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Harriers 2 Torquay Utd 1


Date: 01-11-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2081gif away fans: 296
Harriers back to winning ways

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers returned back to the way they should be playing today when a super first half performance saw them go into the break leading 2-0 with a stunning Marvin Johnson goal within five minutes and then a free kick from former Gull Kevin Nicholson that somehow managed to dribble, wobble and bobble into the net without a Torquay defender intent on stopping it.  The keeper didn't bother either.

The second period was something of a revert to our normal game of only playing for forty five minutes and then trying to do our best to throw it all away at the end after more poor substitutions from the management team contrived to change the way the team had been set up for seventy five minutes and then change it all around into a meaningless mess.

There was a first start for our new loan player, Matt Robinson, in place of the under the weather Kyle Storer and a return to the side for Jack Byrne; from suspension, Nathan Blissett in place of the missing Michael Gash, Craig Reid in for the out on loan Reece Styche and the rare use of two widemen with both Marvin Johnson and Ahmed Obeng on the pitch at the same time.

On the bench was Reece Hales on his return from loan at Stourbridge and also Jake Green, Callum Gittings, Aman Verma and Jas Singh so we had reverted back to a spare keeper.

We hadn't played Torquay in eight years so it was good to see a healthy following of 296 from them compared to the 100 or so that came in September 2008.  They weren't quite so noisy as the African drummers and singers who were here for the half time entertainment though.

The game started off with the usual hoof it over the top routine but once Matt Robinson had got hold of the ball he did something quite un-thinkable.  He passed the ball, both cleanly and efficiently, to a team mate who then went on a run towards the opposing goal.  Marvin Johnson gave Torquay the first glimpse of the terror that awaited them.

It was from another Robinson pass that Magic Marvin went on a solo run down the side before cutting in to strike the ball viciously into the top corner of the net beyond the hopeless, in more ways than one, keeper Jordan Seabright.  Harriers had taken a deserved early lead and now needed to build on that.

We continued to probe whenever we could and against a poor Torquay side that wasn't too hard.  Craig Reid was probably the pick of the two strikers with his darting runs to pick up a pass while Nathan Blissett struggle, as ever, to control the ball enough to get a second bite at it.  It took a strange free kick for us to gain our second goal.

Blissett was challenged clumsily by the ancient looking Aaron Downes and then going down clumsily himself.  In the absence of our chief free kick, corner and bottle washer, Kyle Storer, up stepped the better equipped Kevin Nicholson to take it against his former employers.  Through a packed area the ball meandered in a general direction towards Seabright who proceeded to ignore the threat to his livelihood as he watched it roll over the line for Nico to punch the air in delight and dis-belief.

The Harriers could, and should, have increased that lead on numerous occasions during a one sided first period but failed to do so despite both Johnson and Ahmed Obeng having the freedom to do whatever they wished.  It was their crosses that were feeding Reid to tee up chances that he should have converted.  It should have been at least a third goal five minutes before the break when Obeng interchanged passes with him before he sent a shot only just wide of the goal after avoiding a couple of tackles from Gulls defenders.

Robinson also had a chance to leave his mark on the game after being cruelly booked for a nothing infringement earlier in the game.  He collected the ball in the middle of the park and then moved forward to send a strong shot in that went just the wrong side of the post.
  HT: 2 - 0
It must have been a bad first half for Torquay because at the start of the second half the manager, Chris Hargreaves (with shorter hair than I can ever remember him having) made two substitutions.  Duane Ofori-Acheampong replaced Ashley Yeomans and Kristian Pearce took the place of Dale Tonge.  It didn't make much of a difference because they were still poor value for their travelling fans.

We started this half more tentatively than we had the first and it took a while for the Reds to get into their stride.  Jared Hodgkiss headed wide of goal and then Johnson played over a ball for Blissett to get on the end of but for once Seabright did the obvious thing and collected the ball before Big Bliss could reach it.

We had a spell in the middle of the half that resulted in a host of chances that ended up as corners and half chances without anything really clear cut.  Johnson continued to beat his man easily to send in tantalising balls but no one could get on the end of them.

That all ended when the usual strange substitutions took place.  First Aman Verma came on for the creative Robinson and proceeded to wander around doing little then Jake Green came on in place of Obeng to lose us one of our wide threats.  Minutes later the other wide threat, Marvin Johnson, was withdrawn for Callum Gittings and we had lost all our creativity in the space of ten minutes.

Torquay could sense this and began to find more freedom to play the ball forward to Acheampong to run at our defenders.  It was from such an opening that they began to get back into the game when a corner was sent over by Luke Young for the former Hereford striker, Ryan Bowman, to nod it on to the better placed Aaron Downes to score from.  They should have had the equalising goal a minute into injury time when a Luke Young free kick was sent towards the top left corner of Danny Lewis' goal but somehow the Harriers 'Man In Green' flung himself across the goal, got a fingertip on it, and flipped it out for a corner.

We had hung on for the draw but we shouldn't really have needed to do so because we had so much possession at times but had been wasteful.  Matt Robinson gave us the creative skill that we have been missing since Lee Fowler and Danny Jackman had left, never to be replaced, and having two wide players gave us plenty more options to get the ball in to our two main strikers.  We even hoofed the ball far less.

It's just a shame that could have all been jeopardised by poor decisions from the management.
  FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Johnson 4, Nicholson 26
 Goal for Torquay: Downes 89

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Torquay Utd  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Seabright  
Hodgkiss     Tonge gif  
Nicholson gif     Cruise  
Robinson gif   Downes gif  
Grimes     MacDonald
Dunkley     Thompson  
Byrne     Richards  
Johnson gif gif     Young  
Blissett     Bowman  
Reid     Yeoman gif  
Obeng gif     Cameron gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Singh     Rice  
Green gif - 76     Pearce gif - 46  
Verma gif - 71     Harding  
Gittings gif - 83     Ajala gif - 63  
Hales     Ofori-Acheampong gif - 46  

Mr S Bennett
Stoke on Trent

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