Match report Vs Darlington FCVenue: AggboroughDate: 08-02-20Att: 1509 (away fans: 161)

The Harriers live to rue the missed chances

Report: Harriershane

Buoyed by last week’s unexpected victory over pacesetters Kings Lynn Town the Harriers were back at Aggborough looking to string together back to back wins for the first time this season. Jimmy Shan recalled Ed Williams in light of Austin Samuels’ injury, whilst Declan Weeks remained out.

It was Harriers who were making all of the early running in this game, racking up a total of seven shots in the opening fifteen minutes or so, including a wild effort from Rhys Williams, an effort from range from Alex Prosser before the former Aston Villa trainee tried his luck again after Ashley Chambers took advantage of a defensive slip; this time Liam Connell was equal to the task.

With seventeen minutes played the Harriers offensive momentum continued as Ed Williams and Ashley Hemmings combined to tee up Milan Butterfield, but the Bermudan could only shape his effort wide.

Following the flurry of that opening period the game petered out for a period as Darlington began to defend slightly higher and allowed the game to get bogged down in the midfield battles.

Indeed, it would be the first minute of injury time before they tried to test Will Mannion in the Harriers goal. That effort was met with ironic cheers from the one hundred and sixty or so travelling supporters.

HT: 0 – 0

The second half started with Harriers back in the ascendancy and it was only their own over-elaboration that kept the score goalless. Sam Austin, in at left back once again, was released clean through on ball by Ashley Hemmings and, instead of firing the ball home himself from point blank range, opted to square the ball to Ed Williams. Presented with an open goal the ball appeared to be slightly behind him and as he fell, he could only feebly divert the ball goalwards where it would be cleared off the line.

It was a case of literally trying to walk the ball in. It was also a case of “how?”

The Harriers would waste another chance soon after as a dangerous Ryan Johnson cross was laid off for Hemmings to blast over the bar from twelve yards out. What followed in the fifty seventh minute was, frankly, quality of the highest order.

On the attack, Darlington sprung the offside trap and found Adam Campbell out wide and his cross was cleared out to Will Hatfield, approximately forty yards out. The former Guiseley man took a touch, brought it forward a couple of yards and unleashed hell. His effort was swerving and dipping and settled in the top corner, leaving Mannion well beaten. Hatfield will probably never hit a ball as sweetly as long as he continues playing. I am certainly struggling to think of many better that I have seen scored against Harriers.

Aggborough was stunned into silence but then was quickly roused into celebration as Harriers hit back immediately with their own high quality goal.

A cross into the area was glanced away, falling kindly for an onrushing Prosser who watched the ball all the way onto his foot and volleyed it past Liam Connell for his second goal in as many games. There can be no doubt that Shan is getting the best out of Prosser and he is certainly much improved from the player we saw ditched quickly by John Pemberton.

The race was on to notch a winner with Connell saving from Austin. Omar Holness managed to breach the Harriers backline but delayed his shot far too long, allowing Austin to get back at him and win a goal kick in the process.

Harriers could have won it through sub Correy Davidson as Hemmings threaded through another superb ball to set the wing back free on his left foot. Connell closed the angle down well though, forcing Davidson to try and place the ball under him, which he was unable to do.

The spoils were shared but on another day we would be discussing a 3-1 win.

The long trip to Farsley Celtic awaits on Tuesday night as Harriers look to increase their eight point gap to second bottom Blyth before the even longer trip to Gateshead awaits on Saturday.

FT: 1 – 1

Goal for Harriers: Prosser 61

Goal for Darlington: Hatfield 57

The Harriers Online MotM is: Alex Prosser

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Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
R Williams        
Lowe   70  
E Williams   58  
Freemantle   58  
Davidson   70  
Darlington FC Goals Subs Time Cards
Reid   73  
Thompson   68
Elliott   68  
Holness   73  
Mr Michael Barlow