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Harriers 0gifGateshead 1

Date: 05-12-15 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 1489 gif away fans: 42
Harriers have last minute misery yet again

gif Report: Phil Lench
I'm sure that I saw some rather large birds sitting in the trees that overlook Aggborough today.  You know the ones: big black with grey necks and shaved heads.  They like picking over dead meat.

Yes, I think the vultures have come home to roost.

They had to wait a full ninety four minutes before getting the nod to come and feast though because that's when Gateshead went and scored and we knew, just knew, that we are down.

Todays game was the one that we had to win because until mid January it looks very unlikely that we'll pick up anymore points with two games against Eastleigh and then two against Cheltenham with Forest Green sandwiched somewhere in between.  In our two previous home games we have managed to win both of them and with us supposedly playing a 'weaker' team than those above then it was all the more surprising that Dave Hockaday started the game with a lone striker up front and playing into the wind to boot.

We were supposed to be the home team for goodness sake and to submit Gurjit Singh to that was ludicrous beyond belief.  On the bench was the obvious strike partner in Matt Barnes-Homer and he must have been wondering about the logic of it all too.  Also on the bench was a player so secret that it was deemed un-necessary to tell anyone beforehand and it just about sums up this club now.  Question: Where is George Obosu?

So with our future to play for we ended up kicking off in the wrong direction into the wind and we failed to take advantage of it by hoofing the ball over the top as much as possible while Gateshead hoofed it back the other way.  Eventually something clicked in someone's head and we began to play it on the deck but not convincingly with the Heed looking sharp all over the pitch and nicking the ball back off us before we had a chance to move it forward.

The visitors were the first to make an impression on the game with two chances to score in the opening two minutes.  Gus Mafuta fired in from outside the area and then Patrick McLaughlin tried to squeeze one in from close range but the Harriers keeper, Dean Snedker, was equal to both and he was equal for the remainder of the game too.  We had a better chance to open the scoring soon after when Jordan Jones fired his shot goalwards and the Heed keeper, Sam Russell, tipped it around the upright.

Eventually the game settled down into a routine with the midfield turning into a battleground of going nowhere.  Things did pick up as half time approached and Singh managed to get a strike in that forcede Russell into a good save and then Ben Whitfield tried from the same distance but was less trouble to the keeper.
  HT: 0 - 0
For the second half we came out with a bit more intent and should really have taken the lead.  First Whitfield jinked his way into a shooting position and took aim but just in the nick of time Craig Baxter got a foot to the ball and scooped it over the bar for a corner.  Seconds later Jordan Jones managed to beat a defender to the ball and sent over a low cross but Singh seemed to be unready for it and scooped that over the bar from just feet away from goal.  It was a miss that was to become more telling as the game went on.

Gateshead responded with a long range effort from the busy CJ Hamilton and that signalled the end of the Harriers creating anything more in front of goal.  From then on it was an onslaught on Snedkers goal that was to result in around eight corners for the visitors and an extremely busy thirty minutes for the Harriers keeper.

That started with a free kick that was heading for the top corner Snedker somehow managed to fling himself across the goal to tip it onto the bar and then watch as it was scrappily cleared away upfield.  The problem now was that any balls cleared upfield invariably came back because of the powerful winds twenty foot above the ground.

In one of our very few breaks we managed to raise an attack on the Heed goal and that ended in controversy when Ben Clark clearly handled the ball in the area but the somewhat ineffective referee chose not to see it or the handball in front of the dugouts two minutes later but he did when the ball was fired straight at Kyle Howkins a few minutes later and gave a free kick just outside the area.

It was still all Gateshead though and again Snedker pulled off a truly brilliant save when Ryan Bowman got in to fire the ball home near the far post but amazingly the Harriers keeper changed direction mid flight and stopped the ball from entering the goal.

Both sides had begun to make changes by then with the Harriers changes being more comprehensive.  On came Matt Barnes-Homer and new 'secret' signing Omari Patrick in place of Jordan Jones and Dino Fazlić to try and give us more firepower up front.  Patrick looks to be a useful and pacy player but will we see him again before Christmas?

Gateshead continued to go in search of the goal and corner after corner was won by them but never really amounting to much and the game looked to be heading for a draw.  Three minutes of injury time was announced yet it was in the fourth minute of that three that the killer goal came.

There didn't look to be too much danger when the ball was pinging around Snedker but somehow a hastily cleared ball hit Zaine Francis-Angol on the back and fell just right for Pat McLaughlin to force the ball over the line from a few inches out.  A total disaster and so late in the game too.

There was silence in the ground as the Harriers fans just stood there stunned.  We didn't even hear the visiting Heed fans cheering.

It was just an eerie silence.
  FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Gateshead: McLaughlin 94

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Gateshead  goals   subs   cards 
Snedker     Russell  
Hodgkiss     Baxter  
Francis-Angol     Cranston  
Maxwell     Ramsden  
Langmead     Curtis  
Howkins     Clark  
McQuilkin     Honeyman gif  
Whitfield gif     Bowman  
Singh     Mafuta  
Fazlić gif     McLaughlin gif  
Jones gif     Hamilton gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Brown     MacDonald  
Rowe-Turner     Buddle  
Barnes-Homer gif - 77     Johnson gif - 89  
Patrick gif - 65     Wrightson gif - 64  
Young gif - 83     Smith  

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