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Kettering Town 1 Harriers 0

Date: 18-10-08 Venue: The A-Line Arena att: 2010 away fans: 276
Slip sliding down
It's starting to look as if the run of good form that took us into second place in the League is all but done.  In the last four games against Barrow, Northwich, Ebbsfleet and now Kettering we have struggled to regain any semblance of the form that gave us the previous four game un-beaten run and only a lucky substitution against Ebbsfleet enabled us to win that one.

Today we saw possibly our worst performance of the season and it was across the whole team.  Even Adam Bartlett, normally so secure, fumbled the corner that led to their winning goal after we had held out for the draw for so long.

With the fans in good voice chanting a very long 'Yates Barmy Army' it was believed that the team would raise their game but not once did they take any notice and not once did they get out of third, let alone second, gear.  Kettering were deserved winners and they didn't look that good either.  Definitely not promotion quality.

For this game we started with Stefan Moore for the first time, in place of the injured Justin Richards, but as with Darryl Knights leading the line against Ebbsfleet it was never going to work and we looked feeble and in-effective up front.  Moore, as with Knights, is a creative player who would rather be supplying the ammunition to someone stronger and then picking up any scraps along the way for his own goal tally.

We can only hope that Richards isn't too far from coming back or it will mean getting a big man in on loan to help stop us falling further down the table.

In midfield and at the back we struggled too with no real supply along the ground just balls over the top to be dealt with easily by the towering Exodus Geohaghan and his partner Guy Branston.  Martin Brittain, again, was seeing very little of the ball and when he did manage to get hold of it he was immediately surrounded by Kettering defenders alert to the danger of the Geordie wideman.

The annoying thing is we started the game looking positive with Russ Penn in the thick of it early on spraying the passes around and also looking for chances for himself.  He set Moore up with a good chance but Moore sent it over the bar and a few minutes later he made room for himself but shot wide.

The Poppies responded with the impressive Andre Boucaud curling in a shot that Bartlett did well to push back out but only into the path of former Harrier Chris Beardsley.  Barts managed to get back across the goal to block Beardo's effort.

Most of the danger for the Harriers was coming from the long throw-ins of Geohaghan.  Fast as a bullet and into the heart of the area everytime they took some dealing with but thankfully we had Mark Creighton to deal with most of those.

Creighton had a chance to score soon after when he rose high to a Martin Brittain cross but Creights isn't known for directing his headers and this one went back in the direction it came from - the corner flag.  That was our last chance for a while and the home side took over full control of the game after that.
HT: 0 - 0
After that kind of first half performance you naturally expect some thing better in the second half but we didn't get it and the game continued to be a poor advertisement for promotion contention from the Blue Square into the Football League.

The tiny Alfie Potter had a chance to give the hosts an early lead but his shot went wide and over.  Put Potter, Brittain and David McDermott together and you could have the ideal three-some for a re-make of Lords Of The Rings.

Kettering threatened again and this time it was through another former Harrier, Iyseden Christie.  Christie had won Kettering a free kick on the edge of the area but Craig Westcarrs free kick was easily dealt with by Bartlett.  In the 55th minute Little Alf had the ball in the net but Christie had been ruled offside and the goal didn't stand.

The game de-generated into a midfield miasma with no thought or direction and the only saving grace was the ability of our defenders and the in-ability of the Kettering forwards in shooting straight or low.  The fans had been warned to watch out for kids throwing rocks over the fence but I think I would have been worried to be one of those kids having balls rained down on them every few minutes.

With the game going no-where apart from a nil-nil draw it was time to bring on the reserves.  Town replaced Beardsley with Gareth Seddon and we did likewise by taking off Stefan Moore for Andy Ferrell.  Seddon was the better of the changes and seemed to work better with Christie than Beardsley.  We went into our shell.

Both sides had half-hearted attempts on goal but it wasn't until Kettering bought on Jean-Paul Marna in place of Westcarr that anything looked like happening.

It was his corner, given away by Creighton, that was swung over for Seddon to flick a header goalwards.  Barts managed to flip it over his head but not far enough and John Dempster came in from nowhere to head the ball home for the deciding goal of the game.

Too late we were spurred into action and we started to throw players forward in search of an equalising goal but that would also leave us exposed at the back.

We had a lone chance for Luke Jones but his shot went well over but the two biggest misses fell for Christie when he shot well over and again seconds later when he shot wide after being free on goal.  The Harriers fans barracked him but the grin on his face showed that it was having no effect and they had won the game.

With these 'six points' Kettering go to the top of the table after Crawley lost at Histon.  We slip down to seventh and unless this poor form is halted soon we'll be slipping even further down.
FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Kettering: Dempster 83

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Kettering Town  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Harper     Bartlett  
Geohaghan     Lowe  
Jaszczun gif   Baker gif
Wrack     Mackenzie  
Branston     Creighton  
Dempster     Jones  
Potter     Moore  
Boucaud     Brittain  
Beardsley     Barnes-Homer  
Westcarr     Penn  
Christie     Smikle  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Eaden     Coleman  
Solkhon     Bennett  
Marna     Knights  
Lee     McDermott  
Seddon     Ferrell  

Mr R Whitton

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