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Match Report


Posted Thu 01 Jan 15 at 18:15 PM


Harriers ended up on the wrong end of a New Year's Day goal-fest as Forest Green Rovers condemned them to their second consecutive defeat despite Craig Reid and Marvin Johnson's efforts.

Rovers had taken a 3-0 lead into half time courtesy of Jon Parkin, Clovis Kamdjo and Kurtis Guthrie, and although Harriers hit back in the second half, Parkin’s second of the match had already put the game beyond reach.

Harriers remain in seventh, with a point between them and the play-off spots, but three points would have seen them move into the top five as fifth-placed Eastleigh and sixth-placed Woking drew.

Gary Whild made one change to the Harriers side which lost 1-0 to Southport, as Aman Verma was recalled to the starting XI in place of Luke Maxwell after recovering from a back injury.

Callum Gittings, who missed out on Sunday after limping off at half-time on Boxing Day, reclaimed a place in the squad amongst the substitutes.

Forest Green Rovers’ Sunday fixture against Wrexham was postponed, meaning they faced Harriers for two consecutive fixtures.

Manager Ady Pennock made four changes to the side which lost 3-2 to Harriers that day, as Kamdjo, Guthrie, Dale Bennett and Aarran Racine came in for David Pipe, Sam Wedgbury, Lee Hughes and Danny Coles.

With Harriers 4-0 down, Reid notched his fifth goal of the season for Harriers after winning a penalty with 20 minutes to go.

As he ran on to a pass by Kyle Storer, the striker was felled by Bennett in the area and subsequently took the spot-kick himself, beating Sam Russell with a powerful strike down the middle.

Johnson grabbed Harriers’ second and his eighth of the campaign after 73 minutes when substitute Jamie Spencer, making his debut from the bench, released Storer with a flick-on as Harriers broke.

This allowed the midfielder to pick out Johnson on the right with a long pass, who then cut in and rippled the net with a smooth low finish.

It was too little, too late for Whild’s men, however, as Forest Green’s first-half rally ensured they took all three points.

Thirty-three-year-old Parkin scored his 13th goal of the campaign after 22 minutes in a simple but effective Rovers attack.

Bennett’s pinpoint cross from the right met Parkin’s head perfectly, leaving the striker to nod home with a trademark finish.

Disaster struck for Harriers as Forest Green then scored two goals in quick succession to take a 3-0 lead into the interval.

Kamdjo, returning from suspension, fired an angled drive from the left-hand side of the area into the roof of the net from Guthrie’s knock-on header after 37 minutes.

Guthrie then got onto the scoresheet himself with a simple tap-in on the 39th minute, after Danny Lewis spilled a powerful shot by James Norwood from the edge of the box.

And Parkin bagged his brace shortly before the hour mark, capitalising on some poor defending to slot home from close range.

It was frustrating for Harriers who had started as the better side and had carved out various goalscoring opportunities before Parkin broke the deadlock for Rovers.

Storer set up Johnson for the game’s first after two minutes, as Rovers ‘keeper Russell was on hand to stop his curling strike from the edge of the area.

Reid’s chance on the seventh minute caught the turf as he scuffed a close-range effort from Kevin Nicholson’s low left-sided free-kick.

Sixty seconds later Verma, looking to build on his fourth goal of the season on Boxing Day, fired a stinging shot on target and rose to head the subsequent corner goalward, as Russell was called upon to make two stops from the midfielder.

Johnson looked hungry as he drove forward after 14 minutes, beating green shirts as he soared down the left flank, but he pulled the trigger high and wide, much to the displeasure of an annoyed Storer in the centre.

Parkin’s opener initiated 17 minutes of madness for Harriers as Rovers put three past Lewis to give the hosts a mountain to climb in the second half.

Reece Styche had two good opportunities after the interval to find the net against his former side.

Nicholson delivered a swift-paced but accurate curling cross from the left which was met by Marcus Kelly, but the Rovers captain knocked it into Styche’s path, catching the striker off-guard as he struck wide.

Then, after Storer’s blocked shot was cleared on the 56th minute, Jack Byrne and Johnson combined to find Styche on the edge of the area, but the striker scooped his chance over the bar.

Aggborough was fired up after Harriers’ two quick goals but, as the clock ticked, they couldn’t capitalise fully on their momentum.

With just eight minutes of normal time left to play, Jamie Grimes came agonisingly close to finding a third for Harriers as his header from a corner fell inches past the wrong side of the post.

Rovers forced Lewis into two fantastic stops late on, denying Guthrie one-one-one as the visitors broke after 76 minutes before thwarting Elliott Frear’s close-range angled effort in the dying stages.

After their bright start was cancelled out, Harriers battled valiantly in the second half to try and salvage something from a heavy deficit, but in the end that mountain was just too high.

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