Lewis up by trying to put him off and hanging back at goal kicks.  The referee seemed to lack any interest in stopping him and overall we got the drift that the officials weren't up to much.

Time was now running out for the home side and they doubled their efforts to grab at least a point from the three that they could see slipping away from them.  They forced Lewis into a double stop with a shot from Norwood, this time on target, and then saving with his legs from Taylors firmly struck follow up.

With time ticking down of the four minutes added it could have been Harriers with the killer goal.  We broke free following a last attempt from Forest Green with Shakes playing the ball long and down the channel to Danny Jackman who struck from well outside of the area.  His blistering shot hit the far upright of Russells goal, with the keeper rooted to the spot, and ricocheted across him to the other side of the goal and away without him even seeing it.

The final whistle finally went and the 458 Harriers fans celebrated wildly as the less than a thousand home fans slunk away dejected.  Their home record against us was in tatters and so could their dream of promotion.

Ours is on.  Definitely on!
  FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Malbon 26


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gif Josh Gowling



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Latest table and stats here  

Forest Green Rovers  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Russell     Lewis  
Hodgkiss     Shakes  
Stokes     Demetriou  
Oshodi gif     Storer
Turley     Dunkley
Asafu-Adjaye     Gowling  
Green     Pilkington gif  
Klukowski   Vincent gif  
Taylor     Morgan-Smith gif
Viera   Malbon gif  
Norwood gif   Johnson
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Bulman     N Vaughan  
Racine     Jackman gif  
J Rowe     R Rowe gif  
Wright gif     Williams  
Odubade gif     Pearson gif  

REFEREE:
Mr K Evans
Lancashire




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