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Match Report


Posted Tue 16 Feb 10 at 19:12 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 2-1 Forest Green

Match report by Matt Wall - stats provided by the Press Association. Pics - Stefan Rapacz

Substitute Damian Spencer hit a superb injury time winner to secure a win for Harriers on home soil on Saturday as they downed Forest Green Rovers 2-1 in the Blue Square Premier.

It was a tidy enough start to the game from both sides with Forest Green particularly moving the ball around well on the deck. For all that neat play, however, there was a distinct lack of early goalmouth action.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, it was the first real attacking move of the match that opened the scoring and it was play of real quality - John Finnigan kept it well in the middle before releasing home debutant Marc Goodfellow out wide. The Burton man surged forwards past his man and lofted the perfect ball into the area that found the head of Brian Smikle who ghosted in between goalkeeper and defenders to send the ball into the back of the net.

Tails up, it could have been more just three minutes later as Lee Baker crossed from the left - Robbie Matthews showed good movement to get free in the area but he could only direct his chipped header over the target.

The home side failed to really press ahead with their advantage immediately after the goal as a tidy Rovers side continued to ask questions of their defence with a succession of corners. On 27 minutes, more good work in midfield from Finnigan left the former Cheltenham Town man free to get a shot away which flew wide of the upright from around 20 yards.

Three minutes after the half-hour a slip by skipper Chris McPhee almost proved costly as the away side stole the ball and promptly dispatched Reece Styche towards goal - he controlled well as he entered the area and fired a good effort across Dean Coleman that sailed a touch wide,

Back at the other end, nine minutes before the break an excellent passage of play almost made it 2-0 - tight passing and movement eventually saw Robbie Matthews pull back to Duane Courtney who, on the edge of the area, struck a fine shot that young goalkeeper Danny Ireland did superbly well to tip over the bar.

Six minutes after the interval there was a good chance for Rovers from a set-piece as Isiah Rankin found himself free in the six yard area as a free-kick was floated in. The experienced striker got plenty of contact on it but, being underneath it, could only send his effort over the bar.

Just seconds before the hour mark, the deadliness of a one-goal lead once again bit Harriers hard as Forest Green grabbed an equaliser. Curtis McDonald's run and cross was one of quality but in truth it just wasn't dealt with by the hosts as visiting Captain Jonathan Smith popped up to head home, unmarked.

Just after, there was a chance of an immediate response from the hosts as Gavin Caines smashed an 18-yard free-kick narrowly over the upright.

A blistering counter-attack almost saw Rovers snatch ahead on 68 - Harriers were left watching as they surged forwards but Lee Baker was just able to get a toe to David Brown's effort to deflect it around Coleman's post and deny an almost certain goal.

As the game entered its final ten minutes sub Damian Spencer was making a pest of himself for the hosts as Harriers pushed for a winner - first, after being played in by Finnigan, he saw his dangerous low cross forced away and moments later he kept Ireland at his best as he turned and shot in the area, forcing a good low save.

GOAL!!!! Big Damo makes it 2-1...

As we entered injury time Harriers pushed and pushed - the ball was out wide with Spencer as he powered at pace towards goal - the angle at first looked impossible but the driven finish was excellent as it bent around Ireland's palm and into the back of the net off the post.

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