A much changed Harriers dominated the first half of a game again but in a contrasting second half they failed to increase the scoreline and, although they were in no real danger of losing, left their fans feeling that we still lack that killer edge. Next week in the biggest game of the season for us we'll need that missing edge if we can hope to come back from Fylde with the points.
Today, against a poor Alfreton side, we had the debut of Daniel Nti following his arrival at Aggborough on Thursday and he occupied the wide slot normally taken by Tyrell Waite who had been moved into the central striking position at the expense of Andre Brown. This was obviously a trial move by the management and although it didn't backfire you felt that a more dominant striker was needed there. Tyrell did ok though.
Missing with a hamstring injury was Arthur Gnahoua, he could be out for at least four weeks, so Sam Austin came on in his place after impressing, again, at FC Utd last week. Liam Truslove continued to deputise for the also injured Elton N'Gwatala.
The game started at a pace and we should have hit the back of the net at least four times if it hadn't been for some inspiring keeping from Fabian Spiess in goal for the visitors. A well struck effort from Truslove was palmed away and then a shot from new boy Nti saw the keeper dive down low to keep his shot out. Other shots hit the bar and one from Austin was going in until it took a deflection as Spiess was diving across goal only for it to hit his foot.
The goal came from some hesitation in the Alfreton defence when Adam Smith dithered too long on the ball in the area and found himself robbed of it by Tunnicliffe. He tried to get the ball back but only managed to bring Tunnicliffe down as the referee pointed to the spot. James McQuilkin stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake delivering it with power into the back of the net.
We continued to press the shaky Alfreton defence into making mistakes but Spiess was proving harder to beat until a McQuilkin corner looked to be going too low and too soft to trouble even the poorest of defenders but again it wasn't dealt with and Truslove was there to tidy up with a superbly taken shot on the turn that Spiess didn't stand a chance of stopping. Four minutes later and we had done to them what they had done to us in the corresponding game back in September when they took a 3-0 lead in the first half. We just had to make sure that we didn't allow them three goals in the second half.
Our third, and final, goal from a superb ball out of defence from Keith Lowe when he spotted Josh Ezewele free on the right. Ezewele collected it gratefully then took it on past a defender before a pin point cross into the box for our new centre forward to strike cleanly into the bottom corner.
We continued to go in search of more goals and Zaine Francis-Angol tried his luck with a surging run into the area but again Spiess was having none of it and kept his shot out. Truslove was looking for his second goal and took aim but this time an Alfreton defender had woken up and had enough on it to deflect it over the bar for another corner.
Sam Austin was also trying hard to get in on the act with two chances. The first saved and the second just over the bar.