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Southport 0 Harriers 1

Date: 30-12-06 Venue: Haig Avenue att: 1016 away fans: 200+
Lukey Boy gets Southport winner
With the rain gushing down from off the Mersey the travelling Harriers fans were lucky to see this game actually take place.    The gates to Haig Avenue were still locked with forty five minutes to kick off and it was a fair bet that some Harriers fans were starting to think that it could be a wasted journey.

They needn't have worried though, the game did take place, and we won it too with a well taken strike from substitute Luke Reynolds just minutes after he came on for James Constable.    We had earlier seen a missed penalty from Southports' Maamria and what could have been an equalising goal dis-allowed just seconds after our goal.

This game was also memorable because it was, possibly, the last game for Iyseden Christie.    He will not be available for the game against Cambridge on New Years Day but will be returning to Rochdale for discussions about his future at Spotland.    It's obvious that he loves playing for the Harriers and we love having him here but it needs some quick decisions from both clubs as to what will happen before another, as yet unknown, club steps in to sign him.

There was no change from the starting line-up at Stafford with also the same old faces on the bench.    It was good to have an un-changed side yet again.

It was the Harriers who started the more strongly with Michael Blackwood raiding up and down the flanks more than he has in recent games.    He put in a decent cross for Russell Penn in the very first minute of the game but it was cleared for a corner before Penn could get to it.

Nine minutes later James Constable got in on the action when his header went just wide of Francois Dubourdeau's upright but after that Southport started to make the best of the poor conditions under foot and gradually got on top.    Thankfully for us Scott Bevan was in great form again and managed to keep out all of the home sides efforts.

Just before the half hour came the first moment of controversy when Constable was booked for a fifty fifty challenge on the keeper.    He slid in for a ball that was some way away from Dubourdeau but his momentum carried him on.    The, yet again, poor referee could not see that the condition of the pitch had played a major factor in the incident and booked the un-fortunate on loan striker.    His second in two games.

Shortly after Dubourdeau had to leave the game after failing to recover from the challenge and was replaced by Paul Harrison.

The card tally was equalled out five minutes later when Dino Maamria was booked for diving after an innocuous challenge.

This gave the Harriers renewed impetus as we rained! forward in search of a goal before half time.    Blackwood and Gavin Hurren both went close and in stoppage time Maamria again threatened to score but Bevan again saved well from the Rushden bound striker.
HT: 0 - 0
The rain had stopped by the time the second half started and it was Southport that were to get the first chance to open the scoring when they were awarded what seemed a dubious penalty.    Sean Doherty had curled in the ball from the left wing towards Maamria and Carl Baker in the penalty box but the referee decided that Maamria had been fouled by Mark Creighton.    Maamria himself stepped up to place the kick to Bevans right but the lack of power made it easy for the Harriers keeper to push it away for a corner.

The ensueing corner was cleared up-field for Simon Russell to take on, then half volley it at the Southport goal.    Harrison managed to get a hand to it though and pushed that away for a corner to us.

The game was now looking like a stalemate and the Southport manager, Paul Cook, threw on some subs in an effort to change things in favour of the home side.    Mark Yates responded with his own substitution and took off Constable in favour of Luke Reynolds.

Minutes after Luke coming on the out of luck striker scored his third goal of the season.    The ball had been floated into the area and, as he ran onto it, Blackwood was sent tumbling to the ground for what seemed a cast iron penalty but the referee waved play on as the ball fell to Reynolds to convert it from close range.

Southport upped the ante immediately and went all out for goal.    Amazingly they got the ball in the net straight away but Paul Taits header was ruled out for off-side, much to the relief of two hundred Harrier hearts.

The game ended soon after with three more points in the bag for the Harriers to mark a great Christmas so far for us.    This run should continue on Monday against a struggling Cambridge Utd, although their away form is better than their home form.

Pity it'll have to be achieved without Iyseden Christie though.
FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Reynolds 84

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Latest table and stats here  

Southport  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Dubourdeau     Bevan  
Lane     Kenna  
Hoolickin     Harkness  
Powell     Hurren  
Lee     Creighton  
Kirkup     Whitehead  
Baker     Russell  
Rowland     Penn  
Doherty     Christie  
Maamria gif   Constable gif
Donnelly     Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Harrison     S Taylor  
Boyd     White  
Olsen     Reynolds gif
Tait     Davies  
Gray     Smikle  

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