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Exeter City 1 Harriers 0

Date: 22-03-08 Venue: St James Park att: 3812 away fans: 80
Harriers fail on the road again
The Harriers bad run continued with this narrow defeat at promotion hopefuls Exeter City.  City won by the only goal of the game but the Harriers never really looked like scoring themselves until the final minute of the game when they could have grabbed an equaliser twice over.

They failed to take their chances during a first half that they held the upperhand but in the second half, with the wind against them, they struggled to make any headway against a resilient Exeter defence.

We made one change to the side that lost at Stevenage last week with Andy Ferrell coming back into the side from injury and Darryl Knights dropping to the bench.  Mark Yates failed to replace Luke Jones with a new signing after the talented defender was re-called to Shrewsbury just before the Stevenage game so Gavin Hurren retained his place in the side.

In freezing cold conditions with deep black snow threatening clouds above it was the Harriers who were to start the stronger.  In the first minute a free kick from Jeff Kenna hit Iyseden Christie and bounced out of play and then Dean Bennett had a chance to open the scoring but his shot hit a City player and went out for a corner.

City retaliated with chances of their own when Adam Stansfield raced to reach a loose ball but luckily for the Harriers Chris MacKenzie got there first but the ball still went out for a corner that ended with a shot over the bar from 20yds out.

We came back on the attack straight after with a shot from Matt Barnes-Homer that was blocked on the line but slowly the home side started to take control.  This time they went the closest to scoring so far when Stansfield hit the post after hesitation from Mark Creighton and Gavin Hurren let him through.

They almost had another chance gifted them when Alex Jeannin almost put the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear the ball from a deep cross.

We weren't out if it though and we came very close to opening the scoring when Christie played in Russ Penn with a fine cross that Penn headed just wide.  Christie could have scored himself just moments later when a cross from Ferrell came over with the City keeper, Marriot, rushing out of his area but the Harriers hitman could only send the ball over both him and the crossbar.

Christie followed that up with another chance that should have been converted when MBH played the ball in to him and again the resultant shot went wide.

With the time on the clock running down we had a breakaway following a City corner.  The ball broke for Russ Penn who headed straight for goal but found himself on the end of a crunching tackle from Rob Edwards.  The City tough man, remembered by Harriers fans for getting Reuben Reid sent off last season, somehow escaped a red card even though he was the last man.  A yellow card was deemed enough punishment.
HT: 0 - 0
Now with the wind in their favour City took the game to the Harriers and where we were the stronger side in the first half now we were on the back foot for most of this half.  Wayne Carlisle started the half off by heading a chance against the bar a minute after the re-start.  Ten minutes later he headed the ball over the bar when it was easier to score.

It wasn't long before Exeter got the only goal of the game.  Dean Moxey sent a cross over that Jeannin failed to deal with and Matthew Gill took his chance to sweep the ball past him and volley home without giving MacKenzie a chance to stop it.

Now with us a goal down it was time for heads to drop.  City took over and should have scored a second goal when Richard Logan sent a volley over that stung the hands of the Harriers keeper.

In an effort to rescue the game Yates took off Barnes-Homer and bought on Darryl Knights in his place.  A few minutes later another change was made with Brian Smikle coming on for Andy Ferrell.  It still didn't change our game though.

Exeter seemed happy to sit on their narrow lead and apart from the sporadic attack were prepared to run the game down.  The Harriers had different ideas and when Michael McGrath replaced Russ Penn we saw that there was still a chance to at least get a point.

Simon Russell was the first to try and claw the game back when he raced into the area and forced Marriott to save his shot twice.  Darryl Knights had a shot blocked on the line and then we should really have scored when, first, Jeannin sent over a high cross that Creighton played on for Christie to shoot hard.  Marriott did well to push it out for a corner.

From the resultant corner to the far post Knights headed over with an open goal at his mercy.

In the end it was another defeat on the road for us and now we have the chance to avenge that Setanta Shield defeat of a month ago at the hands Rushden.  It's an Easter Monday game next up at Aggborough and one that we need to win to put a smile on Bazzas face.
FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Exeter: Gill 58

Latest table and stats here  

Exeter City  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Marriott     MacKenzie  
Tully     Kenna  
M Taylor     Jeannin  
Gill     Hurren  
Seaborne     Creighton  
Edwards gif   Ferrell  
A Taylor     Russell  
Logan     Barnes-Homer  
Stansfield     Christie  
Carlisle     Penn  
Moxey     Bennett  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Jones     Coleman  
Cozic     Smikle  
Friend     Knights  
Basham     McGrath  
Harley     Bignot  

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