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Barnet 3 Harriers 3


Date: 11-10-14gif Venue: Hive Stadiumgif att: 1689gif away fans: 132
Harriers stage a big comeback at Barnet

gif Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers came from three goals down against Barnet at halftime today to claw a creditable draw in a second half comeback with a goal from substitute Michael Gash and a double from Nathan Blissett.  This was a result that never looked to be possible after the hosts went into a big lead through Luisma Villa, Andy Cook and John Akinde but, for once, inspired substitutions by the Harriers manager Gary Whild seemed to do the trick.

We had started the game with yet again another change in our front two strikers as Whild continued to find his best pairing.  Craig Reid and Blissett was his choice this time while Josh Gowling returned from his one game ban for five yellow cards.  There was also a welcome return to the starting line-up for the creative midfielder Callum Gittings making only his third start of the season.

The game kicked off on time after the Harriers team coach was seen going towards Barnets old Underhill Stadium.  That seems strange after it was technically Whilds first game in charge last season following his stepping into the role when Steve Burr was given gardening leave before his eventual dismissal.  I'm sure Whild would have remembered that only too well and also where the ground was.

It was Barnet that ruled the first half and the Harriers struggled to make any kind of impression.  Danny Lewis was called into action early on and was forced into making smart stops from Lee Cook, Villa and Togwell before the home side opened the scoring with a free kick from outside the area that left Lewis floundering as it flew into the bottom corner of the net.

They doubled their lead six minutes later when another foul led to another free kick, this time close to the touchline.  Lee Cook took this one and it somehow crept in at the near post without anyone reacting to it.

Their third goal came two minutes before the break when a mix up left Lewis stranded in no mans land.  A momentary indecision between himself and Gowling allowed John Akinde to slip in between them and pop the ball into the net for what was surely going to launch a goal fest in the second half.
  HT: 3 - 0
With Josh Gowling picking up a first half shoulder injury Gary Whild made a couple of subs at the start of this half.  Jamie Grimes came on as a straight swap for the injured central defender while the luckless Craig Reid made way for Michael Gash.

Barnet almost added a fourth goal just two minutes in when Bondz N'Gala sent a diving header goalwards but luckily for us it was scrambled away off the line.  Another chance fell for them on fifty two minutes when a cross from Cook found Sam Hoskins unmarked inside the area but he couldn't attach his foot to the ball cleanly and sliced it away.

With the home side marauding forward in search of that killer goal we scored against the run of play and that goal was to signal an incredible comeback for the Boys in Red.

Callum Gittings cross from the left was diverted into the path of Gash by David Stephens, and with what was possibly a hand to control the ball, the Gashman volleyed the ball home to the amazement of the 132 Harriers fans watching.

Whild rang the final change to the Harriers line-up when he took off the quiet Marvin Johnson and bought on Ahmed Obeng for a rare outing.  He quickly got into the game and impressed with his immense pace that left the Barnet defenders in his wake.  He almost had his moment of glory when he rushed goalwards and lifted the ball over the keeper, Graham Stack, only to see it touch the wrong side of the post and go out of play.  He then set up Jack Byrne with a shot that, this time, was saved by the keeper.

A minute later and Nathan Blissett had grabbed the first goal of his brace.  A brace that was to earn us a point that thirty minutes earlier had seemed an impossibility.

A corner was whipped in by Kevin Nicholson and there was Big Bliss towering above everyone else to head the ball home with power.  Two minutes later and the much maligned front man (all our strikers are maligned!) scored a carbon copy goal to draw the Harriers level.  Again it was Nicholson who took the corner and again Blissett did what was expected of him and powered the ball home to the shock and dismay of the small Barnet home crowd.

We then staged an all out onslaught on the Barnet goal in an effort to find that deserved winning goal but it wasn't to come.  The closest was Michael Gash who forced Stack into a stunning save but by then time had run out.

What, in the first half, had looked to be heading for a massive defeat for the Harriers and questions, being asked about Gary Whilds position with the club, ended in plaudits for the inspired substitutions and the three goal comeback that earned us a well deserved point.  The only downside from the game was that Kyle Storer picked up his fifth booking of the season and will miss next weeks trip up to Halifax.
  FT: 3 - 3

 Goals for Barnet: Villa 32, Cook 38, Akinde 43
 Goals for Harriers: Gash 58, Blissett 80, 82

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Barnet  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Stack     Lewis  
Yiadom     Hodgkiss  
E Johnson     Nicholson  
Villa gif gif     Storer
N'Gala     Gowling gif  
Stephens   Dunkley  
Togwell     Byrne
Weston     M Johnson gif  
Akinde gif gif     Blissett gif  
Hoskins gif     Reid gif  
Cook gif     Gittings  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Saville gif - 83   Gash gif gif - 46  
Marsh-Brown gif - 63     Styche  
Vilhete     Obeng gif - 60  
Gambin     Grimes gif - 46  
Pavey gif - 57     O'Keefe  

Mr A Bromley

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