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Harriers 1gifFC Halifax Town 0

Date: 12-04-16 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 1340 gif away fans: 119
Tonight we had no fear and we were brave

gif Report: Phil Lench
In what was possibly the best, and most exciting, game so far this season the Harriers maintained their slender grip on Conference Premier safety with this excellent 1-0 home win against fellow strugglers Halifax Town.  In the, now repeated in every interview, words of Colin Gordon "Tonight we had no fear and we were brave".

A second half wonder strike from Ben Whitfield gave us the points that move us up to twenty third place in the table and the one goal win could have been more if Elton N'Gwatala had managed to convert his penalty.  With us still looking odds on to go down we need to win all our remaining games to try to reach that twenty first spot in the table and then hope against hope that someone comes a cropper in the AGM Cup final and we get a reprieve.

On a lovely April evening the game kicked off in a mist of fine rain as the sun set over Bewdley bringing with it dark clouds and flashes of lightening.  The scene was set for an epic.

On the bench for us was Dan Sweeney hoping to make his debut at some stage while also there was Max O'Leary rested as a precaution after being told he has to go back to Bristol City tomorrow due the goalkeeper injury.  Starting up front for us was Gurjit Singh with no sign of Evan Garnett at all.

With both sides nervous of conceding too early it was a cagey affair at first with both keepers being tested soon after kick off.  Elton N'Gwatala and Ben Whitfield took pot shots toward the Halifax keeper Sam Johnson while for the visitors Jordan Burrow tested Snedker out while James Bolton should have done better with a header from a corner that went well wide.

After twenty minutes the game began to settle down from its frantic start and it was the visitors looking more likely to score when a well taken free kick by Jake Hibbs forced Snedker to touch the ball away from goal but not out of play.  A scramble ensued to try and force the ball over the line but it was cleared away to safety.

The first real chance for the Harriers came when the ever running James McQuilkin played the ball through to Singh who then bought Ben Whitfield into play with a fine forward pass.  Sadly his shot was slightly too high but it bought gasps from the Harriers fans.

The half ended with the former Harriers loanee, and Hagley born, Richard Peniket curling a shot wide without troubling Snedker.
  HT: 0 - 0
With the start of the second period, and the knowledge that Guiseley were beating Wrexham 3-0 to move them up a couple of spaces to safety, both sides knew that they would have to go for it and luckily for us it was the Harriers who seemed to want it more.  It took just three minutes for Whitfield to get us the winning goal.

With the home supporters complaining about the ball being played back into defence a sudden, sweeping cross from Lewis Kinsella switched play into attack as the ball soared majestically over to the left side of the pitch to be trapped skillfully by Whitfield and beating the offside trap into the bargain.  In one swift move the on loan dynamo took the ball forward and then unleashed a screamer of an angled shot from outside the area and inside the near post beyond the reach of Johnson.

Instead of letting their heads drop Halifax immediately took the game back to us and mounted a succession of raids on the Harriers goal but good, solid defending and saves kept them at bay.  It was a signal to the bench to change it around a bit and off went the under performing Singh to be replaced by debutant Dan Sweeney following his recall from Halesowen yesterday for just this moment.  Straight away he was in action when he raced onto a forward pass and entered the area only to be sent tumbling by the ex Lincoln defender Hamza Bencherif.

The referee didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot as he waved a yellow card at the Halifax defender and up stepped N'Gwatala to take the gift.  He didn't look comfortable though and so it proved has he sent his weak spot kick straight at the keeper.  Sadly no one was following up and it was gathered again by Johnson.

The miss seemed to knock Elton back a bit and he went off soon after to be replaced by Jared Hodgkiss so allowing Zaine Francis-Angol to move up field a bit.  We continued to attack the game looking for a second goal and at times it was one way traffic as Halifax were found out exposed at the back.

They bought on two MacDonalds/McDonalds in an effort to get back into the game and it was the first one, Josh, that looked the more likely to score with his fast movement catching Langmead and Lowe out all the time.  Thankfully his shooting was wayward.

Getting towards the end of the game we bought on Omari Patrick in place of the tiring Whitfield who went off to a standing ovation for his non stop work rate and never say die attitude.  The lad is far too good for us.  Patricks first touch of the ball should have resulted in his first goal for the Harriers but after breaking free and surging in on goal he scuffed his shot wide of the post.

No matter though because five minutes later we were home and dry, but not safe from relegation.  We still have a very slim chance and that was helped with Altrincham losing at Torquay to put us within six points of them but that also needs every team above us to lose all their remaining games and that will take a miracle.
  FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Harriers: Whitfield 49

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      FC Halifax Town  goals   subs   cards 
Snedker     Johnson  
Francis-Angol     Bolton  
Kinsella   McManus  
Williams   James  
Langmead     Roberts  
Lowe     Bencherif
Fané     Hibbs gif
N'Gwatala gif     Wroe
Singh gif     Burrow  
Whitfield gif gif     Peniket gif  
McQuilkin     Fairhurst gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
O'Leary     Porter  
Hodgkiss gif - 78     Fazlić  
Patrick gif - 84     J Macdonald gif - 64  
Tunnicliffe     Hughes gif - 90  
Sweeney gif - 58     S McDonald gif - 64  

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