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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 29 Nov 11 at 21:46 PM

REPORT: A DRAW IN CONTROVERSY FOR HARRIE

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

Harriers came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 at Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night on an evening of goals, drama and a huge slice of controversy.

If Steve Burr's men had 'everything but the goal' in what was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend draw against Cambridge United, they quite clearly set about putting that right in no time at all in this game.

Indeed inside just 60 seconds there was a chance on goal for the men in gold as Callum Gittings took the ball down centrally, 20 yards from goal - his low shot was held well by Preston Edwards.

It was certainly a sign of things to come - with just five minutes there was a goal as Harriers made the best of their strong start. Steve Guinan took the ball down and laid it off to Dave Hankin who, eye on goal, took a couple of strides before unleashing a powerful drive that flew into the back of the net.

Though disappointed by the early set-back the response to going behind was strong from the Fleet who quickly went about causing Harriers some problems of their own, Michael West having the best of their early chances with a shot that was tipped around the post well by Tony Breeden.

Midway through the first period the goal-getting duo of Guinan and Hankin combined once more to try and widen Harriers' advantage, the ball again being rolled into the path of the winger who saw his drive saved by the feet of Edwards.

It was a fairly end-to-end affair in all honesty and just two minutes after the half-hour mark the home side had an ideal opportunity to level matters as Callum Willock found himself on the ball, free at goal and just 18 yards out. The half-volley was perhaps not the best choice, the hit-man ballooning well over.

The Fleet did what they could to keep the pressure mounting and Liam Daish may rightly have wondered how his team travelled to the break without a goal to their name - Harriers to their credit weathering the storm well.

The second half began in one of the strangest possible ways - Joe Howe tried his luck for Ebbsfleet just outside the area, an effort that caught Michael Briscoe flush in the head. Somehow the referee judged this as a handball and pointed to the spot for a penalty, despite the fact that Briscoe needed the help of a stretcher to leave the field among some concern, replaced by Luke Jones.

Inexplicably the penalty still stood - it mattered not to Willock, of course, who did what he had to in beating Breeden from a12 yards after a lengthy delay for the treatment.

Three before the hour the visitors did what they could to immediately restore their advantage, Lee Vaughan drawing a neat save from Edwards with Lee Hendrie firing the re-bound off the bar with some force.

As it was, though, home tails were lifted by the controversial leveller and on 62 minutes they could have gone ahead as West blasted at Breeden with the 'keeper forced to tip over the bar.

Around four minutes later Jack Byrne was thrown on for Harriers as he completed his comeback from illness - within a few minutes he could have netted but he fired over after being set up by Gittings.

Just after, the game got its third goal and unfortunately for Harriers it went the way of the Fleet - the defence caught square by Craig Stone's ball upfield, Willock eventually left with the task of lifting the ball over the head of Breeden into the back of the net.
Worse still, within a minute it was 3-1 and somehow a comfortable night's work for Harriers was slipping out of their grasp, Nathaniel Pinney breaking free and cutting inside before firing through the legs of defender and goalkeeper.

Harriers were left with a big 15 or so minutes to face and to this end Burr threw on Nick Wright as his final substitute - and with one of his first touches the big front man struck to make it 3-2 and set up the big grandstand finish - pouncing on Matt's low cross to beat Edwards.

Typically with Harriers involved the was by far the end of the drama - sheer madness; Hendrie's driven free-kick with nine minutes of normal time remaining being headed back across goal by Tom Sharpe and met by Matt who looped a header in off the foot of the post.

There was a monstrous ten minutes of added time at the end of the game owing to the time for Briscoe's injury and though both sides traded blows, neither really forced an opening truly worthy of a winning goal.

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