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Exeter City 0 Harriers 1    FA Trophy 2nd Rd

Date: 13-12-07 Venue: St James Park att: 2418 away fans: 160
Christie strike makes Devon rock
Iyseden Christie dumped Exeter City out of the FA Trophy today with a fine goal midway through this game at a wind swept St James Park.    The solitary goal was enough to see off a lack lustre City side with one eye on the play-offs.

With both Michael Blackwood and Gavin Hurren missing from the side that have now chalked up seven wins in eight games it meant starting places for Brian Smikle and Jake Sedgemore.    Also on the bench was our latest addition to the side - Daniel McGhee, a free agent who has previously played for Hednesford Town.

This was also the fourth game in a row that the team have kept a clean sheet but at times in the second half of the game it looked likely that wouldn't have been the case today.    It was only thanks to Scott Bevan performing more heroics that kept City out.

City had a strong side out with only Matthew Gill missing with a one match ban and their two new cup-tied signings, Steve Tully and Lee Elam, watching from the sidelines.    Adam Stansfield and Lee Phillips were both on the bench after coming back from a viral infection but were to make second half appearances.

The game almost started with City going in front from the kick off.    Jeff Kenna hesitated over a simple clearance and let in James Mackie with an easy chance to score but thankfully Bevan was on his toes and rushed out to block the strikers chance.

The Harriers responsed immediately with the ball quickly cleared up field for James Constable to strike a venomous shot towards the City goal but their keeper, Paul Jones, tipped the ball onto the crossbar for a fruitless corner.

The Harriers were making the most of the wind blowing in our favour during the first half and peppered the City goal throughout but in a rare breakaway it was the home side that should have taken the lead in the sixteenth minute.    Lucky for us a former full back of ours was up to his usual penalty taking form and wasted the chance.

Dean Moxey broke past Kenna but what should have been a routine task for Brian Smikle in clearing the ball away from danger backfired as Mackie stumbled over his outstretched leg.    Even though Smikes had cleared the ball away fairly the local, Somerset??? Why???, referee pointed to the spot.    Up stepped Billy Jones and sent it well wide of the post.

The game went quiet for fifteen minutes before the next piece of goalmouth action.    The ball was played over the Harriers defence, again City exposing Kennas lack of pace, and again Mackie squandered a great chance for his side when he blazed the ball way over the bar and almost over the old fishing nets propped up behind the away end.

From the resulting goal kick Christie grabbed the only goal of the game.

Scott Bevan cleared the ball down towards the City goal and, with the wind in our favour and Christie beating the offside trap, it was a simple task for the on form striker to lift the ball over the head of the exposed keeper.       The eleventh goal of the season for the former Rochdale man.

Once City got over the shock of going down they responded with another wasted chance.    This time Wayne Carlisle beat our more effective offside trap and fed the ball through to Moxey but his shot from the edge of the area hit the side netting.

Simon Russell then had a good chance from the edge of the area himself but his shot was weak and easily collected by the keeper.    A minute before the half time whistle we should have increased our lead further when Danny Woodards cleared the ball off the line following a James Constable header.

All of the Harriers fans were convinced that the ball was over the line but we were at the other end of the ground so our calls weren't all that convincing.
HT: 0 - 1
The second half was not so clearcut in terms of goalmouth action with the Harriers on the back foot for most of the forty nine minutes.    We did get our chances to wrap the game up but a host of glaring misses stoped us from increasing our slender lead.

Constable, clearly under performing, hit the crossbar again after a superb through ball from Christie, I thought it was just hard luck but some Harriers fans thought it was a shocking miss from close range.    James compounded his afternoon soon after when he totally missed an open goal after he saw the ball coming towards him too late.

The City manager, Paul Tisdale, saw that things weren't going their way early on in the half and made a double substitution with Paul Buckle and James Mackie being the ones to make way for Adam Stansfield and Lee Phillips.    The swap almost paid dividends straight away when a lobbed ball over the defence was hooked over by Stansfield from a few yards out.

City kept trying to break us down, and Bevan, but we held firm and kept them out but it wasn't without it's heart stopping moments.    Former Harrier, Bertie Cozic, should have done better when faced with a one on one with Bevan two minutes from the end but then sent the ball over the bar.

For reasons known only to himself the fourth official then added four minutes of extra time on for just one injury and two subs, even though the changes were both made at the same time.    We hung on though and a great cheer from the Harriers fans went up as the whistle finally blew.

With the news coming through that both Worcester City and Redditch Utd had won their Trophy games the fans started thinking that a Worcestershire derby could be in store for us when the draw is made for the next round on Monday morning.

Whoever we get drawn against should hold no fear for us now that we have won what was the toughest game of the round.
FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Christie 31

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Iyseden Christie
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Exeter City  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
P Jones     Bevan  
Woodards     Kenna  
W Jones gif   Harkness  
Todd     Sedgemore  
Edwards     Creighton gif
Mackie     Whitehead  
Challinor     Russell  
Cozic     Penn  
Buckle     Christie  
Moxey     Constable  
Carlisle     Smikle  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Rice     S Taylor  
Stansfield     White  
Ada     McGhee  
Philips     Reynold  
A Taylor     McGrath  

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