Harriers 1 Forest Green 1
away fans: 150
Was it the turkey or was it the pud?
The result of this poor game was a good example of the after effects of Christmas and makes one wonder why we even bother to play a game on a Boxing Day anyway when, as in this year, Saturday is the following day anyway.
From start to finish the game was played out at a pedestrian pace, littered with mis-placed passes and half hearted tackles. Both sides seemed to have one eye on their forthcoming FA Cup games and neither really wanted to be there.
A first half of very little action saw the Harriers, missing both Russ Penn and Mark Creighton because of yellow and red cards, hardly test the FGR keeper at all even though he had the sun in his eyes continually. We rarely got in the box for a high ball and when we did there was very little challenge for the ball.
The closest we came to scoring was when Lee Baker somehow got down low to send a diving header crashing against the foot of the post. The visitors had done very little either and only garnered a couple of chances on goal even though their corner tally was twice as much as ours.
They took the lead against the run of play when a Lee Fowler corner was sent over the head of Adam Bartlett who could then only manage to reach back and flip the ball into his own net. Amazingly within a minute we had drawn back level again.
Martin Brittain took a corner that landed in the middle of the FGR penalty area but wasn't cleared properly by the visiting defence. It fell to Martin Riley who then smashed the ball home for his first Harriers goal.
HT: 1 - 1
The second half was totally forgettable with very little to excite either set of supporters. Bartlett now had the sun in his eyes and just like the opposition keeper hadn't bought a cap out with him to shield his eyes.
Forest Green were passing the ball around nicely without any end result but we were woeful and had seemed to forgotten how to pass a ball to a fellow team mate. Nothing but hoofing it up to the lethargic forward line was the policy and the worst of the offenders was Lee Baker. At one stage he managed to hoof the ball into the stand twice in a minute even though he had no pressure on him.
It wasn't until the eighty third minute that a ray of hope appeared with a flurry of too late substitutions. David McDermott was the first to appear in place of Brian Smikle and then a few minutes later Stefan Moore came on for Martin Brittain - who had been booked a few minutes earlier for a nothing tackle that left the cheating Curtis MacDonald writhing in agony on the touchline but miraculously recovered once he had gotten our man booked.
McDermott showed his intention with a fine strike on goal that was only just tipped over the bar by the improving Burton. We seemed to take encouragement from that and started to plough men forward but the FGR defence stood strong and kept us out. Even the, again too late, introduction of Darryl Knights for Baker didn't work and we were left with a very disappointing end to our Boxing Day fare.
We didn't lose the game but the alarm bells must be ringing in Mark Yates' head by now that this team have lost the ability to pass the ball or to see a scoring chance. We have not seen a decent display from the team since the Curzon game and that was made to look better than it was because of the poor opposition. With another game at Torquay tomorrow will only a thrashing at the hands of one of the form sides wake us up?