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Torquay Utd 1 Harriers 0

Date: 09-02-08 Venue: Plainmoor att: 3012 away fans: 164
Harriers goal drought continues
We slumped to another defeat down at Torquay's Plainmoor stadium today when a goal in first half injury time from Mark Ellis gave the Gulls all three points.  The win keeps them in second place but still six points behind leaders Aldershot who also won today at Farsley.

For us we have failed to win a game since we too beat Farsley three weeks ago and now with two less strikers in the pack it looks to be doubtful if we'll ever win a game again.

Mark Yates discarded the idea that our new players that looked quite promising against Northwich last week would be able to build on that game by relegating two of them, Darryl Knights and Matt Bailey, to the bench as we went with a 4-5-1 formation to try and stifle the Torquay attack.  In their place came Gavin Hurren and Brian Smikle somewhat ironically after 99% of the fans believed that they were the two main weak links in the side and should have gone to Oxford instead of Justin Richards and Michael Blackwood.

The game was never going to be a classic and so it turned out.  The first half was mainly devoid of any real attacking football and we failed to get a single shot on target throughout the first forty five minutes.

United weren't doing much better either.  A shot from Roscoe D'Sane was blocked by Mark Creighton, Kian Mohamed saw a shot go well wide of Chris MacKenzies goal and a header from Chris Hargreaves went over the bar in the 38th minute.

In the 40th minute Gavin Hurren picked up a yellow card after tripping up Mohamed as he made his way towards goal and then Jeff Kenna gave out the same treatment to Chris Zebroski as he chased a long ball but luckily for us Sir Jeff got away with it.

Our first real attempt at scoring came soon after when Dean Bennett sent a fierce effort flying across the face of the goal but there was no one near to get a touch on it.  Our second chance came straight after when Alex Jeannin slipped a pass through to Hurren just outside the box but he fired over the bar when he should really have done better.

With the teams looking certain to go into the break all square Torquay broke the Harriers fans hearts with a goal deep in stoppage time.  The professional actor, Tim Sills, took a dive in the penalty area in a transparent attempt to gain a penalty and in the confusion the ball went out for a corner.  From the corner D'Sane's shot was blocked by Smikle but fell at the feet of Mark Ellis who bundled it home from close range.
HT: 1 - 0
The Harriers came out for the second half looking more purposeful but without really testing Michael Poke, in goal for Torquay.  Dean Bennett forced a corner almost straight away after putting in a cross that was put out by Ellis.

Iyseden Christie was the next to try his luck after a Smikle and Russell interchange played in our only real striker at the club now.  Poke saved his shot with his legs after narrowing the gap between the Harriers striker and the goal.

We were then awarded a corner after Christie was fouled twenty five yards out.  Jeannin took the set piece but it went well over the bar.  Just after Simon Russell was taken off to be replaced by Matt Barnes-Homer and the team switched to 4-4-2.

The game then drifted into a midfield scrap with neither side able to produce anything special to open up the game once more.  With no improvement to the Harriers Mark Yates then bought on Darryl Knights in place of Smikle after he had picked up a knock earlier.

It took until well after the seventieth minute before the Gulls had another shot on goal when a very quiet Zebroski was played in by Sills but then shot straight at MacKenzie.  Kevin Nicholson also tried his luck but that effort was deflected out for a corner.

Following a Christie shot that went well over Matt Bailey was bought on in place of Hurren in the 80th minute.

We had chances to pull the goal back in the final stages of the game with Knights, Kenna and Jones but it's too little too late.  Utd kept us at at bay and seemed content with the result and let the game run it's natural course.

With the loan window now open again - confused? so am I - we can only hope that Yates sees fit to bring in a striker because we desperately need one to replace the three that we've lost.
FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Torquay: Ellis 45

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Torquay Utd  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Poke     MacKenzie  
Ellis     Kenna  
Nicholson     Jeannin  
Mohamed     Hurren gif
Hargreaves     Creighton  
Todd     Jones  
Mansell     Russell  
Sills     Ferrell gif
D'Sane     Christie  
Adams     Bennett gif
Zebroski     Smikle  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Rice     Coleman  
Woods     Knights  
Phillips     Bailey  
Hockley     Barnes-Homer  
Bedeau     Bignot  

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