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Harriers 1gifDover Athletic 1

Date: 23-04-16 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 1401 gif away fans: 187
Harriers say Dover and out to Aggborough

gif Report: Centreforeword
On a sunny, but cool, end of season afternoon the Harriers played their final home game of the 2015/2016 campaign and entertained one of the surprise packages, promotion chasing Dover Athletic.

The strength of the Dover side was reflected however in the fact that ex Harrier Jamie Grimes could only make their subs bench - a player who was first on the Harriers team list in the 2014/2015 campaign.  For Harriers the starting eleven selection again gave a hint of who the club would be seeking to retain for the 2016/2017 season.  No sign of Gaz Singh and club captain Jared Hodgkiss again sitting out the game on the bench.

Both teams started brightly.  First out of blocks was Lewis Kinsella who set off on a slalom style run only for his shot to be well held by the visitor's keeper.  At the other end Ricky Modeste was also through on goal but in turn a good save was pulled off by the home stopper Dean Snedker.  In the eighth minute Stefan Payne had a chance for the away team to take the lead but once more Snedker was good to the task.

What was turning out to be a good quality entertaining game then produced a goal for the Carpetmen.  A well flighted Ben Whitfield corner was met by the prowling Keith Lowe who nodded down in text book style to enable Harriers to take the lead.  Harriers 1 Dover 0.

The fixture continued to produce chances for both teams.  On nineteen minutes Nick Deverdics took a left footed free kick which sailed just wide of Snedker's left hand posted with the goalkeeper completely leaden footed and on the half hour mark another header from Lowe was just off target for the home side.

They say that it is always a difficult blow to take when the opposition score on the stroke of half time.  Well that was a blow that Colin Gordon's charges had to endure as the Harriers failed to clear in the forty fifth minute and Ricky Miller nipped in to lob Snedker.

Snedker's biggest weakness is probably his ability to judge when to come to collect the ball and when not to do so.  Again and again he gets lobbed or does not seem to take the ball when he should do so.  Something to work on in the summer if he stays with the club no doubt.
  HT: 1 - 1
As the second half started Dover began to gain more possession and created a number of chances.  In the fiftieth minute Snedker did extremely well to keep out a Sam Magri header and in the sixty first minute Miller produced another header which flew over the crossbar but not by much.  Harriers were beginning to look second best by a distance and so it was no surprise when in the sixty third minute Arthur Gnahoua was welcomed onto the pitch in place of James McQuilkin.  Quilks had not had the best day at the office by his normally very high standards.

Gnahoua made an instant impact.  He ran down the Harriers right and laid a superb cross into the feet of Ben Whitfield who seemed to choose the wrong foot for the shot and mis-kicked and the ball then rolled onto Zaine Francis Angol who poked it over the bar on the stretch.  Gnahoua followed that chance up with a long range effort himself which flew over the bar.  Harriers were coming more and more back into the game as the half progressed.

In the seventy ninth minute came another change.  Dan Sweeney, who has the making of a great player, came off in favour of Omari Patrick.  Sweeney had hustled and bustled well, winning a fair number of headers and showing good control and hold up play.  Definitely one for the future.

In the eighty second minute it was Elton N'Gwatala's turn to run across the penalty area, but unfortunately when he let the shot go it was well covered by Mitch Walker in the Dover goal.

Then came the home side's best chance to steal the win.  Patrick bravely blocked a defender's clearance and the ball broke kindly to him down the Harrier's right wing from where he crossed to the unmarked Ben Whitfield who could only watch in disappointment as Walker made himself big to get the better of the one on one with the Harrier's diminutive star player.  A final half chance came when Kelvin Langmead headed over from another quality Whitfield corner but the final score of 1-1 was probably a fair reflection of the game overall.

Dover now progress to the play offs and a possible trip to Wembley.  As for Harriers there is no doubt that things have improved on field over the last few weeks but not far enough for the team to claw back the deficit that was incurred in the first half of the season.

Following the appointment of John Eustace we are all hoping that fortunes will improve and that things can only get better.  The author takes the view that the signs of promise are there, the management just needs to be up to the task.  Only time will tell whether they are and whether the whole outfit is good enough to go straight back up the National League proper.
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Lowe 14
 Goal for Dover: Miller 45

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Dover Athletic  goals   subs   cards 
Snedker     Walker  
Williams     Magri  
Kinsella     Braham-Barrett gif  
Francis-Angol     Deverdics  
Langmead     Essam  
Lowe gif     Parkinson  
Fané     Modeste  
N'Gwatala   Bellamy  
Sweeney gif     Miller gif
Whitfield     Sterling  
McQuilkin gif     Payne  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Brown     Rafferty  
Hodgkiss     Kinnear gif - 70  
Garnett     Ofori-Acheampong  
Patrick gif - 80     Grimes  
Gnahoua gif - 64     Marsh  

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