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Match Report


Posted Tue 19 Apr 11 at 21:48 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 1-2 Darlington

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

Harriers slipped to seventh in the Blue Square Bet Premier as their first defeat since January saw them downed 2-1 at Aggborough on Tuesday night by FA Trophy finalists Darlington.

Fine evening sunshine greeted the teams for this clash and though both teams were plenty lively in their approach to the early stages, it took some 15 minutes before opportunities at goal began to surface.

First, a short-corner from Callum Gittings was played short to Mike Williams who lofted a deep ball towards the far post, eventually finding the feet of skipper Keith Briggs who lashed a boot at it, a deflection sending it wildly in the direction of goal before being cleared.

Just after it was the visitors making a chance and Michael Smith should perhaps have done better than to nod over the bar having rose well in the area to meet a cross, Danny Lewis left untroubled.

Only an inspired piece of goalkeeping from Darlington's Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton kept Harriers from opening the scores on 23 minutes, winger Matty Blair wheeling away out-wide to supply an excellent cross along the face of goal that found Gittings who turned and shot with a rising effort that the young stopper did well to get a hand to and palm away.

Seven minutes later the lead was the home side's as they struck with a superbly-worked goal. Michael Briscoe drifted in a free-kick from barely five yards inside the Darlington half all the way into the penalty area which was nodded down by Chris McPhee then run on to superbly by Briggs who struck a firm finish past the goalkeeper.

There was a moment of slight controversy with eight minutes to go until the interval; ex-Harrier Aman Verma went for a loose ball but got none of it and slid right through Harriers man Tom Shaw, somewhat fortunate to only see a yellow card from referee Johnson.

Four later Harriers went close to extending their slender lead, Mark Albrighton getting up superbly in the area to meet a precise cross, the experienced defender connecting well; almost too well, as the ball thumped just over the bar.

There was a lengthy delay to the start of the second half due to the unfortunate illness of one of the fans in attendance, and just five minutes after the eventual re-start it should have been 1-1; Brown's corner met well by Darlington skipper Ian Miller who could only plant his downward header wide of the post.

The game then became a little scrappier as Harriers were forced to ride one too many overly physical challenges from Darlington, the first change of the night coming just after the hour mark when Sean Canham replaced Jamille Matt.

On 65 minutes came he hammer blow; Harriers were pegged back. After losing the ball on the edge of the Darlington area as the visitors wrestled in away, play was pressed up field and eventually to Jamie Chandler who was unmarked in the area, turning well and evading the attentions of the back-tracking defenders before shooting low past Lewis, the ball going in the bottom corner off the far post.

Harriers almost immediately restored the advantage - less than three minutes later there was a strong breakaway, Briggs' deep ball being headed back across the area by Tom Shaw, finding Canham who lashed a half-volley towards goal that was only kept out by an excellent one-handed stop by St Louis-Hamilton.

On 73 minutes as Harriers pushed forward it was once again the young shot-stopper keeping Harriers at bay, McPhee turning in the area and shooting with an effort that was well smothered.

Just when you thought the hosts would go on and get back in front, with 14 minutes to go Aggborough was silenced as Darlington took the lead. Canham's attempted downward header only served to find a black and white shirt and from there the break was on, Chris Moore beating the offside trap and holding off his man before firing home smartly.

Harriers rallied until the absolute last but were shut out by Darlington held on for their win.

Mecca Bingo

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