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Harriers 2gifWorcester City 1

Date: 01-01-17 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 2762 gif away fans: 401
Harriers finally win the County battle

gif Report: Phil Lench
Today was the return of the Boxing Day game last week when we ground out a draw at City's temporary ground and all Harriers were hoping to see something better than that dross at Aggborough on a wet New Years Day.  Thankfully this win gave us the bragging rights for the County and put us a point closer to AFC Fylde.

We had one surprise waiting for us just before the kick off with the news that goalkeeper Sam Hornby would be out with an ankle injury and in his place would be our loan keeper from last season, West Broms Alex Palmer.  Alex is the brother of our second string keeper Tom and, in that case, you have to ask why we have bought his brother back here.  Don't we have a belief in our own players?

The rest of the starting line-up was the same as last Monday but our visitors made a few changes.  Danny Jackman was out injured so Ebby Nelson-Addy came in to replace him.  Also starting for them was Connor Hughes who replaced the former Harriers loanee Jordan Murphy who went to the bench, but not for long.

As in the first game City had come with a plan and that was to stifle the Harriers with ten men behind the ball.  This time there was also the added dimension of time wasting to contend with.  The keeper Ethan Ross and defender Tyler Weir being the greatest exponents of the sixty second goalkick and the sixty second throw in.  Sadly the poor referee seemed oblivious to it all.

City controlled the first ten minutes of the game without doing much with the ball but after that we began to take control.  A good build up move ended with Arthur Gnahoua trying his luck from the edge of the area but his left foot shot drifted wide of the post.

Very little happened after that apart from us probing continually to find a way through the massed blue and white ranks.  Set pieces came to nothing and any foray into the City area was snuffed out by heavy defending and a lack of nous from our frontmen in getting past them.  Most of that was down to our known tendency to over elaborate when a more direct approach could have yielded a more positive result.

Midway through the half and the un-thinkable happened.  Cieron Keane ran onto a long ball forward and hoisted the ball into the box towards Lee Hughes but Jordan Tunnicliffe got there to put a challenge in and the ball flicked the ball back to Junior English to chest the ball down and follow through by firing the ball home into the bottom corner.  That goal was the signal for more timewasting tactics.

We responded by taking the game straight to City and won a free kick on the edge of the area that Mani Dieseruvwe put over the bar while a minute later Tyrell Waite hesitated too long in front of an almost open goal and his shot also went over the bar.

With five minutes of the half remaining we were denied a stonewall penalty when James McQuilkin broke through into the area and found himself bundled over.  The referee again failed to give the correct decision and waved play on.  on the cusp of the forty five Tyrone Williams crossed the ball to the back post but Gnahoua's shot was weak and failed to trouble the City keeper.
  HT: 0 - 1
At the start of the second half we made a minor change with Sam Austin coming on for the previously booked Tyrone Williams.  With Ryan Croasdale missing from next weeks game at Salford it didn't make sense to risk another player getting a second yellow with this officials thinking.  Taking up a full back position it was obvious from his first kick of the ball that he wasn't going to be there much.

His first move was to break free of the defenders attention and fire into the side netting and then twice more he left his markers for dead to whip crosses into the box where City defenders hastily cleared them back upfield.  It was his presence that was making the difference to the first half and surely he must be worthy of a start very soon.

Just before the hour mark we finally pulled the goal back and it did have a touch of luck about it.  The ball was played forward and wide to Zaine Francis-Angol who easily beat his man to cross the ball into the area where it was cleared by Keane but only as far as McQuilkin who then side footed the ball home to ecstatic scenes from the Harriers fans.  The goal signalled the best spell of the game lasting some ten minutes as the Reds went in search of another goal.

Elton N'Gwatala saw his shot blocked by Graham Hutchison and then Gnahoua headed straight into the arms of the Worcester keeper in the seventieth minute as we kept up the pressure until finally they broke.  Austin, again, left his marker for dead and surged towards the byeline where he spotted McQuilkin and N'Gwatala waiting for his ball.  It never got that far though because Sam Oji decided to put his foot out and the ball deflected into his own net for third own goal scored for us this season.

We should have buried them soon after when Sam supplied Darryl Knights, on for Tyrell Waite, with a cross but the returning midfielder could only strike wildly at the chance and with the keeper right in front of him he dealt with it easily.

With time running out for City, and now a goal behind, they stopped their time wasting but at the same time gave us no chance to take our throw-ins before complaining to the referee that we were somehow timewasting now.  They also lost the services of Lee Hughes for the second time this season when he needlessly kicked out at N'Gwatala in a touchline skirmish and this time the ref did the right thing in sending him off.

In the dying moments of the game City had a penalty appeal turned down, rightfully, as Chekaine Steele fell down in the area after being deprived of the ball by Keith Lowe.

So that's the long awaited derby games with City over after all this time and hopefully there will be a long wait until the next battle for County rights as we try our best to catch up with AFC Fylde at the top of the table.
  FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: McQuilkin 59, Oji (og) 78
 Goal for Worcester: English 23

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Worcester City  goals   subs   cards 
A Palmer     Ross  
Williams gif   Weir
Francis-Angol gif     C Keane
Croasdale     Oji gif (og)  
Lowe     Hutchison  
Tunnicliffe     J Keane
Waite gif     Steele  
McQuilkin gif     English gif  
Dieseruvwe     L Hughes
N'Gwatala   Nelson-Addy gif  
Gnahoua     C Hughes gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
A Brown     Draper  
Truslove gif - 70     Murphy gif - 19  
Austin gif - 46     Chambers gif - 82  
Knights gif - 57     Gallinagh  
Carter     Craig  

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