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Harriers 3gifBradford (Park Avenue) 1

Date: 29-04-17 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 1890 gif away fans: 64
Harriers clinch 2nd place

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers made sure of their second place spot in the league this afternoon with this 3-1 win against a very useful looking Bradford side.  The fact that we made hard work of getting the win should not be overlooked and it does create a bit of worry in the fans minds that if we play like this in the play offs then we could end up exiting at the first stage.

Those play off games will be against Chorley FC after they qualified even though they lost 1-0 at home to Halifax today.  At various stages during the second half it was alternating between Chorley and Stockport who would finish in the final place but in the end Stockport, who needed to win, were held to a draw at home to Gloucester City and failed to qualify.  The first leg of our two games will be at Chorley on Wednesday evening with the return back here at Aggborough next Sunday.

We started the game with a couple of changes both to the starting eleven and on the bench.  James McQuilkin was missing with a minor knock while Daniel Nti was out, presumed injured but could be just resting.  In their places came Darryl Knights and Tyrell Waite while on the bench there was no Sam Austin so he might be 'resting' too.

We kicked off by almost gifting the visitors a goal in the opening minutes when Keith Lowe, minutes after picking up an end of season award, dithered on the ball and let in a Bradford man to rob him of it but his shot from outside the area was a bit rushed and Sam Hornby saved easily enough.  We responded immediately by surging upfield and Tyrone Williams ending the move with great shot on the angle that forced the BPA keeper, Ed Hall, into a last gasp save to push it around the post.

We had further chance come our way with most of them created by Zaine Francis-Angol who was giving their fullbacks a torrid time but sadly the final ball was either over or under hit.  When Tyrell Waite did connect with one such cross he lashed wildly at it and missed the target.  Twenty one minutes into the game and we finally saw the constant pressure pay off.  Williams got upfield well again and this time played a cross towards the near post for Joe Ironside to glance the ball home.

Bradford weren't going to accept defeat easily and responded through the former Forest starlet Emile Sinclair when he broke away and shot on goal but luckily for us Ryan Croasdale had got across the area to block his shot from going in.

Soon after both side were forced into early substitutions when, firstly, Elton N'Gwatala had his shirt pulled, violently, and looked to have pulled his suspect shoulder causing him pain and an early exit as a precaution with Liam Truslove replacing him.  Minutes later Joe Ironside tried to flick a Williams cross goalwards but Adam Nowakowski, for some strange reason, decided to put his head down towards Ironsides boot and paid the price.  Sadly he was stretchered off to be replaced by Gavin Rotheray.

Without Elton we began to struggle creatively and both sides cancelled each other out until five minutes before normal half time when Jordan Tunnicliffe got on the end of a fine delivery from Darryl Knights and into the net.  Soon after it could have been three goals to the good when Arthur Gnahoua, having another quiet game, fired in from the corner of the area only to see Hall produce an excellent save to tip the ball around the post.

Six minutes of added on time was added on for the injuries and the Harriers went in with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
  HT: 2 - 0
At the start of the second period BPA replaced Sinclair with Danny Boshell.  They were the first to threaten with Jamie Spencer (not the former Harriers striker) hitting the upright following an early foray on Hornbys goal and then up at the other end Ironside was going in search of his second goal of the game when he sent in a shot that went just wide.

In a move that bemused 99.9% of Harriers fans John Eustace then removed Ironside from the field to bring on Emmanuel Sonupè in his place.  He then went out wide and Tyrell Waite moved into the centre forward place and we lost all semblance of a team going for promotion.  To say that move was an un-mitigated disaster would be to underplay how bad it was as passes went astray with the team looked disjointed and lacking in ideas.

Bradford took their chance and began to rip though us in whirlwind fashion exposing our defensive frailties for the next ten minutes.  Boshell forced Hornby into an excellent save while the impressive Oli Johnson wriggled his way into the area and fired in only to be denied by Hornby yet again.  The on loan Burton youngster was earning his keep today and if it wasn't for him we could have been looking at third place and a trip to Salford on Wednesday instead of Chorley.

He could do nothing about the goal that did arrive soon after though after Johnson was brushed over by Tunnicliffe in the area and although there was minimal contact the referee pointed to the spot.  The former Halifax man Nicky Wroe stepped up and sent Hornby the wrong way with a well taken spot kick.

That gave the visitors even more impetus going forward and a second goal looked to be easily on the cards as we struggled to contain them.  The closest they came was a shot from Spencer that was blocked out and then rebounded to Chris Sharp who then scuffed his shot from just a few feet out.

Luckily for us, against the run of play, we scored the goal that clinched the game.  Sonupè had been struggling to duplicate his debut for us at Altrincham when he created one and scored another goal but this time his pace, and tricky feet, got him past the defender on the byeline where he then crossed into the area for Liam Truslove to power in and send his downward header into the corner of the net.  When did we last win a game with three headers?

We held on for the remaining ten minutes of the game but still allowed the visitors a chance to narrow the scoreline when Johnson fired over and ourselves another chance to increase ours through Truslove again when he also fired over.

So that's the end of that then and it's into the play offs we go.  As noted we will be playing Chorley while the other games are between Halifax and Salford City and all will be playing this coming Wednesday.  For us to continue further we'll need to play better that we did today and on Chorleys optical illusion of a pitch we'll need all the luck we can muster.  I'd be happy with a draw but I think it it's going to be a tougher game than we were expecting and could go either way.  Just as long as we can do the business back here next Sunday.
  FT: 3 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Ironside 21, Tunnicliffe 40, Truslove 78
 Goal for Bradford: Wroe 66 (pen)

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Bradford (Park Avenue)  goals   subs   cards 
Hornby     Hall  
Williams     Toulson  
Francis-Angol     Hill  
Croasdale     Wroe gif  
Lowe     Killock  
Tunnicliffe gif     Nowakowski gif  
Waite     Chippendale  
Knights     Spencer gif  
Ironside gif gif     Sharp  
N'Gwatala gif     Johnson  
Gnahoua gif     Sinclair gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Sonupè gif - 58     Worsnop  
Carter     Rothery gif - 30  
Hodgkiss gif - 81     D Boshell gif - 46  
A Brown     Payne  
Truslove gif gif - 27     Noblet gif - 81  

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