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Harriers 2 Forest Green Rovers 4


Date: 01-01-15gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2182gif away fans: 206
Harriers second half come back isn't enough

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers Christmas home form continued today with this awful capitulation against Forest Green Rovers, the team we had soundly beaten away from home six days earlier.  It was while on the way home from Stroud that we had to listen in on Hereford and Worcester Radio's commentary from the City game being played out on a rapidly deteriorating Aggborough pitch that resulted in the game getting abandoned and us thinking that we're going to have to play on that soon and might not be liking it.  It turns out the premonition was right.

On a pitch that hadn't improved one iota, since Southport beat us last Sunday, the game kicked of with a couple of changes for Harriers and a host of them for Rovers.  Aman Verma came back from injury for Luke Maxwell while Callum Gittings also returned from injury and went to the bench in place of Reece Hales.  Rovers have had illness in the camp and could only name four subs with David Pipe, Sam Wedgbury and Danny Coles all missing while Lee Hughes sat on the bench.  In came Aaraan Racine, Clovis Kamdjo and Dale Bennett to the starting line-up.

On the heavy pitch we started the better and looked to have learnt from our incapability of playing the pitch last Sunday.  Marvin Johnson was finding smooth areas of turf that he didn't find previously while the front running duo of Craig Reid and Reece Styche looked to put pressure on the dodgy Forest Green keeper, Sam Russell.

It was Johnson who was the first to try his luck as early as the third minute when he forced Russell into a save and then Reid scuffed a chance to open the scoring with the goal at his mercy.  Verma was next and he should have added to the brace he scored at the New Lawn with a shot that the Rovers keeper saved well before Johnson again tried his luck with a shot that went over the bar.  Then it all went pear shaped.

Totally against the run of play Rovers broke away and defender Dale Bennett sent a great cross over for Jon Parkin to nod the ball home without a defender bothering him.  We tried to regain our composure but FGR had ramped up the play by then and we could no longer compete.  It was a small matter of time before they extended their lead not once, but twice.

Clovis Kamdjo grabbed their second when he fired the ball into the top of the net after Kurtis Guthrie played a header across to him.  Again unmarked and then less than two minutes later they trebled up with an opportunists goal from Guthrie himself when Jamie Grimes somehow mis kicked the ball back towards James Norwood to have a free shot on goal.  Danny Lewis was taken by surprise and spilled the ball for Guthrie to nip in and poke the ball into the unguarded net.

The damage had been done and the Harriers players turned to blaming each other for the situation and arguing between themselves.  Thankfully half time came without any further embarrassment.
  HT: 0 - 3
We started the second period with well meaning and hopefully get an early goal to reduce the arrears but that lasted just ten minutes.  Reid sent a header straight at the keeper while Styche continued to cause despair among the Harriers fans and hilarity from the fans of his previous club with chants of 'Elbows Stychee' as he nmissed another open goal.

Gary Whild decided to sacrifice Jack Byrne for the cause - he had just picked up another yellow card - and bought on Jamie Spencer for his debut but Forest Green, or Parkin, had other ideas and increased their lead to four.  Again a defensive slip let in Parkin to finish with ease in front of his own fans from outside the area.

Either Rovers decided enough was enough or the Harriers upped their game but somehow we dragged ourselves back into the game on seventy minutes.  Dale Bennett bought down Reid as he moved into the area and amazingly we had won our first penalty of the season.  Hearts were in mouths as Reid himself stepped up to take it but there was no need to worry, or panic, as he despatched the ball cleanly and quickly into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later and it was 4-2.  Marvin Johnson, now up for it, performed one of his trademark moves to beat not one, not two but three defenders to then drift along in front of the goal and then fire easily beyond the grasp of Russell.  Would it be the springboard that we needed to grab two further goals?

Sadly not but it wasn't through want of trying.  First Grimes tried his luck with a header that got blocked and then Whild tried a change with Jake Green coming on for Styche in an effort to get more crosses in from out wide.  A small group of Harriers fans behind the goal let themselves down by booing Styche off and had also booed Lee Hughes when he came out during the first half to warm up down the touchline.

Green tried hard and got the Rovers defenders worried with his pace but a complete comeback was never going to happen and the Harriers fell to their second home defeat in a week.  Luckily other results went our way and we stayed in seventh place in the table but we really need to get a win at Dartford next Sunday and hope that the pitch can be improved before we have to play on it again.
  FT: 2 - 4

 Goals for Harriers: Reid 70 (pen), Johnson 73
 Goals for FGR: Parkin 22, 59, Kamdjo 37, Guthrie 39

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gif Marvin Johnson

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Forest Green Rovers  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Russell  
Hodgkiss     Racine  
Nicholson     Frear  
Storer     Kamdjo gif  
Grimes     Oliver  
Tunnicliffe   Bennett  
Byrne gif   Norwood
Johnson gif     Sinclair  
Verma     Parkin gif gif  
Reid gif     Kelly  
Styche gif     Guthrie gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Green gif - 79     White  
Obeng     Hughes  
Gittings     Stokes gif - 85  
Spencer gif - 58     McGrory  

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