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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 21 Nov 09 at 22:28 PM

FULL TIME: Kettering 0-2 Harriers

Harriers proved their epic win over Oxford last week was no one-off as an inspired away performance saw them down another title contender, Kettering Town, 2-0 on Saturday.


It was a bright start to the game at a damp Rockingham Road with Harriers looking lively - inside five minutes they had a real chance to get themselves an early goal as Brian Smikle beat the offside trap to play in Darryl Knights level with the penalty spot - Knights took his effort well but it rose just over the bar of Poppies' player-boss Lee Harper.


After taking a while to get started, the home side had two good chances in as many moments on the 14th minute mark - first, Moses Ashikodi volleying wide in style following a long, long throw from Exodus Geohaghon. Just after, a lovely counter attack left Anthony Elding with the ball in front of goal but his effort wasn't powerful enough to really trouble Dean Coleman.


With 22 minutes gone the away side came within a whisker of going ahead - intelligent play again by Smikle put Barnes-Homer in on the angle who side-footed a great effort just over the bar of the beaten goalkeeper.


It continued to be end to end stuff and a couple of minutes later Coleman was thankful for his woodwork as some panicky defending from the away side allowed Ashikodi to chip the goalkeeper who was left to watch it as it bounced off his bar and out of play.


It was a small matter of same again on the half hour mark - sub Jon Paul Marna played in ex-Harrier Simon Heslop who drove an tremendous effort towards goal that flashed by Coleman and smacked off the woodwork - struck so hard that it didn't even enable a re-bound as the ball rolled some distance away.


Kettering certainly finished the first period the stronger of the two sides and after thumping the woodwork twice they should really have made it 1-0 when John Dempster was given the freedom of the ground as a cross came into the box. Unmarked as he was, he could only manage to put the effort off target.


It was yet again a strong start to a second half from Harriers - within a minute they'd forced two chances; skipper Chris McPhee forcing a save from Harper with a volley inside the area, the resultant corner seeing Barnes-Homer once more strike off target.


With 53 minutes on the clock, new Kettering gaffer Harper was forced to pull out a wonder save to keep Harriers at bay - the ball fell to defender Gavin Caines some 18 yards from goal, the ex-Cheltenham man unleashed a great rising drive that was pawed away from under the bar.


Three minutes prior to the hour mark, Harriers were again looking dangerous but were once more wasteful - the ball was sprayed out to sub David McDermott who strode towards goal before choosing to shoot with an effort that went wide of the far post, despite having Robbie Matthews to his centre.


There was a blow for the hosts on 67 minutes - midfielder Heslop dismissed for picking up a second yellow card as he went in late on Martin Riley.


Within three minutes of that dismissal, the hosts were made to pay for feeling a little too sorry for themselves, an excellent move forward saw the ball played out to Duane Courtney who, in time and space, blasted an angled finish into the bottom corner of Harper's goal for his first strike in club colours, much to the delight of the 143 away fans.


It was then all hands to the pump for Kettering in search of an equaliser and on 82 minutes that appeared to be their undoing. Clearing a corner, Harriers were suddenly presented with a 3v2 situation - they stretched the play by unleashing McDermott out wide and the winger, an inspired substitution, took it all the way into the box before crossing a ball that eventually found Barnes-Homer, who took a touch before lashing it home for 2-0.


A similar counter moments later almost saw it become 3-0 - but goalkeeper Harper was strong to deny both Smikle and Barnes-Homer.

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