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Harriers 2gifChester FC 2

Date: 20-02-16 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 2067 gif away fans: 432
Harriers suffer second half jitters again

gif Report: Phil Lench
For the third home game in a row the Harriers stormed into a decent first half lead and then for the third second half they failed to build on that lead to come within a gnats whisker of throwing it all away.  At least against Eastleigh and Macclesfield we held on to win the games but today could have been so very different if Chester had managed to put one of their late chances away.

Two goals up before the break thanks to goals from Arthur Gnahoua and Harry White, a penalty, the Harriers looked good enough to go on a score even more but we all know that we seem to lack a killer touch when it comes to killing a team off no matter how far we are into that game.  We seem to be content to hold on to what we have and then when the opposing team makes line-up changes to combat us we seem to lack the intelligence to counteract that move and end up chasing shadows and playing catch-up.

If we had won this game today we would have jumped to third from bottom of the table and a mere four points behind the next club up - Boreham Wood - who lost at home to fellow strugglers Torquay today.  Now we stay where we are and the bottom four drift further away from safety due to Halifax surprisingly thrashing Grimsby 4-2.

We started the game with one change to the team of recent weeks with new loan signing Lewis Kinsella coming in for Zaine Francis-Angol who found himself on the bench.  Kinsella is a defender from Aston Villa so he'll be glad he's come to a team that wins games and he looks pretty decent too.

Our first chance of the game came from Ben Whitfield, who else?, when he fired into the side netting following a corner won by Kinsella but after that the game drifted into dullsville for a while.  It took an excellent run by Arthur Gnahoua to wake things up.

Good build up play between Whitfield and Ousmane Fané set Gnahoua free to take the ball into the area to fire in one of his trademark goals under the suspect keeper, Tony Thompson, and into the far corner of the net.  A better keeper, like Dean Snedker, would have stopped that.

A few minutes later and the lead was doubled when a ball was fired into the crowded Chester area by Whitfield and hit the hand of Ryan Lloyd.  The referee pointed to the spot immediately amid protestations from the Chester players while Harry White stepped up to take it and fire it un-stoppably into the net and give us what should have been a two goal lead to build on.

The visitors tried to respond but didn't really come close apart from a distance strike from Ben Heneghan that Snedker dealt with easily enough.  In the closing minutes of the half Ross Hannah should also have done better with a shot that arrived invitingly at his feet from a corner only for him slice at it wildly and send it the wrong side of the goal.
  HT: 2 - 0
As against Macclesfield last Saturday we saw the opposing side make a double substitution to change the game to their favour with Chester making theirs at the start of the second period.  On came James Alabi and Ryan Higgins to replace Craig Mahon and John Rooney and straight away the difference was there to see.

We did start the half with a chance for Harry White that he sent wide but after that Chester took control of the game for most of the time by using the man mountain Alabi to put pressure on our central pairing of Kelvin Langmead and Keith Lowe.  Lowe came out of it the better but Langmead struggled to cope with his deceptive turn of pace.  We didn't help matters either by failing to keep Whitfield supplied with the ball and at times he cut a lonely figure out wide on his while the ball was continually sent over for Tyrone Williams or Gnahoua to chase down while surrounded by defenders.

The one time he did get the ball he left Chester for dead with interchanging passes with White that ended with a magnificent strike from Ben that stung the hands of the keeper.  If he had been a Premiership player and gone in it would have graced Match of the Day tonight.  Then we fell to pieces.

First Alabi muscled his way into the area only to shoot into the side netting then with no real danger Langmead robbed Hannah of the ball just inside the area but the referee deemed that Langers had held onto him and pointed to the spot.  It seemed to be an extremely soft penalty but they say the ref is always right.  Hannah dispatched it effortlessly past Snedker and pulled the score back to 2-1.

We needed to kick on now and regain that two goal difference but the visitors had other ideas and swarmed continuously towards our goal forcing corner after corner that thankfully they didn't convert.  The closest they came was when Ryan Astles got his head to a ball but directed it wide of the goal.

Just after that we found ourselves embarrassingly pegged back to 2-2 when Alabi dragged Langmead wide and then skipped inside him to unleash a beautiful, curving, shot across the face of goal and into the net.  You could see it coming.

We tried to get back into the game but struggled to create very much of substance.  The closest we came was when Ty Williams pounced on a loose ball from substitute Evan Garnett and sent in an arrowed shot just a minute from time.  Sadly for us the keeper got himself across the goal to fingertip it away to safety and that was it for the day.

We had gone from a two goal lead that we should have increased easily to a draw that we had given away meekly.  We won't be escaping the threat of relegation if we don't put these kind of games to bed and now we have it all to do again on Tuesday when we go to Wrexham.  To get points form there is going to be tough but we have to do it or die.
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Harriers: Gnahoua 22, White 26 (pen)
 Goals for Chester: Hannah 66 (pen), Alabi 76

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Chester FC  goals   subs   cards 
Snedker     Thompson  
Hodgkiss     Heneghan  
Kinsella     Astles  
Maxwell   O'Brien gif  
Langmead     Lloyd  
Lowe     Sharps  
Fané     Mahon gif  
Williams     Hughes  
White gif gif     Hannah gif  
Whitfield     Rooney gif  
Gnahoua gif gif     Chapell  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Brown     Worsnop  
Garnett gif - 86     Higgins gif - 46  
Patrick gif - 74     Hunt  
Jones     Richards gif - 85
Francis-Angol     Alabi gif gif - 46  

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