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Harriers 1 AFC Telford Utd 1

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Date: 04-10-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2117gif away fans: 262
Harriers give their worst performance of the season

gif Report by Centre Foreword
On a pleasant but cool autumn afternoon, with the heavy morning rain having passed through, Harriers faced local rivals Telford at Aggborough in this Vanarama Conference head to head.

Surprisingly, despite the clear preponderance of the morning's precipitation, the pitch was still being watered pre kick off.  Surely the home side were more skilful than their local part time rivals?  If so, one would have thought the better, less slippy surface would have favoured the Carpetmen?  So why add extra water?

Nonetheless it was Gary Whild's choice and he made no changes to the side that had played well at Wrexham in mid week - both in terms of those on the pitch as well as those on the bench.

The game started and to be honest continued in a very scrappy fashion.  Many of the opportunities for both teams were in reality little more than half chances.  On six minutes there was an easy catch for goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge as Chey Dunkley headed on Jared Hodgkiss' cross and a few moments later Reece Styche took the full force of a Telford free kick and as his way, the Harriers forward easily capitulated and was left prostrate.  Once again though, as is normally the case with Styche, in the end there was in fact no harm done.

Then after thirteen minutes Michael Gash only managed to hit the side netting with what otherwise looked like a promising Harriers set piece.  With neither side really shining former skipper Kyle Storer broke through on twenty four minutes but his decent long distance shot was well saved.

Telford were never really out of it though as the Buck's Godfrey Poku had a quality curling shot brilliantly tipped over the bar by Danny Lewis in the Harriers' goal and then Peter Crouch's brother in law Sean Clancy's free-kick was headed at goal by Neill Byrne.  Fortunately, the ball took a deflection for a corner and Harriers kept it out.

Whilst neither side really shone, the hosts managed to take the lead on the stroke of half time.  A near post Kevin Nicholson free kick was well headed goal-ward by Aman Verma into an unguarded part of the Telford net and Gary Whild's men had managed to go into the dressing room at the end of what was a really poor first half, one nil up.
  HT: 1 - 0
The second half was little better.

Styche had a half chance at the start of the new period but in essence his choice of shooting at goal was a poor one.  On fifty two minutes Marvin Johnson was released by a great through ball but Steve Akrigg was at full-stretch to successfully clear his low cross.  The Bucks captain, Akrigg, injured himself in the process and remained off the pitch for some time as the game continued but Harriers could not take advantage.

Somewhat earlier than in preceding games, but nevertheless as sure as mustard is mustard, Whild and Creighton then decided to swap around the forward line.  Craig Reid came on to replace Styche in the sixtieth minute.  The crowd shook their heads once more because in recent games it has always been after these forward substitutions that Harriers have then conceded late goals.

Surprisingly, as he was the only Harriers player that seemed capable of producing a spark, shortly afterward Marvin Johnson was also substituted in favour of Callum Gittings. Then on sixty four minutes Michael Gash had a great chance to extend the lead for the boys in red.  He broke free down the inside right position but with poor control only managed to run the ball out of play.

Down the other end of the park this was followed up by Lewis having to make another great save to deny Kris Platt who turned a quality header at goal from a corner.  Harriers then had to face a period of reasonably sustained Telford pressure.  Lewis had to tip a header over from another long Telford throw and Andy Todd put in a low cross from the by-line but, unfortunately for the visitors, Adam Farrell couldn't get a foot on it.

On seventy three minutes Nathan Blissett predictably came on for Michael Gash and accordingly after seventy nine minutes disaster struck for the Carpetmen.  Kevin Nicholson tried to carry the play out of his own area but was easily bundled off the ball by Todd.  The Telford front man was allowed to run into space and curl a great effort past Lewis for what was probably the deserved Telford equaliser.

Harriers then huffed and puffed but it was far from a bombardment of the Telford goal as time to grab the winner petered out. All in all it was an uninspiring lacklustre effort from the full time Harriers against the part time Telford who are bottom of the league and lacking in confidence.  Unless vast improvements are forthcoming in the near term, the Aggborough outfit are going to do little better than finish mid table which, given the playing budget, would be a poor outcome for the Hoo Road club.

Tactical and strategic naivety at the moment seem largely to blame.
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Verma 45
 Goal for Telford: Todd 79


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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      AFC Telford Utd  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Hedge  
Hodgkiss     Higgins  
Nicholson     Poku  
Storer     N Byrne  
Gowling   Akrigg gif  
Dunkley     Grogan
J Byrne   Todd gif  
Johnson gif     Barnett gif  
Gash gif     Farrell  
Verma gif     Cooke gif  
Styche gif     Clancy  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Reid gif - 61     Gray gif - 93  
Blissett gif - 73     Pryce  
Obeng     Platt gif - 59
Gittings gif - 66     Deacey gif - 63  
Grimes     McDonald  

REFEREE:
Mr S Rushton
Staffordshire




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