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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 25 Jan 11 at 21:39 PM

FULL TIME: Forest Green 1-1 Harriers

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

Harriers took a deserved point from a deeply-frustrating night at Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night as Chris McPhee's eleventh of the season ensured the spoils were shared.

With a little more than a minute on the clock in this one there was a half chance for Rovers as they started quickly, it was the experienced Steve Guinan who had it, as he took the ball down well before driving it towards Daniel Lewis who held well.

A little over ten minutes later it was his strike partner Reece Styche who tested Lewis as he put on a one-man breakaway, charging half the length of the field before trying his luck from 20 yards and drawing a parry.

On 17 minutes came the best of those early chances to take the lead and yet again it was a Rovers' effort - the ball running loose in the area to the onrushing Ross Dyer who drove towards goal and was denied by yet another Lewis stop.

You felt that for as long as the chances kept coming for Rovers without reply from Harriers there would be trouble and, three minutes later that proved to be true as the home side finally took the lead - another run forward just wasn't dealt with, and nor was the dash of Guinan who ghosted between defenders to nod past a stranded Lewis for 1-0.

To be fair the response was good - two minutes after conceding Harriers actually registered a chance of their own on goal as Lee Vaughan floated a great ball into the box that was met by the head of Jamille Matt who forced James Bittner into a fine fingertip save.

A lively first period flattened down slightly after such an eventful beginning but as Harriers continued to struggle in their quest for some real rhythm going forward, Rovers went close to a second as they drilled a dangerously-placed free-kick straight into a tight wall.

In first half stoppage time there was certainly a talking point. Lewis raced from his line to gather up a loose ball and, having collected it, took a pair of Styche's studs for his troubles. Somehow, the referee only flashed a yellow card as one of the most hotted-headed but fancied front-men remained on the field.

The visitors began the second 45 in slightly quicker fashion as, within a couple of minutes, Matt teed up a Chris McPhee outside the area who shot just over Bittner's target.

Sensing the need for change, boss Steve Burr made a double switch two minutes prior to the hour mark as Jack Byrne and Matty Blair came on to replace Jamille Matt and Callum Gittings.

Poor overall control of the game from its officials rendered the most part of the second half absolutely useless as it was a constant run of stop and start - on 70 minutes play actually continued long enough for Harriers to fashion a chance as Byrne headed straight at Bittner from a Mike Williams cross.

Some seven minutes later, Lewis arguably kept his side in it with another strong save as he got down well to deny Liam Enver-Marum, though just after the goalkeeper was beaten by a Styche finish that rolled just wide of the post.

Lewis' opposite number was given some work to do a couple of minutes further on as Vaughan quickly took a free-kick and drove one goalwards that the stopper was able to parry.

With just eleven left to play Harriers did their best to pile on the pressure and when Mark Albrighton teed one up from 20 yards, Bittner was at full stretch to palm it back out into play where his own man Dyer only narrowly managed to miss the open net with his attempted clearance.

Finally the visitors persistence paid off on 82 minutes as they found away through the Rovers back line - a beautiful, deft back-heel inside the area by substitute Nick Wright was enough to fool the hosts and set up McPhee who coolly found the back of the net with a neat finish.

Harriers had an amazing chance to steal all three points in injury time as Wright got himself one-on-one with Bittner on the break, the striker's effort from around 18 yards was well saved.

Mecca Bingo

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