att:  4288  away fans:  1600
Extra info
  Sturrock 82
A feeble Harriers remain rooted to the bottom after this terrible thrashing against City.
If we don't pick up a point this Christmas then I can't see any way out of this mess.
  Connor 1
  Iriekpen 9
  Robinson 89(pen), 90
  Goodfellow 90
  harriers-online match report
Sunday 26th December 2004 
Rampant Swansea destroy feeble Harriers

This was make or break time at the Harriers and we would have had to get at least four points from our Christmas games to have any hope of avoiding the dreaded drop back into the Conference.  We all knew that this was going to be the hardest game of our four holiday games but we didn't think that our new team would crumble so easily in the final minutes of this exiting Boxing Day special.

Following a disastrous opening five minutes we managed to get ourselves back into the game but our woeful shooting let us down yet again.

It seems that no matter who is in charge or who our strikeforce is we, basically, cannot score goals to save our life.

With Wayne Hatswell, Simon Weaver and Dean Keates missing through suspension we were forced to start with a slightly different looking side than in previous outings.  Jamie Gleeson made his first start since joining us from Southampton in the Summer and there were recalls to the side for Abdou Sall and Chris McHale even though the latest signings, Burns, Sturrock and Beardsley were on the bench.  Ryan Clarke continued in goal with John Danby sat on the bench as he makes his way back from injury.

Within seconds of the start we were wishing that Danby had started the game because Ryan made two classic howlers to gift Swansea an opening brace of goals.

With only thirty seconds gone the game was more or less over when Lee Trundle was bought down near the touchline.  From the Adrian Forbes free kick the ball was headed in by Paul Connor past a static Ryan Clarke to send the impressive travelling Swans fans into raptures and us struck dumb.

After just eight minutes Swansea made it two.  Another stupid freekick, this time from Martinez, and with a swarm of City players rushing in Clarke seemed to drop the ball onto Abdou Sall.  The ball rolled past the disparate keeper and into the net with Iriekpen claiming that he had got a touch on it.

After that the game settled down for the remainder of the half with Swansea seeming content to sit on their lead and the Harriers unable to break down a resolute defence.

The game was also seeing a bit of needle creeping into it after some bad refereeing decisions went against us and Tom Bennett continuing a vendetta against Swansea when he used to play for Boston.  He was lucky to stay on the pitch when he scythed Ijah Anderson down on the touchline with every intention of breaking his leg.  To everyone's surprise he just got a yellow card.

A couple of minutes later and someone did walk and it wasn't Bennett.

City's Andy Gurney was robbed of the ball on the halfway line and, with Ian Foster going on a run with it, Gurney took a kick at Simon Russell.  The ref stopped our advantage and then again surprised the crowd by immediately brandishing a red card at Gurney.

The card was totally justified but it makes you wonder how Bennett got away with a similar offence.

With the Harriers now having a one man advantage you would expect them to pull out all stops to get back into the game.  Not us lot, the midfield seemed at sixes and sevens and didn't play as a unit at all and our strikers failed to muster a single shot on goal throughout the remainder of the first half.

HT. 0 - 2

As expected in this half Swansea kept their defence tight with just the occasional foray forwards.  We continued to have the most possession without ever doing anything with it or with our advantage in numbers.  In fact it was City that almost increased their lead but were only stopped from doing so by Trundles reputation.

A City break saw Paul Connor play Trundle in quickly and with just McHale to beat he was seemingly bundled over in the area but the referee, Mark Cowburn, decided that he had dived.  There was a hint of theatrics and we were lucky to get away with it.

Trundle was substituted soon after, after he had a moody and lost interest in the game.

We had our best chance of the half just after but, from Beswethericks cross, Gary Birch shot well wide with an open goal to aim at.  At least the Swansea fans thought it was funny because we didn't, that wasn't what Birch was bought in to do.

With eight minutes left to go and we at last managed to score.  New signing Blair Sturrock had been bought on in place of Ian Foster and, following a cross from Bessie, scored on his debut for us.  His perfect header at the far post gave the Swans keeper no chance.

We should have drawn level just a minute later when we were awarded a freekick on the edge of the area.  With a gaping hole to the left side of the wall Tom Bennett decided to blast the ball straight at the wall instead of trying to bend it round.  The ball was cleared to safety.

With time running out a flurry of substitutions were made.  Burns and Beardsley came on for us and Nugent came on to join Robinson who had come on earlier to replace Trundle.

With Liam Burns first touch of the ball he gave away a stupid penalty.

The dangerous Mark Goodfellow took the ball into the area and Burns came at him too late in the tackle and sent him flying.  Robinson made no mistake sending Clarke the wrong way.

After that the floodgates opened and we crumbled to yet another massive defeat.

First, again, Goodfellow was allowed the freedom to run at the defence and fire in a shot from twelve yards out that gave Clarke no chance.  Robinson rounded off the rout seconds later with his second and Swanseas fifth with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.

A sorry end to a game that I thought we were lucky to score at all.  We don't seem to have any goals in us at the moment and I dread to think what the scores will be at Oxford and Leyton Orient later on this week.

FT. 1 - 5

The Harriers-Online
Man of the Match is : 
Simon Russell

Yet again he seems to be on a different wavelength than the rest of the team.  I couldn't believe that he was taken off to be replaced by the headless chicken, Beardsley.
Man of the Match
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Harriers  subs   cards      Swansea  subs   cards 
Clarke     Gueret  
Beswetherick     Gurney
Mullins     Austin  
Bennett   Iriekpen  
Sall     Tate  
McHale     Anderson  
Russell     Forbes  
Jenkins     Martinez  
Birch     Connor  
Gleeson     Trundle  
Foster     Goodfellow  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Danby     Murphy  
Burton     Nugent  
Beardsley     Maylett  
Sturrock     Robinson
Burns   Jones  

Mr M Cowburn

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