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Harriers 1 Barnet 1


Date: 18-04-15gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2540gif away fans: 868
Harriers spoil the Barnet party

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers put a spoke in Barnets wheels today when they held them 1-1 at Aggborough in a game that, before hand, had everyone thinking that they would have steamrollered us on their way to winning the title.  As it was, even with the help of the frankly abysmal referee, we matched them well in the first half and forced them to resort to our type of longball game.  It wasn't until they came out for the second period that they began to look like promotion prospects but this time it was Danny Lewis in top form keeping them out.

In gorgeous sunshine the Harriers lined up with a more elderly look about them.  Josh O'Keefe surprisingly came in for his first game since our FA Cup exit at home to Eastleigh in October last year to replace the injured Callum Gittings while Jordan Tunnicliffe, recalled from Hednesford in the week, took over from the injured James Fry.  Also making a welcome return from some kind of exile was Kevin Nicholson who replaced William Boyle from the last game at Welling.  The only young player starting was Nathaniel Kelly who continued on the left side of defence.

Barnet, sitting at the top of the table before the game and one point clear of the chasing Bristol Rovers, had the former Harrier Michael Gash starting for them alongside John Akinde.  They also had one eye on Rovers game down in Dover because a win for either side could have clinched the title.

The game kicked off with the Harriers aiming towards their own fans so straight away we knew we would be on the back foot.  As it happened Barnet weren't much cop and, like us, couldn't seem to string two passes together without losing the ball to an opposition player.

The first real chance of the game came for Lee Hughes but he was cruelly robbed of a certain penalty by the dubious London based referee.  A perfect Jack Byrne pass forward caught the Barnet defence napping as Hughes burst out of the starting blacks to run onto the ball.  Elliott Johnson, visiting defender, made an attempt to win the ball in the area and Hughes skipped around him only to find himself floored by a late lunge on him.  To everyones amazement the referee waved it away and booked Lee for diving.

Why on earth would a player dive to the floor when he's left the defender in his wake and heading for goal? Disgraceful refereeing.

Barnets chances were coming from long range and they were finding the Harriers defenders resolute.  Their best chance to score came mid way through the half when Andy Yiadom took aim and Jamie Grimes appeared from nowhere to clear off the line.

Five minutes from the break we took the lead following our best spell of the game.  With Barnet on the rack we launched wave after wave of attack and it was from a Kevin Nicholson free kick that Hughes flicked towards goal.  The ball went high into the air and Danny Wright just about managed to get a touch on it with the back of his head to send the ball looping over the Bees keeper, Graham Stack.

We tried to build on the goal but to no avail and the break arrived with the Harriers in the ascendency and hopefully adding to that single goal in the second half.
  HT: 1 - 0
We should have built on that lead but as luck would have it Barnet had other ideas.  Just as Bristol Rovers did two weeks ago, following a poor first half, the Bees came out for the second half intent on forgetting the hoofball and concentrate on football.  We didn't know what had hit us and it took a good twenty minutes before we were able to settle down.

It took a brilliant one handed, point blank, save from Danny Lewis to instill some renewed confidence in us.  John Akinde, marshalled well in the first half, finally found some space to fire in a drive that Danny flipped onto the bar.  Danny was in action once more just minutes later when he dived at the big strikers feet to smother the ball before he had a chance to shoot and then later the leagues leading scorer had another chance to score but his header landed on the top of the bar.

Danny Wright should have done better for us and put the game to bed twenty minutes into the half when he ran onto a ball missed by the exposed Barnet defence.  With the goal at his mercy all he had to do was either go round the keeper, or lob it over his head, but he opted to lift it weakly and Stack pushed the ball away easily.  By now we had made a couple of changes in an attempt to calm things down a bit.  Keyon Reffell came on in place of Jake Green who was having no luck out wide and the Lee Hughes was replaced by Craig Reid.

Just after the change the referee made yet another howler by not sending the Barnet keeper off.  With a Harriers player bearing down on him he came out of his area to collect the ball and much to everyones astonishment, including his own fans, he merely got a yellow card and a free kick to us.  The kick was sent over the bar by Kevin Richardson.

The Barnet goal had to come though and it was substitute Luisma Villa that got it.  A bit of lax defending by Jared Hodgkiss, earlier almost sweeping the board with end of season awards, allowed Curtis Weston to rob him of the ball and advance on goal.  More standing off by Harriers defensive staff allowed Weston time and space to send in a cross over everyones heads and fall at the feet of Villa who managed to bundle the ball over the line.

They should have added to that goal minutes later when Akinde found himself through on goal but valiant Danny charged out of goal once more to smother the ball at his feet and deny him his moment of glory.

In the dying minutes of the game we, ourselves, could have clinched all three points when Reffell sent a shot just inches wide after breaking through on goal and then Nathaniel Kelly did likewise but saw his shot deflected out for a last minute corner that came to nothing.

The draw gives us a bit of respectability by moving us up the table from sixteenth to fourteenth but for Barnet it prolongs the agony until the final day of the season at home to Gateshead.  Bristol Rovers, meanwhile, also had to be content with a draw at Dover when the home side gained a last gasp point meaning Rovers have to beat Alfreton at home and hope that Barnet don't if they hope to go up as champions.

We'll be at Eastleigh trying our best to end their chances of making the play-offs.  Don't want these money rich clubs buying their way into the Football League do we?
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Wright 39
 Goal for Barnet: Villa 74

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Barnet  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Stack
Hodgkiss   Yiadom  
Nicholson     Johnson  
Tunnicliffe     Togwell gif  
Grimes     N'Gala  
Kelly     Stephens  
Byrne     Vilhete gif  
O'Keefe gif   Weston  
Wright gif     Akinde
Hughes gif   Gash gif  
Green gif     Clifford  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Reid gif - 64     Cowler  
Obeng     Saville  
Reffell gif - 56     MacDonald gif - 61  
Maxwell gif - 82     Villa gif gif - 72  
Asante     Gambin gif - 67  

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