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Match Report


Posted Fri 18 Feb 11 at 21:41 PM

FULL TIME: Cambridge 1-2 Harriers

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

Jamille Matt's dramatic late winner was enough to give Harriers an absolutely priceless victory on the road on Friday night as they edged out Cambridge United 2-1 to move into the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off places.

Cambridge did their best to fly out of the blocks in this one, a good start in order to try and clear away some of the misery that has surrounded their recent results if not performances. With some six minutes on the clock it was they who had the first chance of the night as Danny Wright got up well in the area to nod a header just wide of the target.

Some six minutes further the visitors were made to pay for backing off in key areas - first Danny Walker waltzed half the length of the field and shot wide, before Adam Marriott cut inside, unchallenged into the area before wasting his effort and blazing it over.

A minute later Cambridge went even closer as Harriers struggled to contain them; a delightful through-ball from Marriott opened up the defence and was latched on to by Wright who was only denied, one on one, by a late save from Daniel Lewis.

Harriers had half-chances through Keith Briggs and Mark Albrighton early on but with 20 minutes on the clock it was once again United piling on the pressure as Walker again burst into the area and forced Lewis into a save.

As the game approached the half-hour mark the away side edged more and more into the encounter - Sean Canham latched well on to a couple of balls and sting the hands of home stopper Simon Brown, Jack Byrne also fizzing a half-volley from the edge of the area into the keeper's midrift.

And just as the visitors started to create a little more, you sensed the confidence drift away from United a little after such a bullish start. Harriers kept asking questions and, sure enough, it got them a crucial lead with just two minutes of the half left. A super ball from Tom Shaw was dinked into the area and towards the far post, where Canham was on hand to chest down well and power past Brown and into the back of the net.

The response from the U's was swift and almost lethal to Harriers - Chris McPhee stood on the line to defend a close-range free-kick and needed every bit of his tall frame to nod the ball away from the back of the net as Lewis was beaten by Marriott's strike.

Just as with the first half it was United who had the opening chance of the second and, with 53 minutes on the clock, it was a good opening as defender James Jennings ran towards goal and supplied Marriott who drove a good shot just wide.

With a little over 69 minutes played Harriers did their best to try and stretch more nerves out of the United defence and from a corner drilled in by sub Matty Blair, Canham and McPhee both had efforts blocked before Albrighton did tremendously well to clear the Abbey South Stand's roof with a blast volley from 18 yards.

Subs from either side certainly livened up the second period as Coventry's on loan front man Shaun Jeffers made his debut for the home side. In the 87th minute, Marriott yet again powered into the area and shot with venom, only denied a goal by Michael Briscoe's excellent saving block.

In the end, Marriott was not to be denied as, with the fourth official's board going up for four minutes' injury time, he lifted a controversially-awarded free-kick over the wall and past Lewis, into the back of the net. A really special, beautiful goal.

Enough to win Cambridge a point? Well, no. There was yet more drama - SOMEHOW, more drama. A tired Brian Saah conceded a corner just seconds after his side had made it 1-1, it was an excellent re-worked ball into the danger zone by Matty Blair; straight on to the head of sub Jamille Matt who dove with everything he had at the ball, sending it crashing into the back of the net.


Mecca Bingo

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