att:  3143  away fans:  1000
Extra info
  Ashton 66 (og)
More dire defending in the first half gifts Utd the points and now both ourselves and Cambridge look doomed to drop as the points gap gets larger.
  Hackett 22
  Davies 38
  Basham 90
harriers-online match report
Saturday 22nd January 2005 
Dodgy defending does for us again

On a day when we all knew that this was another 'must win game' our poor defending let us down yet again.

Last week Stuart Watkiss had told the worlds press after our defeat at Macclesfield that we had to start to do 'the ugly things'.  Instead our fluffy defence just stood and watched as Oxford knocked two first half goals past them.  Two goals that need never have happened if they'd got stuck in and done an ugly job on them.

The first goal came after we had a couple of chances of our own to take the lead when first Blair Sturrock saw his header well saved by Tardif in the U's goal and then the luckless Gary Birch saw his own header get pushed onto the post by the keeper and Dave Mackay hack the ball away to safety.

Twenty two minutes was on the clock when Chris Hackett picked the ball up deep and drifted un-opposed through the static defence to draw Danby towards him and the slot it easily past him.

It was noticeable that Watkiss had made a grave error of judgment by starting John McGrath on the wrong side of the park.  He had been bought in to operate on the left because of his wand like left foot so to stick him out right was not the best thing to do.  Once he had swapped him back to his best side we showed a bit of improvement.

Some of our passing was still awful though.

We were punished again in the thirty eighth minute and again the mistake was of our own making.  Mateo Corbo played the ball out to Craig Davies who took the ball on towards goal but found himself challenged by Tom Bennett on the edge of the area.

Tom got the ball off him but then inexplicably failed to do anything with it.  Tommy Mooney wasted no time in coming in from behind to rob him of the ball and then played it to the side for Davies to run onto.  He in turn didn't waste time messing about, he just put it past Danby for the second goal.

Davies could have had another two minutes later when Hackett played him through, but this time Danby did well to push to the ball round the post.

HT. 0 - 2

The second half started after the usual half time dressing room debate and another bit of tweaking in midfield.  We had now reverted to four men in the middle and making more use of Russell and McGrath out wide.

Whereas in the first half it was Oxford taking the game to us in this half it was us doing all the running.  The dangerous Tommy Mooney was looking a shadow of the menace that he was in the first half and now the menace was coming from Gary Birch and Blair Sturrock.

It was a Birch header that gave the first sign to the disappointed Harriers fans that we were back in business and then a long range effort from Bennett just failed to gain enough momentum to trouble the keeper.  Sturrock had the same kind of reward for his long range shot too.

On sixty six minutes we pulled one back, ironically, with an own goal from an Oxford defender.  A free kick on the right was swung in by Billy Jones then headed on by Gary Birch.  A bit of a melee ensued in the box and suddenly the ball was over the line.  Most Harriers fans where I was stood couldn't see who had scored but it was later confirmed as an own goal by Jon Ashton.

We continued to have most of the possession and most of the chances on goal were going to us.  Jonny Mullins should have scored his first goal for us when Gary Birch sent a header his way but he failed to get a good connection on it and the ball slithered away for a goal kick.  Saying that, Mullins is not a striker unlike Birch who should have put the ball away himself.

Blair Sturrock was subbed soon after, his dad Paul was in the stand because Sheffield Wednesday played last night, and he was replaced by the livewire Chris Beardsley.  Straight away Beardsley was in action and up to his usual tricks of winding up the opposition.

He was joined soon after by Ian Foster in place of Tom Bennett and we then really started to turn the screw.  Birch saw his shot hit the post but with the Harriers throwing men forward we could find ourselves vulnerable to a quick break and that's just what happened with the seconds ticking away.

Steve Basham, who had come on a few minutes earlier for Craig Davies, pounced onto a hopeful clearance upfield, skipped past Mullins and tried to shoot past Danby.  John stuck his leg out to deflect the ball but it just rolled far enough for Basham to round him and slot the ball home to strike a cruel blow to Harriers hopes of avoiding relegation.

That relegation is looking more and more certain now.  Rushden won at home to the Orient with two late goals and that result, along with ours, leaves us six points adrift of Shrewsbury who have a game in hand over us.

Next weeks game at an improving Cambridge could be the first audible sound of the the death knell for our stay in the Football League.

FT. 1 - 3

The Harriers-Online
Man of the Match is : 
John McGrath

A good first full game for the new boy.  If he had started in his correct position we may not have found ourselves down to a sucker punch so early.
Man of the Match
vote for your
man of the match now

Harriers  subs   cards      Oxford Utd  subs   cards 
Danby     Tardif  
Jones     Mackay  
Mullins     Corbo
Bennett     Roget  
Hatswell     Ashton  
Weaver   Bradbury  
Russell     Hackett  
Keates     Mooney  
Birch     Davies
Sturrock     Quinn  
McGrath     Robinson  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Lewis     Cox  
Foster     Brooks  
Sall     Basham  
Gleeson     Cominelli  
Beardsley     Molyneaux  

Mr S Mathieson

links to some
oxford websites:

official site
this is united
minchery farm web
click below
to see previous

If you came here from an external link
then please click below to go to
Site © 1999- - all rights reserved  
This site is 100% unofficial and in no way represents the views of Kidderminster Harriers FC