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Match Report


Posted Sat 26 Dec 15 at 16:45 PM

Harriers 1-2 Cheltenham - The Report

Harriers are just one game away from ending an abysmal 2015 after Boxing Day brought little festive cheer - the team now staring down the barrel after a 2-1 defeat to league leaders Cheltenham at Aggborough.

Backed with the momentum of a successful season so far, it was not a surprise to see the visitors establish an early period of momentum and, in fact, within the opening ten minutes they had three good chances to take the lead.

Danny Wright, one of a few former Harriers players now in Cheltenham colours, nodded a free-kick delivery over the bar with just three on the clock, the purple wave only continuing as Andrija Novakovic struck the foot of the far post as Harriers failed to clear - a resultant cross once again finding Wright who, unmarked, prodded another header over the bar.

Wright continued to get his head on the end of everything as Cheltenham looked every bit the threat you'd expect from set pieces and delivery into the box - with barely a quarter-hour gone, he again went close and this time forced a save from Dean Snedker as his nod from a Munns cross was palmed away.

Although it was entirely one-way traffic to this stage, Harriers did work out their first chance of the day as Omari Patrick pounced on a slip in the visiting back line; charging forward with the ball before driving a low effort wide of Dylan Phillips' post.

Given the regularity and apparent ease with which Wright was winning his headers inside the six yard box, Harriers were arguably pushing their luck and so it was to their peril that the Robins did take the lead with 26 minutes gone, a cross looping in to the area for the marksman to do the business.

If Cheltenham felt Harriers were done and dusted at that stage, though, they were mistaken as, just four minutes later they were level. Ben Whitfield did superbly well to charge down a ball and winner a corner; as it was whipped in, Kelvin Langmead's header was well blocked but defender Kyle Howkins was on hand to stab home the rebound.

Five minutes later Harriers came within a whisker of what would have seemed an unthinkable lead, forcing another series of corners, another Whitfield delivery found Patrick at the near-post whose flick header was clawed off the line by Jack Barthram.

It was end to end stuff to finish the half and, with the period's very last kick, Munns almost restored Cheltenham's lead but, fortunately for Harriers, his rising effort from distance cannoned off the angle of bar and post.

There was a good chance each early in the second period - for the visitors, Wright yet again forced a header towards goal that glance wide of the target before, up at the other end, Whitfield took the ball in his stride before driving at Phillips with an attempt that just dipped shy of the target.

Past the hour mark, only a fine save from Snedker prevented Wright and Cheltenham from grabbing their second - a free-kick delivery was nodded back across goal and met Wright who forced a point-blank save from the Harriers custodian. 

The attacks continued to come and they were all Town's - a Jennings shot looking destined for the back of the back of the net before Snedker again intervened, Hodgkiss then doing his duty on the line to claw away a Kyle Storer shot from a corner.

Harriers subconsciously dropped deeper and deeper and it proved to be the Snedker show as the last line of defence was all the home side had to prevent them being washed away - he was again extended to superbly deny Jennings as he tipped the ball wide, though he was helpless as that second goal finally came - the resultant corner was powered home by Downes.

That knocked any of the remaining stuffing out of Harriers who just couldn't muster the energy and momentum that they'd found in the first period - one late chance came the way of sub Singh but his rising shot on the turn was never one to trouble Phillips.

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