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Match Report


Posted Sat 16 Apr 11 at 16:54 PM

FULL TIME: Eastbourne 1-1 Harriers

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

A late equaliser from Tom Shaw rescued a precious point for Harriers as their unbeaten run came close to crashing at relegated Eastbourne on Saturday, the sides playing out a nervy 1-1 draw.

Both sides were desperate for all three points for very different reasons on what was a pleasant afternoon near the seaside - perhaps with some pressure off it was the hosts who made the better start as they pressed towards goal with front-man Richard Pacquette stabbing a boot at the ball to send it over the bar with ten minutes on the clock.

With a quarter-hour gone Harriers went close to taking the lead, and Lee Vaughan close to netting his first goal for the club as he tried his luck after being teed up on goal from around 20 yards, a rising effort dipping just the wrong side of the upright.

The game never really seemed to settle for Harriers on an extremely lively surface, Matty Blair missing his kick as he looked to latch onto a ball in the area and stroke on goal with around 25 minutes played.

The longer it remained goalless the more the home side were going to build momentum and just two minutes before the half-hour mark they made it count by opening the scoring with a goal that was truly massive for their hopes; Pacquette made it look so simple as he turned sharply on a nothing ball and slammed it past Lewis and into the back of the net.

It was a first half bordering on the surreal for Harriers fans watching - their side were uncharacteristically second-best to a number of balls and couldn't seem to get to grips with the physical Borough approach.

Just before the break there were scuffed half-chances for the men in yellow; first as Wright saw a shot blocked and sent clear, McPhee being denied from a corner as he shot at goalkeeper Rikki Banks.

Boss Steve Burr looked to change things immediately at the break with the introduction of Jamille Matt in favour or Sean Canham and on 52 minutes there was a chance to work an effort at goal from a well-placed free-kick, but Michael Briscoe could only fizz it over the bar.

Six minutes later Matt was making a pain of himself and he did superbly to thread Chris McPhee into the penalty area - McPhee took a good touch and moved to strike, only to be denied by an excellent challenge by Darren Baker. Just after at the other end, Borough went close to a second that would have been close to fatal for Harriers, Briscoe missing his kick from a clearance and allowing Pacquette to shoot, the striker denied by a good parry from Lewis.

Pacquette seemed the main danger man for the hosts and he wasted two fantastic opportunities as the second half ticked on, shooting straight at Lewis at least twice when well-placed to do much better, Callum Gittings and Tom Shaw also thrown on by Burr as Nick Wright and Keith Briggs made way respectively.

On 74 minutes it was all going through Pacquette for Eastbourne and when he appeared to beat the offside trap with Harriers outnumbered, you perhaps would have expected him to finish for 2-0, though his effort was well-blocked by Vaughan.

How vital that block would prove to be, too, as on 76 minutes Harriers struck level - a looping ball was sent into the area with Matt looking to get on the end of it; he took one for the team and collided with Banks, both laying on the deck as the ball rolled into the path of Shaw who slammed home.

Both sets of players reverted to the nervy mentality with which they began the game, Hutchinson firing one into Lewis' palms at one end just after McPhee had fired over at the other. In injury time, Pacquette flashed one wide across the face of goal whilst Mark Albrighton saw an effort for Harriers go agonisingly wide.

As almost all their play-off rivals picked up wins, there's no telling just how important this point won or two lost will be. Either way you look at it, it's a big week upcoming for Harriers with two home games to come next week.

Mecca Bingo

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