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Forest Green Rovers 1 Harriers 1

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Date: 08-04-14gif Venue: The New Lawngif att: 1231gif away fans: 285
Harriers rattle the Rovers

gif Report by Philip Lench
A shockingly poor first half performance from the Harriers left many fans, including those that had walked to the game, shaking their heads in disbelief at what they were seeing tonight at Forest Greens New Lawn stadium.  This was possibly our worst display in years with passing and closing down of opposition players totally non-existent.  Long service players such as Lee Vaughan, Mickey Demetriou and Chey Dunkley were guilty of some terrible distribution while up front Michael Gash, Nick Wright and Amari Morgan-Smith just didn't look interested in chasing any balls down at all.

The tempo and pace of the Forest Green attack may have gone some way to explaining the poor quality of our game but us fans can only go by what is put in front of us and that one stunk.  Thankfully our second half game was far, far better and we had returned to something pertaining to what Kidderminster Harriers are all about.

We started the game with the same line-up that had started in the defeat against Grimsby last weekend with the same players on the bench too.  Again that meant no start for Adrian Cieslewicz and maybe if he had started the game then that first half may have been a different story.  We were also without Kyle Storer after the club were informed that he had a four match ban following his dismissal at Salisbury and not the one game as originally thought.

FGR came out of the blocks eager to make up for their poor result at Barnet last Saturday and by the time they had scored in the thirteenth minute they could already have been three goals to the good.  James Norwood will never get a better chance to score than he had in the first few minutes of the game when he pounced on a mistake from Dunkley and sent in a powerful shot from inside the area.  His first shot was punched away by Danny Lewis and then his return effort was blocked on the line by Jamie Grimes.

A minute later they had won a corner and this time Norwood sent a shot just wide and then Eddie Oshodi put his header just over the bar and onto the top of the net.  A goal had to come soon and so it did in the thirteenth minute of the game.

Norwood again was the one doing the damage and his run into the area left Harriers defenders in his wake as they scattered around him like mice fleeing from a cat.  His pass found Yan Klukowski who sent a strong shot in only to see it palmed away by Lewis, but only as far as Paul Green.  The unmarked Green couldn't really miss the open goal as he returned the rebound home.

FGR now had their tails in the air as they surged forward once again, looking out for a second goal.  Green again tried his luck but shot wide while Matt Taylor sent one narrowly wide of goal.

Finally, following a break in play to treat Mickey D for as head injury, the Harriers began to find some confidence in themselves.  In a surprise counter attack the Reds swept upfield and Jack Byrne sent in along range effort that Sam Russell found himself diving down to turn the ball around the post for a corner.  The corner by Amari Bell came to nothing.

A pass from Gash a little later found Nick Wright waiting on the edge of the box to turn and fire a shot towards goal only for it to be saved once more by Russell.

Into the break the teams went and although it had been a better fifteen minutes from the Harriers it just wasn't good enough for the despairing fans or for the fans that had walked all that way to see such rubbish.
  HT: 1 - 0
Following that first half performance, with many wondering how on earth we kept FGR down to a single goal lead, the Harriers fans were expecting the worst.  As it was we in fact were treated to probably what could have been our best forty five minutes of football all season.  It's amazing what a few strong words can do.

This time round we came out all guns firing and finally began to find another red shirt with a pass and also to close down players immediately instead of watching the opposition drift past us without a care in the world.  It took just four minutes to draw the game level.

Mickey Demetriou collected the ball out wide and then played in a pinpoint cross to the far side of the FGR goal where Nick Wright was waiting to score his first goal since returning to Aggborough on loan from Lincoln City.  It could have been two goals for us just a minute later when Josh O'Keefe headed a ball over the bar.  The home side responded with a long range effort from their goalscorer Green but Danny Lewis saved it well.

It was still the Harriers in control of the game though and we came sweeping back through Amari Morgan-Smith when he fired one in hard and low for Russell to push away once more then Michael Gash tried his luck but his effort went wide.  With the Harriers now well in command the Harriers manager, Gary Whild, removed the busy Nick Wright from the game to bring on another returning player, Aman Verma, and that move saw us lose the impetus that we had gained.

The home side began to regain some kind of control after they realised the tactical error just made.  On came Luke Rodgers for them and straight away he was in the thick of it by robbing Demetriou of the ball and advancing towards our goal only for Lewis to pull out a block to stop him scoring.

We then regained control once more when Whild sent on Cieslewicz for AMS and straight away he made his mark when he battled to keep the ball and then forced Russell into the save of the night as he dived full length to keep his swerving shot out.  With the minutes now ticking away the Harriers went on a full, all out assault on the FGR goal and it took a goal line clearance from the former Harriers legend, Lee Hughes on a few minutes earlier, to keep out a goal bound shot from Bell.

A split second later and the game descended into farce when, from a free kick given for a tackle on AMS on the edge of the area, it appeared that O'Keefe nodded the ball into the net but in fact had used his hands to direct it home.  At first the referee allowed it but strong protests from the home side led to at least five minutes of arguing and whistle blowing as the ref attempted to talk to his assistant.  Finally, after Mark Creighton had pulled our players away from the arguing, the ref sheepishly walked over to the goal and whispered to Russell that it was a goal kick.

It would have been great to have at last won away from home but at the end of the day it was never a goal and if it had been us in that situation we would have been fuming.  We now need to take that second half performance back to Aggborough and thrash the pants off Welling on Saturday.
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for FGR: Green 13
 Goal for Harriers: Wright 49


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Forest Green Rovers  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Russell     Lewis  
Hodgkiss     L Vaughan  
Green gif     Demetriou  
Oshodi     Dunkley  
Oliver     Grimes  
Bennett     Bell  
Norwood     Byrne
Klukowski     O'Keefe  
Taylor gif     Gash gif  
Jordan gif     Morgan-Smith gif  
Barry     N Wright gif gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
White     N Vaughan  
Hughes gif - 87     Cieslewicz gif - 74  
Bangura     Blissett gif - 86  
Rodgers gif - 76     Verma gif - 67  
D Wright     Malbon  

REFEREE:
Mr B Huxtable
Devon




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