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Match Report


Posted Sat 14 Mar 15 at 16:45 PM


A goal in each half by Tom Murphy condemned Harriers to their second defeat this week as Dover Athletic left Aggborough with all three points.

Harriers dropped down to 11th in the Vanarama Conference and stretched their winless run to eight games as a result.

Boss Gary Whild made four changes to the side which lost 3-1 at home to Eastleigh on Tuesday, introducing former Redditch frontman Jamie Spencer for his first Harriers start.

Also returning to the starting XI were Aman Verma, who had recovered from the illness which kept him out midweek, and Danny Wright, while Ahmed Obeng made his first start since the 2-0 home defeat to Aldershot Town back in November.

They replaced Kennedy Digie, Craig Reid, Keyon Reffell and Lee Hughes, with the latter two dropping to the bench.

Dover Athletic, meanwhile, remained unchanged despite suffering their first home defeat since September against Lincoln City on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead after just seven minutes when Murphy found a way past Danny Lewis, who was making his 200th appearance for Harriers.

The Whites winger latched onto a high pass forward and spotted Lewis off his line anticipating the cross.

Lobbing the unfortunate ‘keeper with a chipped ball, Murphy then had the simple task of finishing off his own move in front of an empty net.

Then, just over 10 minutes before the end of normal time, Murphy orchestrated a moment of quality to seal victory for Dover.

Murphy’s 11th league goal of the campaign was similar to his 10th in that he collected a long ball and lobbed Lewis once more, but this one proved to be a more difficult finish.

Nevertheless, in one movement he beat both Kevin Nicholson and Lewis, crafting a beautifully-chipped strike into the top left-hand corner.

To concede so early on, like against Alfreton, was a blow for Harriers, but they strived for a response, with Obeng and Jake Green in particular lively down each flank.

It was the Ghanaian who had the game’s first chance with a narrowly-wide curling shot after four minutes, before Verma struck the Dover wall with a powerful free-kick after Obeng won the set piece with an advance towards the box.

Verma placed further long-range efforts wide and Spencer headed straight at Andy Rafferty from an Obeng cross, while Wright and Green had two stand-out opportunities from inside the box. 

Just before the half-hour mark, Green initiated an attack with a cross from the right, doing well to dodge a challenge from Ricky Modeste and deliver from the byline.

It fell nicely for Wright who turned and controlled the ball well but, having given himself time and space, scooped his attempt over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, skipper Josh Gowling ventured forward and unfurled a skilful cross to pick out Wright in the middle.

In a reversal of roles, Wright knocked it to his left for Green, who took a touch and, like his team-mate minutes earlier, fired over the woodwork.

Having claimed the early advantage, the Whites focused most of their efforts on frustrating Harriers, although they remained dangerous when advancing and Lewis made an excellent stop with his legs from a low angled Murphy effort just before the interval.

With Callum Gittings replacing Jack Byrne at half-time and Lee Hughes coming on for Spencer less than 10 minutes into the second half, Whild’s men continued to eye an equaliser, and it almost fell for them six minutes in through Wright.

Sent on his way upfield by Spencer in a Harriers counter-attack, Wright ran the length of the pitch up to the byline and advanced towards the near post.

His close-range attempt could so easily have sneaked in and required only the slightest of touches from a red shirt to ensure this was the case, but instead the ball was hacked frantically clear in a goalmouth scramble by Dover.

Five minutes after Stefan Payne’s drilled strike drew a smart collection from Lewis, substitute Hughes had a chance at the other end, teed up by good build-up on the right between Obeng and Gittings, but failed to hit the target with a lofted shot.

Reffell, too, tried his luck after replacing Green late on, gliding along the edge of the box having cut in from the left yet sending his effort well wide.

Dover then doubled their advantage and threatened a third six minutes from time if not for the efforts of Gowling, who got in front of Payne as he aimed to turn in Murphy’s right-sided cross.

Nicholson’s fierce free-kick at the death was well-saved by Rafferty in the final throw of the dice for Harriers who, disregarding Eastleigh’s Joe Partington heading into his own net, remain in the midst of a goal drought.

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