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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 17 Apr 10 at 16:54 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 0-2 Stevenage

Report by Matt Wall - stats provided and generated for harriers.co.uk by the Press Association.

Goals in each half saw Stevenage Borough promoted to the Football League as Champions of the Blue Square Premier at the expense of Harriers on Saturday; Borough recording a 2-0 win at Aggborough Stadium.

Harriers fans were coming into this one hoping they could stop the promotion party at around about 4:50pm late in the day. As it was, the South Stand housing the Borough fans exploded within a minute as the would-be party got underway immediately with the first goal of the game. Spotting a back-pass from a Harriers player that had been picked up by goalkeeper Jasbir Singh, the referee awarded an indirect free-kick from around ten yards. Teed up, Charlie Griffin took delight in drilling it into the bottom corner of the net.

With just ten minutes gone it was almost 2-0 as Harriers struggled to settle the game down - Duane Courtney was robbed of the ball on the edge of the area by the hungry Griffin. Cutting inside, the former Salisbury player drove an effort goalwards that was deflected to safety.

Nine minutes later the advantage for the away side should certainly have been doubled as they again got the better of things at a set-piece - the ball in was headed superbly towards goal by the unmarked Chris Beardsley, forcing an excellent save from Singh. It looked easier for Griffin to score the re-bound but he could only thump the ball against the top of the post.

The home side failed to keep the ball well enough in the first period and the lively Andy Drury came close to punishing them with just six minutes go until the interval - spinning on a free ball on the edge of the area, the midfield man drove an effort past the beaten Singh and just wide of the upright.

It took until the 42nd minute for Harriers to force the first action of any kind whatsoever from Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day - picking the ball up from midfield, Darryl Knights tried his luck from around 30 yards but it was comfortable enough for Day who was down low to gather.

With just four minutes gone after the break Harriers had their first real serious chance of the day and with it should really have come an equaliser - neat build-up play saw Knights supply Jack Byrne on the edge of the box; he took a touch and did well to bring Day off his line - all that was needed was the finish, though the midfielder could only spoon his effort over the bar.

Just after the hour, rampant Borough made it two - just moments after being booked for hacking down Chris McPhee, Joel Byrom turned on the style; cutting past Courtney with ease, he was able to progress unchallenged into the penalty area before curling a fine effort past Singh and into the far corner of the net - cue delirium once again in the South Stand from almost 1,000 Borough fans.

More than ten minutes later Harriers were well placed to get one back with the award of a free-kick near the by-line - though Lee Baker's delivery matched John Finnigan's finish in being just a touch too short, the ball ending up over the bar.

Sub Lloyd Kerry took them slightly closer on 79 minutes - chesting the ball down on the edge of the area, he curled a half volley towards goal that Day was able to gather at the second attempt. Just after, McPhee must have thought for all the money in the word he'd made it 2-1, though his great effort from around 12 yards bounced off the static goalkeeper at speed and, somehow, to safety.

With just four minutes to go Harriers were still pressing for a goal of their own - McPhee was again the point of the attack, set-up on the edge of the area by James Lawrie, he drove an angled effort that fizzed narrowly wide past the foot of the post, Day nowhere near it.

All in all, the final whistle presented Stevenage fans with the moment they'd been waiting for all season and indeed for years - crowned Champions of the Blue Square Premier and promoted to the Football League. The 978 sang long and loud throughout, and congratulations goes to them and all involved at the Lamex.

Next year? Maybe - just maybe.

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