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Alfreton Town 1 Harriers 1

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Date: 22-09-12gif Venue: Impact Arenagif att: 659gif away fans: 150 est
Shots from all angles but again a single point

gif Report by Centreforeword
A pleasantly bright late September afternoon greeted Kidderminster Harriers' trip to the Impact Arena for this important tie in the Blue Square Bet Premier league.  Harriers, still pinned to the bottom of the table, were looking for their first win of the season after a run of four consecutive draws and Alfreton had just come off the back of beating Luton three nil and drawing away at promotion pushing Forest Green.

Harriers started with a 4-3-3 formation with the same back four of Lee Vaughan, Mickey Demetriou, Cheyenne Dunkley and Josh Gowling.  A Midfield comprised of Keith Briggs, James Vincent and Callum Gittings and up front were Nathan Blissett and Richard Peniket with Anthony Malbon tucking in behind the tall forwards to avoid the all too luring offside trap.  An astute move by Steve Burr and Gary Whild.

The home side could have been in front after just twenty seconds but Nathan Arnold saw his shot parried away by Harriers keeper Nathan Vaughan and indeed Town certainly had the best of the early exchanges.  Nevertheless, whilst soaking up the pressure, after eight minutes there was a chance on the break for the boys from Aggborough.  A superb move started by Briggs saw Gittings charge forward and provide Vincent with a great pass.  One on one with goalkeeper Jon Stewart, Vincent was denied by a good save but probably should have scored.

Despite some continued positive play from the home side, just after the fifteen minute mark a great delivery into the area from Josh Gowling brought about another good opportunity.  Nathan Blissett sent a strong, looping header towards the far corner of the Alfreton goal with the goalkeeper stood watching, but unfortunately the ball shaded the far post.

Midway through the half there was a snatched chance for Anthony Malbon as he dragged an effort wide off a deep delivery from Mickey Demetriou.  Malbon should have made more of the chance and probably would have done so last season.  Then former Harrier Dan Bradley saw a shot blocked at the other end of the field as Alfreton continued to look the most likely to score.

The home side's set-pieces were particularly dangerous and it was from a well worked throw in that they took the lead on twenty eight minutes.

Malbon lost the ball and left the Alfreton forwards in space.  Bradley then finished powerfully on the angle after being teed up by Nathan Arnold.

Going behind seemed to spur on the Carpetmen.  On thirty nine minutes they went close as Blissett powered forward on the break and blew the Alfreton defence away with his turn of pace.  He worked a great angle for himself before his attempted drive towards the far corner was intercepted on the line by a diving home team defender.

Malbon then crashed another chance over the bar as the visitors looked to turn up the pressure but could only go in at half time one down.
  HT: 1 - 0
Harriers came out of the traps at the start of the second half firing on all cylinders.

In fact the second period was only moments old when a Gittings corner found Blissett.  His powerful well directed header was blocked on the line by the Alfreton goalkeeper and Town then scrambled the danger away as Harriers threw a succession of balls into the area without finding a way through.

Stewart again proved an able last line of defence with an hour gone as he held on to a hard driven Malbon free-kick which went under the jumping wall.

As the Harriers piled on the relentless pressure he was nevertheless beaten four minutes later as the visitors got back on level terms.  Blissett, who was on fire all afternoon, rounded the defence superbly and fed Malbon on the edge of the area.  Malbon's finish showed the jubilant Harriers fans behind the goal that he was getting back to his old goal scoring ways as he curled a great finish into the corner of the net.

Marvin Johnson was the first Harriers change of the day as he replaced the relatively quiet Richard Peniket and, with the game entering its final quarter of an hour, Alfreton came back into it.  Indeed at this point in proceedings all could see that the game could go either way.

With just eight minutes to go Malbon dribbled with the ball on the edge of the area and got himself half a yard of space with no tackle coming in from the Alfreton back line.  Unfortunately though, his toe poke drew another smart save from Stewart.

Alfreton had a good penalty shout turned down in the closing stages but given Harriers' run up to this game, a draw was probably the most predictable closing scoreline.

All in all this was one of the better performances this season from the Harriers.  The frontline worked well together - particularly the linking up of Malbon and Blissett.  The midfield players more than held their own and the back line looked solid.

Nathan Blissett shone, showing some good skill and surprising pace - an old head on young shoulders.  Callum Gittings also had a very good game once more being the very able play maker in midfield until his withdrawal in favour of Ricky Shakes.

If Burr's men play like this against Cambridge on Tuesday and manage to put away more of the chances, then they should come away with their first win of the season.  This game left me feeling a lot more positive compared to the nil nil draw against Grimsby the previous Saturday.

Not trying to be unrealistic or look at things through rose tinted spectacles, but it is clear that the fixture list has been particularly unkind to Kidderminster at the start of this season.

To demonstrate, after ten games Harriers have not lost at home to any team in the bottom fifteen of the table.  Surely when those fixtures come round they will start getting some confidence boosting wins.  Also, the only team have have lost to in the bottom fifteen away from home in the first ten games of the season was on the first day when historically anything can happen.

Food for thought?
  FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Alfreton: Bradley 29
 Goal for Harriers: Malbon 65


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Alfreton Town  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Stewart     N Vaughan  
Law gif     L Vaughan  
Franklin     Demetriou  
Franks     Gowling  
Quinn     Dunkley  
Streete     Briggs  
Brown     Gittings gif  
Meadows gif     Vincent  
Wilson     Blissett  
Bradley gif gif     Malbon gif  
Arnold     Peniket gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Taylor gif     Lewis  
Clayton     Johnson gif  
Worsfold     Shakes gif  
Russell gif     Williams  
Tomlinson gif     Rowe  

REFEREE:
Mr J Whiteley
West Yorkshire





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