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Match Report


Posted Sat 22 Aug 09 at 18:01 PM

FULL TIME: Grays 1-3 Harriers

Harriers ended their goal drought to record their first away win of the season on Saturday - a 3-1 victory at Grays Athletic.

Starting the day with a blow following the news that Robbie Matthews was out injured, Mark Yates' men started brightly at the New Recreation Ground and took charge of the game early on.

Within seven minutes of his debut John Finnigan was having an impact, he combined with Gavin Caines to set up Brian Smikle who headed over the bar for the first chance of the day.

Five minutes later though the early pressure took its toll on the hosts as Harriers went ahead - great work from Smikle allowed Chris McPhee to keep the ball in play on the by-line as he pulled back a cross along the face of goal where Dean Bennett made no mistake it firing it home - his first of the season.

Smikle should have made it two as he fired over from a fantastic position on 14 minutes, with the home side then having a couple of half chances, Jamie Slabber heading into the arms of Dean Coleman and Gavin Hoyte also hitting off target.

Three minutes before the half hour the visitors continued to press and got a second goal - Smikle and Hadley burst away with the offside flag staying down, Hadley slipping in a grounded pass to his team-mate as Smikle bundled the ball home from inside the area.

Smikle had two more chances before the break and went close with both but two should really have been three in first half stoppage time McPhee's cross was headed over by Gavin Caines.

The home side pulled a goal back on 52 minutes - the perfect start to the second half for them with Harriers' boss Yates left furious as one hopeful ball over the top cut out the entire visiting defence, leaving Daniel Charge bearing down on goal before lashing a finish past Coleman who was rooted to the spot.

Just after the hour mark Harriers almost put the game out of sight - sub David McDermott's deep corner was met by a towering header from Martin Riley - his effort clipped the inside of the post and came out to McPhee whose attempt at a re-bound was cleared off the line by Slabber.

As the second half wore on, Harriers failed to create any real further chances as the home side pressed them further and further back - with four minutes to go Grays almost struck level through sub Serge Makofo, his two bites at the cherry both blocked by defenders.

A minute later Brian Smikle struck wide of the target on a day where he alone could have had more than a couple of goals - but the visitors got deserved rewards for not letting balls die as they struck a third in the 90th minute.

Smikle was again the man involved, chasing yet another lost cause at the by-line after being unleashed by Darryl Knights - his first-time cross was a real beauty and left McDermott with the easiest of tasks in side-footing the ball home into an empty net.

So finally the goals came and it's a deserved three points to Harriers who now must look to build - a 'free' week ahead of next weekend's Bank Holiday double against Altrincham (h) and Tamworth (a).

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