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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 15 Aug 09 at 18:03 PM

FULL TIME: Ebbsfleet 0-0 Harriers

HARRIERS found Ebbsfleet's England C International goalkeeper Lance Cronin in inspired form on Saturday as his Man of the Match performance shut out the visitors in a 0-0 draw.


Mark Yates' men were time and time again denied by the talented stopper in a game they dominated for large spells.


From the off they showed their intent and after Magno Vieira headed an effort wide for the hosts, the 'Fleet defence was called into action; Brian Smikle's effort looped to the feet of Darryl


Knight's whose fine shot was met with a block on the line.


A superb team move from Harriers on 11 minutes split Ebbsfleet open - Smikle released Knights out-wide who in turn played in Chris McPhee who'd made the overlapping run. Galloping into the area, McPhee's first-time grounded cross found Smikle who'd bust a gut to keep up with play and the winger saw his shot blocked bravely by Cronin.


A similar move nine minutes later saw Duane Courtney and Matthew Barnes-Homer combine to set-up Junior once more; his got his shot away but more brave blocking from Cronin kept the ball out.


James Linde struck a decent 25th minute effort just over Dean Coleman's goal, but just eight minutes before the break Barnes-Homer must have thought for all the money in the world he'd opening the scoring - played into the area, his great volley was blocked by the goalkeeper before the front-man picked up the ball and struck it hard and low, Cronin staying equal to it and getting down into the corner to pull off an excellent one-handed save.


11 minutes into the second half Lee Baker tried his luck on Cronin's goal but his low drive was some way off target, McPhee two minutes later firing over.


The mid part of the second period saw the contest calm down a little with only efforts from Vieira coming before the 75 minute mark.


At that point Smikle played his last part in the game by heading wide Barnes-Homer's cross at the near post - he was then replaced by Kyle Hadley as Harriers looked to further stretch the game.


Barnes-Homer was a handful for the Fleet defence all afternoon long and 13 minutes from the end he sent an effort across the face of Cronin's goal. If the 'keeper thought he was done for the day at that stage he was wrong - the striker cut inside with ten minutes to go and forced a fingertip save as his lobbed effort needed turning over the bar.


The home side capped a late spell of pressure with Scott Shulton's off-target effort, Dean Coleman then coming to the rescue of his defence after Gavin Caines misjudged a back-header.


Just as he was handed the home side's Man of the Match award, Cronin saved his best 'til last as Harriers went agonisingly close in injury time. Courtney did brilliantly to pull back a great ball from the by-line to McPhee who side-footed it superbly towards goal - he must have been wheeling away in celebration when his former team-mate Cronin had the last laugh by getting down to somehow keep it out.


Barnes-Homer's follow-up was then deflected wide as Harriers were left with just a point by the sound of the referee's final whistle.


If Mark Yates wanted more purposeful and dangerous performance following Salisbury on Tuesday night, there's no doubt he got it. The signs are good but Harriers will be wary that they've scored just once in three games so far this term. On today's showing, the goals will surely come.

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