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Cambridge Utd 5 Harriers 1

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Date: 01-03-14gif Venue: R Costings Abbey Stadiumgif att: 2528gif away fans: 178
Harriers crushed and so are the fans

gif Report by Worried Harrier
On March 1st - the first day of meteorological spring and for once with weather to match - Harriers made the long coach journey eastwards to take on Cambridge United who were lying second in the Skrill Premier.  The U's though had been suffering with a recent poor run of league performances.  Their manager Richard Money had been upset by their one nil loss at part time Braintree in mid week and was blaming his side's poor league form on their progress to the FA Trophy final at Wembley later in March.

Harriers were off the back of a mid week win at home to Woking and many, most of all Andy Thorn, were hoping that the boys in red had now turned the corner under his stewardship.

The only man missing from a fitness point of view for Harriers was Michael Gash who was still struggling with his hamstring.  Thorn took it on himself to drop Mickey Demetriou, even though the quality left back had been selected to play for England C against Jordan in the coming week.

The Harriers started well with plenty of possession and quality play against what was clearly a cagey United.  After seven minutes the Aggborough outfit won a corner that caused some problems but Cambridge managed to clear and Amari Morgan-Smith began in the same way that he proceeded throughout the whole game - harrying the Cambridge defence and not giving them time to settle.

Nonetheless the home team's back line stood firm and the closest Harriers came in the first twenty minutes was when Lee Vaughan sent the ball across the face of goal but to no avail.  Soon after Kyle Storer had a long range shot that flew high and wide.  He had a number of those attempts during the afternoon but they all met the same fate - the skipper did not seem to learn his lesson.

Up the other end Richard Tait floated a dangerous cross into the area but luckily for the visitors it sailed out of play.

Then on thirty minutes Harriers broke the deadlock.  The persistent and ever threatening Adrian Cieslewicz broke free on the bye-line on the edge of the Cambridge area and laid it back for Anthony Malbon who slammed it home from around twelve yards out.  Cambridge 0 Harriers 1 much to the delight of the travelling 178 fans.

Going behind fired up the home side as they raised the tempo and Ryan Bird fired a shot over the bar with which he could have easily scored.

On thirty eight minutes Nathan Arnold also had a great chance but Chey Dunkley managed to nullify the danger albeit only temporarily.  In the forty second minute a Cambridge corner fell to Josh Coulson but he scuffed his shot towards goal and in an apparent attempt to head back to his keeper Nathan Vaughan, Josh O'Keefe only succeeded in nodding into his own net.  The official record will state the Coulson scored the goal but it was 100% an own goal.

One all.
  HT: 1 - 1
Again the second half began fairly evenly.  Bird fired into the Harriers side netting from a good position and Josh Gowling had a good header inch just wide.  Then the home side made the first substitution of the game with Liam Hughes coming on for Tom Champion and after that the Harriers game fell apart.

Delano Sam-Yorke had terrorised Harriers left flank whilst playing for Lincoln on loan two weeks previously and that had not gone unnoticed.  Richard Money had recalled him to the U's and one wondered whether that was simply so he could terrorise the carpet men once more.

For Cambridge's second goal he displayed some great skill before setting up Ryan Bird who easily converted.  Cambridge 2 Harriers 1.

Then a matter of about sixty seconds later he went one better.  He sped down the right, easily passed a labouring Chey Dunkley and managed to fire past keeper Nathan Vaughan from a very tight angle.  3-1. Cambridge.

The away side still tried to show some spirit.  Cieslewicz, who was clearly Harriers best player by far, cut inside and drilled a low shot that Will Norris succeeded in clinging onto and Lee Vaughan had a good effort that inched just wide.  In the sixty fifth minute Anthony Malbon had another good opportunity but his shot from a tight angle was once more well saved by Norris and Morgan-Smith and Gowling both had chances that came to nought.

Notwithstanding the away side's pressure on seventy eight minutes Nathan Arnold again broke through the Harriers back line and bore down on goal only for Dunkley to get his arms round him to pull him back.  For a second there were shouts from the home fans of 'off' but in spite of conceding the penalty, Dunkley did not even see yellow and Luke Berry stood up to convert past a flailing ineffectual Vaughan.  4-1.

Harriers made two more late changes.  A leaner looking Ryan Rowe replaced Cieselwicz, who was on a yellow card while Callum Gittings replaced the ineffectual O'Keefe.

Nearing the end of normal time Ryan Rowe showed some good footwork but was denied by a stout Cambridge defence and so up the other end United went to finish things off.  A great piece of work by Arnold found Andy Pugh on the far side of the goal area where he controlled well and shot yet again past a helpless Dunkley and Vaughan.  5-1.

As the final whistle blew the remaining Harriers fans (many had already made their feelings known by walking out) shouted their disappointment and outrage at the Harriers management and directors.

The problem is Kidderminster Harriers FC has some quality players in its squad but they seem to be lacking belief and confidence.  No matter how good the individuals and, for that matter the tactics, sporting teams need belief and confidence to succeed.  It is the management's task to instil these traits but clearly though it is not happening for the Harriers at present.

Moreover, dropping Demetriou, playing two diminutive wing backs and Jack Byrne out of position on the left meant attacks down that Harriers flank were meat and drink to the rampant Sam-Yorke and Arnold.  Thorn should have known that would be the case and when he had the chance to rescue the game by either bringing on Demetriou for Byrne to push Jackman into midfield or by bringing on Callum Gittings, instead of Ryan Rowe, immediately following their second goal, to do the same job that Jackman could do but with a bit more bite then we, at least could have made a better fist of the game or at least limit the damage.

Instead Thorn again showed his lack of tactical knowledge and also failed to understand the capabilities of his own squad and the roles that they can play within the team.  Another result like this and Thorn will cashing in the borrowed time that he's already on.
  FT: 5 - 1

 Goals for Cambridge: Coulson 42, Bird 53, Sam-Yorke 55, Berry 79 (pen), Pugh 90
 Goal for Harriers: Malbon 30


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gif Adrian Cieslewicz



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Cambridge Utd  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Norris     N Vaughan  
Tait     L Vaughan  
Taylor     Jackman  
Coulson gif     Storer  
Berry gif     Dunkley  
Miller     Gowling  
Donaldson gif     Byrne gif  
Champion gif     O'Keefe gif  
Sam-Yorke gif     Morgan-Smith  
Bird gif gif     Malbon gif  
Arnold   Cieslewicz
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Sullivan     Lewis  
Pugh gif gif - 85     Demetriou  
Gillies     Rowe gif - 59  
Austin gif - 75     Aloi  
Hughes gif - 51     Gittings gif - 81  

REFEREE:
Mr J Amey
Dorset




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