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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 23 Jan 10 at 17:32 PM

FULL TIME: Crawley 2-2 Harriers

Report by Matt Wall - stats provided by the Press Association...

A late goal from Chris McPhee ensured that Steve Burr's reign as Harriers manager started with a solid point on the road as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Crawley Town on Saturday.

It was an energetic start from both sides in what was a relatively mild afternoon - after they traded half chances it was Crawley who worked the best of the early opportunities with six minutes gone - good work out-foxed the Harriers defence as the ball found its way to Ben Smith who should really have done better when he managed only to find the side netting with just Dean Coleman to beat.

The 13th minute brought with it some awful luck for Harriers and goalkeeper Coleman as the first goal of the day arrived in nightmarish circumstances. A ball heading back to the area was nodded on to the stopper by Gavin Caines but, at the last, he spilled possession and the ball fell to Charlie Ademeno who took great delight in tapping into the back of the empty net.

It took a Chris McPhee block to stop Michael Malcolm from putting Crawley 2-0 up just moments later as the home side looked to press further mistakes with the back-line looking shaky; ironically on 19 minutes it was Caines who had the visitors' first effort on target of the day when his header from a Darryl Knights corner was held by Simon Rayner.

Finally some confidence started to emerge on 28 minutes when they got themselves another good effort - excellent footwork outside the area by Damian Spencer saw him beat his man before blasting a shot towards Rayner that was spilled before being cleared by the home defence.

On the stroke of half time, ex-Harrier Glenn Wilson kept Coleman alert with a header from a free-kick that flew just wide of the target.

Five minutes into the second half, Harriers immediately set about correcting the early error of the first - a fine ball from Spencer played in Duane Courtney whose low ball was unwittingly played by a Crawley defender into the path of the onrushing assistant boss John Finnigan who thumped in an equaliser off the foot of the post - a fine way to open his scoring account for the club.

As the hour mark ticked by Harriers needed Coleman to be at his very best to keep the scores level - without other options, playmaker Thomas Pinault let fly with a great effort from 25 yards that the stopper stretched to tip over his bar.

A moment of magic was followed by a moment of despair for Coleman three minutes later - a relatively simple shot from Ademeno looked to be gathered safely by the number one, only for the ball to be spilled straight into the path of Barry Cogan who punished him with a close-range finish for 2-1.

Crawley continued to press and put the ball under Coleman's nose at every opportunity, Eddie Hutchinson crashed a corner wide on 74 minutes just before Caines was forced to knock one over his own bar.

There were two half chances for Harriers in the following five minutes - neither truly managed to scare stopper Rayner but sub Kyle Hadley's driven effort and Martin Riley's downward header at least kept the away side in amongst the efforts.

Harriers refused to go down without a fight and with five minutes remaining they got some reward - Crawley failed to close down skipper Chris McPhee as he cut inside from wide. Sensing no challenge was coming, McPhee strode forward before driving an effort into the area that sailed past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net with the aid of a deflection.

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