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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 14 Feb 15 at 17:00 PM

REPORT: HARRIERS 1 WOKING 1

Lee Hughes’ second goal in four days was not enough to secure all three points for Harriers as Woking hit back to earn a draw at Aggborough.

Hughes scored his first league goal for Harriers since netting a consolation in a 3-1 defeat to Gateshead back in May 1997.

However, an improved second-half performance for the Cards saw them equalise through Yemi Odubade and though Harriers pushed, the scores finished all-square.

As a result, both sides have slipped down in the Vanarama Conference, with Harriers now sitting in ninth, five points from a play-off spot.

Boss Gary Whild named the same starting XI which beat Stourbridge 2-0 in the Worcestershire Senior Cup, as on-loan Burton Albion striker Dominic Knowles made his Harriers league debut, and Danny Wright played his first game at Aggborough since signing from Gateshead in January.

Meanwhile, after finding the net after just 18 minutes on Tuesday, Hughes makes his second league debut for Harriers, his first competitive game in red for almost 20 years.

Back in defence, skipper Josh Gowling, fresh from Harriers’ midweek workout, returned from injury to feature in his first league game since the 2-1 win over Lincoln City back in December.

For Woking, Odubade, James Clarke and John Goddard came in for Aswad Thomas, Ross Lafayette and the suspended Joe McNerney following their defeat to Barnet last week.

It took 20 minutes longer for Hughes to give Harriers the lead today, but the goal was evidently more of a special one for the 38-year-old as he punched the air in triumph in front of the East Stand.

Wright received the ball in a promising central position as the assistant referee’s flag stayed down despite calls of offside from the travelling contingent.

The striker picked out his team-mate to his left and Hughes made no mistake as he surged into the box, cut in and delivered a true striker’s finish low and hard into the bottom corner.

In the second half, however, the Cards hit back and equalised with just over 20 minutes to go.

A corner kick wasn’t cleared and the visitors managed to keep it in the danger zone, before Odubade’s deflected close-range effort bounced and scrapped its way into the back of the net.

In reality, Harriers should have already gained more of an advantage as Whild’s transfer-window additions made a notable difference to their attacking vigour.

Hughes, Wright, Knowles and Aaron Wildig all linked up well throughout and Wright too had the ball in the net for the second time this week before it was controversially ruled out.

The tall striker leapt highest to nod home Kevin Nicholson’s corner after Knowles had won the set-piece on the half-hour mark, but referee Ross Joyce determined that Wright had fouled a yellow shirt in the process.

Whild’s men could easily have taken the lead inside the first 15 minutes as all four aforementioned players were involved in a well-worked forward move.

Wright played in Knowles, who got in front of James Clarke to receive the pass and drove down the right-hand side before aiming for the bottom left-hand corner with a low drilled strike.

The ball looked to be trickling wide but Hughes, lurking at the far post, managed to keep it in play and fed Wildig as he entered the penalty area; however, the Shrewsbury Town loanee scuffed a miskicked hit and Woking were able to scramble the danger clear.

Hughes set up Wildig again five minutes later, but the midfielder placed his shot wide this time, before Aman Verma and Gowling also had opportunities of their own.

Verma's thumping strike was well-blocked, while Harriers’ skipper should have done better as he missed the target with a header from a corner.

After playing out a subdued first half, the visitors stepped up the pace in the second 45 and threatened almost immediately through a delightfully chipped long-range Goddard strike which dropped over the bar.

And leading goalscorer Scott Rendell had a golden opportunity just over 10 minutes after the restart when a low cross from the right was sent straight to his feet, but he struck a meek effort straight at Danny Lewis.

Lewis then pulled off a spectacular stop shortly after the hour mark, making a brilliant one-handed block on Joey Jones’ header which looked to be whizzing into the top corner.

Whild and assistant Mark Creighton urged their side forward with the introduction of Ahmed Obeng, Keyon Reffell and Akwasi Asante in the later stages of the second half, with Man of the Match Hughes leaving the field 10 minutes before the end to warm applause.

Knowles fired a low shot wide and Wildig saw a volleyed effort blocked before Cards ‘keeper Jake Cole denied Wright with another stunning save.

Obeng had made a wonderful surging run down the right flank and cut in to pick out the striker who launched what looked to be a low goal-bound shot, but Cole dived to his left full-stretch to keep Harriers from re-taking the lead.

Reffell and Obeng had further ventures forward but couldn’t capitalise as the game finished level, a lively encounter in which two well-matched sides contested an entertaining draw where both evidently wanted to win.

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