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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 04 Oct 14 at 18:04 PM

REPORT: HARRIERS 1-1 TELFORD

Aman Verma’s first Harriers goal was not enough as the hosts relinquished a first-half lead to allow AFC Telford United to leave Aggborough with a point.

Verma gave Harriers the advantage just before the interval but they couldn’t find that crucial second goal, and paid the price as Andy Todd struck late on for the Bucks.

Manager Gary Whild again named an unchanged side, as Jamie Grimes recovered sufficiently from a foot problem to replace Jake Green on the bench, while United made three alterations to the team that lost against Chester on Tuesday as Todd, Charlie Barnett and Sean Cooke came in for Mike Phenix, Rod McDonald and Tony Gray.

Verma broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time after Marvin Johnson won a free-kick to the right of the area.

Kevin Nicholson stepped up to swing in a perfect cross for the midfielder, who leapt highest to meet the ball at the near post and head home past Telford ‘keeper Hedge.

It was an ideal time to score for Whild’s men as United had done well to restrict the hosts, keeping it tight at the back to try and keep their first clean sheet of the season.

However, Telford equalised with around 10 minutes left to play through a sublime finish by Todd.

The midfielder picked up the ball after Nicholson, who seemed to claim for a foul, lost possession on Harriers’ left-hand side.

Todd was allowed to jinx his way into the box from the flank, dodging tackles and letting loose a sumptuous strike into the top left-hand corner.

Michael Gash had earlier wasted an excellent opportunity to double Harriers’ lead just after the hour mark.

He had been finding dangerous areas in the box, hitting the side netting after 13 minutes from a set-piece, before Reece Styche’s excellent overhead pass was hit just a touch too far for Gash to latch onto.

After 64 minutes, a mistake by Mike Grogan on the left allowed Gash to storm into the area, encouraged by the home support.

However, he took too long to pick out a pass or unleash a shot and ended up driving the ball out of play himself.

Telford’s most threatening first-half chance came from Godfrey Poku, impressive throughout, whose curving effort was tipped over the crossbar by Danny Lewis.

Early on for the visitors, Cooke turned to shoot straight into Lewis’ arms before Adam Farrell’s header was caught, while in the second half Ryan Higgins forced the ‘keeper into punching clear a long throw before making a brilliant save to deny substitute Kristian Platt.

For Harriers, Kyle Storer raged down the centre up to the edge of the area to fire a low drive at goal, which was deflected out of play, before setting up Styche with a chipped pass which fell just out of reach for the forward.

Later on, Johnson demonstrated his pace in latching onto a sweeping through ball to send in a cross which Telford captain Steve Akrigg injured himself stretching to clear, after almost adding to Harriers’ tally in the first half when his cross-cum-shot hit Hedge awkwardly to stay out of the net.

United stepped up a gear as the second half wore on and could have equalised 10 minutes earlier than they did, but Todd’s low cross was floated in inches behind Farrell.

Nathan Blissett set up fellow substitute Callum Gittings with a glancing downward header from Jared Hodgkiss’ throw on 74 minutes but his effort was blocked by blue shirts, before Craig Reid, who replaced Styche on the hour-mark, lunged at a throw-in with a rash volley which flew over the bar.

Both ‘keepers were busy late on as Harriers and Telford strived for a winner, but there were no real saves of note to make.

For the visitors, Grogan’s header flashed wide and Cook shot over following a Telford break in added time.

Meanwhile, Josh Gowling’s backwards header was saved and Gittings, amidst penalty appeals as a red shirt was seemingly hauled down, blasted a good chance wide in the area.

In truth, Harriers never really got going enough to look a massive threat to United, and their efforts in the final third lacked the venom to kill off a resilient Bucks side.

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