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Tamworth 1 Harriers 1

Date: 18-02-06 Venue: The Lamb att: 1278 away fans: 200+
Reds stumble to a poor draw
This was a game that we could, and should, of won easily but after going down to an un-expected goal from Tamworth early on we then struggled to get anything going at all during another dire first half.    The second half was far, far better for us and we also grabbed an early goal but even though we spent most of the half camped in their end we still couldn't add to the scoreline and the game ended all square.

With the one end of this, erm, compact little throwback of a ground full of Harriers fans soaking up the early spring sunshine we had the first surprise of the day with the team announcements.    No Daryl Burgess, no Jonny Harkness and in their place we had Junior Osborn and Michael Blackwood at full back with Johnny Mullins moving into the centre.

Russell Penn was back in the side following his absence from last Saturdays game for suspension and up front we had Lee Thompson paired with Andy White and Francino Francis dropping to the bench.

Tamworth had a very familiar look about them and it seemed the clock had been turned back five years with Scott Stamps and Adie Smith lined up at the back for them.    Include Graham Ward and Scott Rickards in more recent years and the feeling was eerie.

After a promising opening few minutes Harriers looked very purposeful with their approach play and we could sense that we were in for a feast of goals.    Of course Tamworth hadn't read the script and suddenly we were a goal down following a defensive error that allowed Matt Williams to collect a cross field pass from his own half.    Totally un-marked it was easy enough for him to collect the ball and slip it past the slowly approaching Danby.    I say slowly because I felt that if he had moved a bit sharper he would have been able to close the striker down a bit and might have done enough to put him off his shot.

After that we seemed to drift in and out of the game with neither team really getting a grip.    Danny Davidson looked dangerous for them but then again with the kind of non-existent marking being performed by Junior Osborn, admittedly playing his first game for us, then he was bound to look dangerous.    Osborn never really got into the game at all and looked to be out of his depth playing with the seniors.

Andy White could have had a couple after they scored but one shot went into the side netting and the other was saved from close range by Tamworths keeper, Bowles.    Tamworth replied with a shot from Davidson that Danby only just managed to tip over the bar.

We had a penalty appeal turned down half heartedly when Adie Smith appeared to push Andy White in the box, we had another appeal late on in the game, and White should have opened his scoring record when he spurned two more chances towards the end of the first forty five minutes.
HT: 1 - 0
He did open his account with just three minutes of the half gone when he picked up the ball from a Lee Thompson lay off in exactly the same position that Tamworth scored their goal from.    Andy collected the ball and, although the ball was struck without much force, it still eluded Bowles to put us back on equal terms.

After the goal the game became one way traffic for the Harriers as they penned Tamworth back in their own half for long periods of the game.    The only break in our attacks came from numerous injuries to our players, Blackwood in particular being fond of the trainers cold sponge, and the pettiness of the Lincolnshire referee who kept stopping the game for the slightest reason.

Chances were dropping for both Simon Russell and Gareth Sheldon but neither of them could finish off the moves and put us further in front.    Russell saw one chance taken off the toe of his boots by the keeper after he hesitated for too long and Sheldon's inability to control the ball after the initial collection was frustrating to all Harriers fans, even the one's that didn't barrack him throughout the game like to group stood by me did.

With time running out we seemed to be settling for the draw and the introduction of Laurie Wilson for Russ Penn proved that.    We had another, more valid, call for a penalty after Ben Starosta blatantly handled the ball in the area but the excuse of a referee pretended not to notice it.

In the end the game fizzled out to a stalemate and the truth hit home to the exiting Harriers fans that without a striker of the calibre of Iyseden Christie we are doomed to be a struggling in mid table for the remainder of the season.
FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Tamworth: Williams 4
 Goal for Harriers: White 48

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Lee Thompson
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Tamworth  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Bowles     Danby  
A Smith gif   Osborn  
Stamps     Mullins gif
Roma     Penn  
Folkes     Sedgemore  
Starosta     Fleming  
Summerbee     Russell  
Jackson gif   Sheldon  
Davidson     White  
Ward     Thompson  
Williams gif   Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Breedon     Lewis  
Rickards     Wilson  
Heggs     Hurren  
J Francis     P Smith  
      F Francis  

REFEREE:
Mr M Harris
Lincolnshire




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