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Match Report


Posted Sat 05 Dec 09 at 22:05 PM

FULL TIME: Stevenage 2-0 Harriers

Report by Matt Wall - stats provided by the Press Association

Harriers turned in an improved performance at Stevenage on Saturday but returned home empty handed after suffering their second defeat in three League games on a luckless afternoon.

It was a frantic start to the game with both sides registering chances inside three minutes - first, Chris Beardsley's header needing clearing by the Harriers defence before Damian Spencer went close to scoring for the visitors, a chip beating goalkeeper Chris Day but going off target.

The strong beginning continued and on the fifth minute mark Day was again beaten as David McDermott cut inside and fired superbly towards goal, the dropping effort thumped off the cross bar with the visitors denied.

The pace of the game then slowed for ten minutes or so. First, Gavin Crowe was called on to attend to a facial injury to Dean Coleman, Boro's Beardsley then needing the home physio on. After the latter, however, Harriers went close once more as Spencer's header from a great McDermott free-kick saw Day forced into a neat low save at the foot of his far post.

Their goal leading a charmed life, Stevenage went up the other end and almost got the game its first goal on 24 minutes, first as Charlie Griffiin struck the post with a header, Jon Ashton with a great strike from the recycled ball flying just over.

An end-to-end affair continued to be such when just shy of the half-hour mark, excellent work from skipper Chris McPhee saw the ball held up and switched in field to Dean Bennett who hit a 30 yard effort over the bar.

Edging further and further into the game, it was Boro who eventually strode ahead but yet again the goal was a soft one, a 38th minute free-kick around ten yards into the Harriers half was lofted all the way up into the area - a crowd of blue-shirted bodies could do little about it, one flick and the ball was in the back of the net courtesy of Ashton's looping header.

Harriers came out for the second half and were dealt the biggest of blows within a minute - fuming and appealing for an offside decision during Boro's build-up, the home side simply took care of business as the ball was floated into the area, straight to the feet of the onrushing, untracked Mitchell Cole who lashed it past Coleman on the angle.

Mark Yates' side were desperate to make an instant reply and in Brian Smikle's 57th minute header they went close, but Day saved well and released a Boro counter from which Griffin saw his downward headed effort go off target.

Six after the hour Stevenage would have expected to add a third as David Bridges rose unchallenged from a corner kick but his effort was tame and over the bar. Four minutes further on, sub Ryan Charles saw a distance effort at the other end go some way wide.

Fellow sub Aaron Farrell went some way closer on 73 - after playing a neat one-two with Smikle, the striker was played in on the angle and drove a decent effort just wide of the target.

Seven minutes from time the lively Charles ensured Harriers would at least go down fighting with another rising drive from distance, a grounded effort from the same man coming in added time.

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