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AFC Telford Utd 1gifHarriers 0

Date: 06-09-16 gif Venue: New Bucks Head gif att: 1459 gif away fans: 384
All that possession and nothing to show for it

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers lost their first away game of the season tonight when they went down 1-0 at defense minded Telford Utd despite having probably up to 70% of the possession but with very little to show for it.  A lack of firepower in front of goal and an unwillingness to take the chance when presented meant that we only had one clear cut sight of goal all evening.  We scored with that one chance but it was ruled out for offside even though the ball came back to Liam Truslove off the keeper.  Our second best chance of the night was given to Andre Brown who, when given the opportunity with a free kick on the very edge of the area, decided to see if the ball would be back in Kidderminster before he was as it flew miles over the bar.

With one enforced change due to James McQuilkins one match suspension the Harriers re-called Ashley Carter to the starting eleven following the expiration of his sentence while Ryan Croasdale moved into the space vacated by McQuilkin.  Apart from that it was an almost unchanged eleven and bench from the previous games.

Bayed on by almost four hundred Harriers fans it was the Purples that took the initiative right from the start while Telford, whispered on by a handful of their own fans at the far end of the ground, set their stall out by snuffing out as much as they could in any means they could including some dubious challenges on our nimble footed athletes.  No matter how nimble you are it's all gone to waste if you can't do anything with it and time again we ran into dead ends and wasted forays forward.

The main culprit was Tyrell Waite who had the beating of the defender all night long down the length of the pitch but, once in sight of goal and a chance to get a ball across, his legs turned to jelly and Mani Dieseruvwe was left there wondering where the ball had got to.  When he did get the ball across to him Mani was being guarded by two strapping lads and had no chance of achieving anything with it.

When we did manage to get a half chance to test the keeper then James Montgomery was easily able to cope with the powder puff approach.  Sadly some sections of the crowd singled out the keeper for stupid abuse but he was only doing what he was put there for and if he was our - experienced and mature - keeper then they would have thought him brilliant.

Weirdly, with the Harriers having all the possession, it was Telford that somehow contrived to score the only goal of the game.  Another Harriers attack had broken down and Telford surged forward chasing after a long goal kick upfield, more in hope than conviction, and were given a sight of goal by hesitant defending that allowed Micah Evans in to fire a weakish shot from the edge of the area but it took a deflection off Tyrone Williams on the way and left Sam Hornby slightly off guard as the ball rolled underneath his body and into the net.

We responded in the only way we should and once more attacked their end at pace but with the same results of stout defending and a lack of nous in how to beat the Telford blockade.  A free kick, given for another desperate challenge was taken by Arthur Gnahoua but wasted as it flew over the bar while in the dying seconds before the break Gnahoua again had a volley blocked on the line while Waite hit the side netting from a few yards out.
  HT: 1 - 0
At the start of the second half we dispensed with the services of Ash Carter and went for the more creative option of Liam Truslove.  There was a slight improvement but not enough to make it a game changer as Telford continued to repel all of or attacking guile and had one early chance when a ball in from Josh Wilson was stopped from reaching ex Harrier Callum Gittings in the nick of time.

In the sixty fifth minute we thought we had got the equaliser that our pressure had deserved.  Dieseruvwe had at long last got a clear sight of goal and shot goalwards only for Montgomery to parry away to Truslove waiting for that kind of chance.  Truslove fired powerfully into the net but the offside flag was up on the far side and so the goal was ruled out even though it appeared to be a close call.

Harriers found themselves spurred on by that miss and upped the ante on the Telford goal only to see desperate defending from Luca Havern and Dwayne Samuels stopping the likes of Dieseruvwe, Gnahoua and Elton N'Gwatala getting their shots away.

Soon after came what was possibly the biggest cheer of the night when Callum Gittings left the pitch to a massive round of applause from the Harriers faithful who have always held him in high esteem.  Gitto looked very emotional as he clapped both sets of fans and took his place in the dugout.

Soon after we made a double change with Waite and N'Gwatala going off to be replaced with Rob Stambolziev and Andre Brown.  Stam gave us renewed energy out wide but it was Brown who made the biggest impression but for all the wrong reasons.

Stambolziev was bought down on the edge of the area, just a cats whisker from being inside, and picked up the ball to claim the free kick as his own but Brown argued with him saying that he was going to take it and smash it into the back of the net for a glorious equaliser.  A minute later he would have wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole as he somehow contrived to scoop the ball waaaaay over the bar and into the roof of the stand (the video of that is here)

We still didn't give up the cause and we mounted attack after attack on the Telford goal only to see yet more brave defending and lost chances deny us the point.  Gnahoua again and Zaine Francis-Angol had the best of the many chances we had but it wasn't enough and we went home empty handed rueing our glaring lack of firepower and the in-ability to break a massed defence down with our one touch passing, crossovers and delightful little back heels.

We have another stern test on Saturday when Celebrity City come to Aggborough with their entourage of ex Manchester Utd stars and BBC hangers on come down from Salford.  Maybe by then we would have bought in the bully boy striker we so desperately need.
  FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Telford: Evans 25

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AFC Telford Utd  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Montgomery     Hornby  
Samuels   T Williams
Campion     Francis-Angol  
Bailey   Carter gif  
Havern     Lowe  
Royle     Tunnicliffe  
Gittings gif     Waite gif  
S Williams     Croasdale  
Hurst gif     Dieseruvwe  
Wilson     N'Gwatala gif  
Evans gif gif     Gnahoua  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Hibbert gif - 67   Austin  
Dawson gif - 75     Truslove gif - 46  
Preston     Stambolziev gif - 79  
Reynolds gif - 61     A Brown gif - 79  
Peers     Thomas  

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