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Harriers 2 Braintree Town 2


Date: 22-02-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1653gif away fans: 27
Dire Harriers rescued by Morgan-Smith face saving brace

gif Report by Philip Lench
This was going to be a short and concise match report after the tripe we witnessed today but lucky for you lot it's now become a little longer and with something, in a way, to celebrate.

Following that absolute rubbish served up in the name of football today, this evening as I was writing this, came the somewhat expected, news that the Harriers chairman Mark Serrell had resigned from his position with immediate effect, as has his wife Ruth.  After a non stop tirade of abuse from the fans aimed at the manager Andy Thorn during the game it was expected that either one or the other would go and it was Serrell that did the honourable thing.  Thorn cannot be far behind him and I expect news on that front very soon.

The day started with a clear statement from Thorn that things would be done his way.  In the starting line up for this game at home to struggling Braintree Town were all four of his own signings, Santiago Aloi, Josh O'Keefe, Freddie Ladapo and to a lesser extent Adrian Cieslewicz due to him technically being a Steve Burr signing.  Also coming on for his first game in a long while was the much maligned Anthony Malbon with Ryan Rowe also making a return to the bench.

This was only Braintrees second game this year with their last game coming at Woking in January.  All their other games have been called off due to the unplayable state of their own pitch and to a lesser extent the state of others pitches.  By the end of this masquerade for football they would have also gone home with their first ever point from Aggborough.

So we had a new look team lined up for our pleasure and what did we get?  Scintillating football?  Non stop entertainment?  Drama by the bucketload?  Sadly no but we did get some entertainment from the crowd with chants of Thorn out, about the imaginary contacts book and the calls for the unlikely return of Steve Burr.

On a poor pitch that had been heavily sanded in parts, and divotted in others, it was never going to be a day for exhibition football but we are supposed to be a side aiming for a long overdue return to the football league and on todays showing that was never going to happen.  When the ball wasn't being hoofed into the air at every opportunity it was being passed around badly by a team lacking in confidence and the basics of passing skills.

I can't recall a shot on goal for us throughout the first forty five minutes and only one from the visitors when Sean Marks sent a volley goalwards that Nathan Vaughan did well to save.
  HT: 0 - 0
The second half was a continuation of the first with neither side looking capable of grabbing the all important first goal, it took until eight minutes in for that to happen.  Town were awarded a free kick that was taken by Kenny Davis.  That was tipped around by Vaughan for a corner and then played in for Matt Paine to scurry the ball through a ruck of players resulting in Vaughan seeing the ball too late and so diving to stop it too late.

Apart from the handful of Braintree fans going apoplectic with disbelief the rest of Aggborough stood in shock and silence until that silence was broken by the jeers and booing of a crowd calling for heads to roll.  Thorn responded by withdrawing the first of his flops and sent on Amari Morgan-Smith in place of the clueless Ladapo.

We began to look better for the change with AMS chasing balls down and Malbon finally gaining a partner that he could feed off rather than watch balls go over his head but before they really had a chance to click Braintree increased their lead further.  Dan Holman had only been on a few seconds after replacing the donkey-like, but useful, Marks when he got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Bernard Mensah and powered the ball beyond Vaughan.

The negative vibes for the North Stand increased and for some fans it became all too much as they began to leave.  Sensing possible trouble stewards were placed in front of the stand in case of 'riot'.

We tried to respond with a confusing free kick that got floated narrowly over the bar by Mickey Demetriou before, at last, the goal came against the run of play.  The ball was played into the area and there was AMS on hand to rifle the ball into the back of the net.

Thorn must have seen that a comeback could be on the cards and sent on Jack Byrne to reclaim his place that had been taken by the industrious but ineffective Aloi.  Again the improvement was noticeable and we began to play more as a team that knew each other.

The second, and levelling goal, came with just under ten minutes to go.  Again AMS was well placed in front of the goal and, seeing a gap, he fired the ball towards it and left Nick Hamman scrabbling to clutch fresh air and draw us unexpectedly level.

We could have won the game in the final few minutes of the game when Josh Gowling looped a hopeful header over the the stranded keeper only to see it drop goalwards but a little too far and bounce off the top of the crossbar for a goal kick.

The game ended 2-2 but that was only down to the perseverance of Amari Morgan-Smith in proving Thorn wrong that Ladapo was preferable to him.  Hopefully Thorn will take that on board and start with AMS against Woking on Tuesday evening and also put that bloody worthless contact book towards the back of the drawer and forget it ever existed.  If it ever did in the first place.
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Harriers: Morgan-Smith 78, 82
 Goals for Braintree: Paine 53, Holman 67

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Braintree Town  goals   subs   cards 
N Vaughan     Hamann  
Jackman     Peters  
Demetriou   Habergham  
Storer     Massey  
Dunkley     Paine gif  
Gowling     Wells  
Aloi gif     Mulley  
O'Keefe     Davis
Ladapo gif     Marks gif  
Malbon     Mensah gif  
Cieslewicz gif     Laurent gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Lewis     McDonald  
Grimes     Sparkes gif - 81  
Morgan-Smith gif gif - 59     Long  
Rowe gif - 81     Daley gif - 81  
Byrne gif - 71     Holman gif gif - 66  

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