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Harriers 1 Cambridge Utd 0


Date: 30-03-10gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1141gif away fans: 163
Harriers turn in a 5 star performance

gifReport by Harry Taylor
Kidderminster Harriers finally ended their seven game winless streak with a victory over in-form Cambridge United in the Blue Square Premier at Aggborough this evening.  This should hopefully end the air of discontent amongst some sections of the Harriers support following poor showings in almost all of those last seven games.

Robbie Matthews returned to the side as did Darryl Knights to replace Chris McPhee and Brian Smikle upfront, the latter pair dropped into midfield in their desired position at the expense of Marc Goodfellow and Lloyd Kerry who both were on the bench.

Harriers started the brightest out of the two sides with Knights, against one of his former clubs, nearly striking first with a good shot that was well saved by Simon Brown in the United goal.  Soon after Kidderminster went one better and had the ball into the net via their top scorer Brian Smikle.

Knights, who had been causing Cambridge no end of problems in the opening ten minutes, put a good through ball ahead of Smikle who raced onto it and went one on one with the goalkeeper slipping the ball past him to give the Harriers the lead and also the first goal for the team in 270 minutes of playing football.

'The U's', who had been in good form recently, largely disappointed at Aggborough and Kidderminster could've increased their lead soon after their seventeenth minute opener.  Firstly Smikle should've doubled his tally after a cross was put across the face of goal by Knights but the winger hit the ball at the keeper who made a good save to push the ball away.  Smikle then hit the rebound back in hoping to find the back of the net but the shot was too close to Brown who made a good diving save to keep the score at 1-0 to the Harriers.

Chances were also missed from Martin Riley who unluckily had a header go off target from a Knights corner and Matthews also had a chance which was hard to take but the burly front man hit the ball straight at the keeper.

Kidderminster Harriers took the deserved lead into half time with Cambridge surprisingly failing to threaten Ross Atkins in the Harriers goal at all.
  HT: 1 - 0
Cambridge responded after the break with a double substitution hoping to spark their game into life.  The ex-Harrier Simon Russell was brought on for Antonio Murray and Rory McAuley came on for Jai Reason.  Despite these changes Kidderminster broke away immediately from the kickoff and it was Knights once again causing the Cambridge backline severe problems with a ball aimed across goal.  Brian Saah hit the clearance, unluckily, off Knights and out of play for a goal kick.

Cambridge's next chance to get back into the game came via a Simon Russell cross and Scott Neilson hit a shot straight at Atkins who made a good save to keep his clean sheet.

Knights, himself, was unlucky not to score and had two chances after Riley had left the pitch to be replaced by Lloyd Kerry.  Harriers by now were controlling possession apart from breakaways by Cambridge who were relying on their counter attacks to try to break down Kidderminster.

Time and time again long-serving Harrier Dean Bennett got the ball on the left hand side and if his left foot had been better then Harriers may have had chances to increase their lead as he was continually gifted space by the Cambridge defence.  However good his ability to cut inside with the ball may have been any momentum that the Harriers attack might've had was lost and the ball had been played away.  Kerry was making a good impact after being gifted space by the opposition and had time to pass the ball more often, often sparking attacks.

The Harriers best chance of the second half came from the oft criticised target man Robbie Matthews.  On the eightieth minute he chested the ball down brilliantly but then proceeded to hit a left footed shot straight at the Cambridge keeper from about ten yards out.

The linesmen on the East Stand touchline was constantly giving offsides which were overly questionable.  One incredulous decision came against Matthews who allowed Smikle to take the ball past him and then cross for Darryl Knights to slide the ball home but the lino flagged for offside against Matthews even though he intentionally did not interfere with the build up to the goal and was nowhere near the ball when it went into the net.

Smikle again had another chance to increase his tally for the evening when he was put through on the right hand side but could only hit his shot well across the face of goal.  By this stage Cambridge had given up and the final whistle blew just after a corner from Knights to cheers from a Harriers crowd that was only just over 1100.  A figure that has decreased considerably since the 5-1 home thrashing against Stevenage in the trophy.

Next Saturday the Harriers face Altrincham away and, if they perform as well there as they did this evening, another three points should be on their way back to Aggborough in time for a big game on Easter Monday when promotion hopefuls Rushden & Diamonds come to town.
  FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Harriers: Smikle 18

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Harriers  subs   cards      Cambridge Utd  subs   cards 
Atkins     Brown  
Courtney   Roberts  
Prosser     Carden  
Byrne     Coulson  
Sharpe     Saah  
Riley gif     Partridge  
McPhee     Reason gif
Bennett     Neilson  
Matthews     Murray gif  
Knights   Crow  
Smikle     Phillips gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Singh     Palmer  
Lawrie     McAuley gif  
Kerry gif   Russell gif  
Goodfellow     Marriott  
McDermott     Willock gif  

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