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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 14 Apr 12 at 16:53 PM

FULL TIME: HARRIERS 6-1 KETTERING

Harriers came from behind to smash six past troubled Kettering Town at Aggborough on Saturday as they picked up a handsome home win to strengthen their claim on a play-off place.

 

It was a typically tense beginning for Harriers on their home turf as inside the opening minutes they found themselves with some serious defending to do - less than two minutes on the clock as Charlie Wyke raced onto a ball inside the area before firing an effort across and wide of the face of Tony Breeden's goal.

 

With a dozen on the clock Breeden's counterpart Laurie Walker was forced into a good piece of handling from a Dave Hankin cross he managed to gather from under the bar; James Vincent's shot just moments later being deflected wide.

 

Five minutes later only an excellent save by Walker denied Anthony Malbon as he fired a half volley at goal from 18 yards that was parried away; a recycled cross then headed home by Malbon at the far post only for the effort to be chalked off for an earlier infringement.

 

Just moments after having the ball in the back of their own net, roles were reversed as the visitors took the lead; Harriers failing to take charge defensively as Ben Ford lashed at it and fired it past Breeden and into the top corner.

 

Their lead was short-lived, though; with just 25 minutes on the clock the reds were back on level terms - a challenge in the box on Malbon by Jerel Ifil was clumsy at best and rightly resulted in a penalty that top scorer Nick Wright duly dispatched.

 

A minute before the half-hour winger Hankin came close to his third of the season with a rising drive that Walker did well to tip around the post.

 

Hesitant defending prior to the break almost came close to costing Harriers once again, relief only coming as efforts from Ford and Ashley Westwood went some way off target.

 

There was more sloppy defending on 52 minutes - a poor clearance from Lee Vaughan allowed James Gray to take a pop at goal and he forced Breeden into a sprawling save as he tipped the ball around the post.

 

Just two minutes later, though, yet another turnaround was complete as Harriers took the lead; excellent work from Hankin saw him drive through from a defensive position before clipping a great ball up to release Wright who raced down on a back-tracking Walker before lashing the ball across the face of goal and into the net for his 17th of the term.

 

As has been the pattern in recent weeks the first reds' change of the day saw Ryan Rowe replace Steve Guinan as Malbon continued to receive running repairs for a bloodied mouth.

 

With 72 left on the clock Harriers' lead was deservedly extended and it was another excellent team move involving the influential Wright and Hankin - the latter drove fed orward once more before releasing Rowe who in turn crossed to Malbon who had the relatively simple task of tapping into an empty net.

 

For Kettering it got worse as just a minute later it was 4-1; Kyle Storer's chipped free-kick floating into the box and nodded beyond Walker and into the net by Rowe who notched his third in club colours.

 

There seemed to be some doubt among the press pack at least as to whether Luke Jones had actually got the final touch there but whilst it was Rowe credited with goal four, the defender did his bit and grabbed an undoubted fifth for his team - another ball in from Storer met with a great header by Jones who watched it nestle into the far corner.

 

The home fans were hungry for a sixth and they got it in the final minute of normal time - great work by sub Mickey Demetriou who fed Rowe who yet again provided the assist, this time with a looping ball over to the far post where skipper Mike Williams was on hand to again send the net rippling.

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