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  Lambert 40
A creditable draw away from home looks good until Cambridge go and beat Oxford in the dying seconds of their game to leapfrog Harriers at the foot of the table.
  Beardsley 18
  harriers-online match report
Saturday 26th February 2005  
The draw was not enough

The Harriers went back to the bottom of the League after this result at Rochdale today but it wasn't because they had lost.  It was because that jammy side Cambridge had beaten Oxford Utd with the very last kick of extra time in their game to go above us for the first in ages.

Working out the points needed to overhaul Rushden before last weeks game at Shrewsbury and it looked like one win would do it.  Now a week later both Diamonds and Utd have picked up a sackful of points and we have picked up just two.

That one game win has now expanded to three wins but we came so close to getting all three points from todays game ourselves with a performance that we must repeat in every game that we play from now until the very last game of the season at Northampton.

For this game at Spotland there was just the one change to the side that drew against Bristol Rovers in mid-week with Lee Jenkins slotting in at the back in place of Wayne Hatswell.  He moved into midfield in place of Simon Weaver who went onto the bench.  Both doubts from that game, Johnny Mullins with a hamstring injury and Mark Jackson with a re-arranged face, made it following late decisions from the Harriers Physio, Jimmy Conway.

Mark Rawle, our new signing from Oxford, was on the bench.

Following a scrappy start from both sides it was Dale that had the first 'goal' but thankfully for us it was dis-allowed.  A freekick following a foul on Wayne Evans by John McGrath was played in by Gallimore to the head of Grant Holt.  With his back to goal he flicked it over John Danby but the referee had spotted an infringement and struck the goal off.

A few minutes later and we had our first chance of a goal but Mullins header from Dean Keates corner went over the bar from six yards out.    Minutes later and it was in the back of the net.

Wayne Hatswell crossed the ball into the area and it was met by the head of Chris Beardsley for his fourth goal since he joined us and the third game in a row where we have taken the lead.

Fingers were being crossed by the Harriers faithful that we would be able to hold onto the lead for more than a couple of minutes.

Dale were looking like a very poor side considering that they have been on the edge of the play-offs for some time now and their cause wasn't helped when their star striker, Grant Holt, had to make his exit from the game following an ankle injury and was replaced by Bertos.

Ten minutes later and they had equalised following a slip in the penalty area by Tom Bennett, a player who is the latest target of the boo boys, to let in Gary Jones to strike a shot that Danby could only parry onto the head of Ricky Lambert to head the ball into an empty net.

Lambert had another chance of a goal just prior to half time but his shot from twenty yards out went just wide.

HT. 1 - 1

This second period was almost all a scrappy affair throughout with neither side able to grasp it by the scruff and give it a good shaking.  The first testing of either keeper came from the in form Blair Sturrock but his cut back was cleared by Scott Warner just in the nick of time.

If any team was going to win this game it was going to be us and the Dale fans could sense that and started to get onto their players backs for the lack of effort they were giving.  Warner was the only one wanting to die for their cause and he got himself booked following a lunging challenge on John McGrath and both players lying prone on the ground under treatment for their injuries.

From the free kick we could have regained our lead when one of the new boys, Mark Jackson, got onto the end of a corner from Keates but could only watch as the Dale keeper, Gilks, saved well.

Dale replied soon after with a chance of their own when Gary Jones put a ball through our defence to find a possibly offside Alan Goodall surging through to get at the ball only for John Danby to get there first and push the ball from his feet for a corner.

From that corner John came close to getting sent off when he got into a tangle with Greg Heald who went down clutching his face.  The referee warned John about his challenge but thankfully for us not even a yellow card was shown.

On seventy minutes Mark Rawle came on for his debut at the expense of the goal scorer Chris Beardsley and we then mounted an assault on the Dale goal in the hope of getting the winner.  That wasn't to come but we did get chances to seal the game from Blair, John McGrath and Mark Jackson.

With Rushden getting a draw against Mansfield and Cambridge drawing at home to Oxford it looked like the Status Quo at the foot of the table would stay after all three sides got a point each then came the terrible news that Shane Tudor had scored with the last kick of the game for Utd.  A goal that sends us back to the bottom of the table and things are looking even more dangerous for us.

It's the 'Old Firm' next week at Aggie and we have got to put the Robins to the sword to start that climb back up all over again.

FT. 1 - 1

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Rochdale  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Gilks     Danby  
Evans     Jenkins  
Heald     Mullins
Griffiths     Hatswell  
Gallimore     Jackson  
Warner   Bennett  
Gary Jones     Beardsley  
Cooksey     Cozic  
Holt     Sturrock  
Lambert   Keates  
Richardson     McGrath  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Bertos     Lewis  
Clarke     Rawle  
Tait     Russell  
Goodall     Billy Jones  
McGivern     Weaver  

Mr R Olivier
Sutton Coldfield

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