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Harriers 0 Southport 1


Date: 28-12-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1883gif away fans: 76
Harriers fail to adapt to the conditions

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers had high hopes of a fifth successive three points against Southport this afternoon but a pitch in shocking condition helped to put paid to those hopes.  The preceding game here on Boxing Day between Worcester and Hednesford had been a diaster in terms of pitch quality and even after some emergency repairs in the past two days it didn't look any better than it did then.  Just less water standing on it.  It had passed an inspection early this morning but that was just to ensure the ground wasn't too hard to play on due to the severe overnight frost.

As it was the game got underway on a pitch that was already cutting up badly during the pre match warm up.  From the start the tone of the game was set with continuous hoofball from both sets of teams and there wasn't much football on show.

The Harriers had started the game without Callum Gittings and Aman Verma with them both out injured following the Forest Green game the other day.  In came Craig Reid and also an unknown Academy scholar, Luke Maxwell, although on the bench were other players with better credentials.  As it was Maxwell didn't have too bad a game but that wasn't hard considering those around weren't having the best of games either.

The first half action was sparse but the Harriers probably shaded the half chances to score.  Reid sent a weak shot wide of the post while Jack Byrne sent a header straight at the Southport keeper, David Raya-Martin.  The best chance of the half, not counting a dis-allowed goal, came from Marvin Johnson who had a shot easily saved from the edge of the area.

The struck off goal came almost on the stroke of half time when Jared Hodgkiss crossed the ball in from wide and Byrne got it into the net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
  HT: 0 - 0
The second half came round with hopes from the Harriers fans that we would at last produce some of the passing skills and creative thinking that we saw at the New Lawn two days ago.  Sadly that wasn't to be the case and the hoofing continued from both sides.

The chances were non-existent for both sides in the first twenty minutes of the half and the game had 0-0 draw written large all over it.  That was until the sixty sixth minute when a poor clearance, following an aimless cross into the Harriers area by substitute Danny Hattersley the ball was cleared equally aimlessly by Jamie Grimes as far as Luke George.  The Southport man couldn't believe his luck and returned the ball, with interest, into the back of Danny Lewis' net.

Illogically the Harriers manager Gary Whild decided it was a good time to take both strikers off, Reid and Styche, and replace them with a midfielder and a striker, Ahmed Obeng and Akwasi Asante, that looks so unfit he had trouble getting onto the pitch.

We tried to get back into the game but fell well short of the capability to do so.  Johnson had been marked out of the game throughout and it was only now, with the Southport defence beginning to tire, that he got into the game more but it was all too late and, with just a late chance for Jake Green that clipped the bar, the Harriers fell to defeat.

We now have the return game against Forest Green at Aggborough to look forward to but if the pitch hasn't improved by then we will almost certainly ber hoping that it gets called off if that was the way we play on it.
  FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Southport: George 66

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gif Jared Hodgkiss

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Southport  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Raya-Martin  
Hodgkiss     Austin  
Nicholson     Fitzpatrick  
Storer     Rutherford  
Grimes     Collins  
Tunnicliffe   Foster
Byrne   Marsden  
Johnson     George gif  
Styche gif     Smith  
Reid gif     Brodie gif  
Maxwell gif     Joyce  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Green gif - 76     Roberts  
Obeng gif - 67     Hattersley gif - 64  
Spencer     Lynch  
Hales     Brogan  
Asante gif - 67     Bakayoko  

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