Darlington 0(0) v (0)2 Kidderminster Harriers

Football League Two - Darlington Arena - 26 March 2005

Attendance: 6972

Individual Stats
v Kidderminster
Sam Russell 50(1)0100[23/15]John Danby 60(1)0100
Ryan Valentine 500021[2/8]Simon Weaver 500210
Jason St Juste 500210[29/22]Wayne Hatswell 601000
David McGurk 501100[15/28]Mark Jackson 600000
Brian Close 500100[27/6]Johnny Mullins 61(1)1200
Matt Clarke 51(1)2110[5/11]Dean Keates 811200
Mark Convery 500000[11/21]Bertrand Cozic 501100
Matty Appleby 500110[33/2]Lee Jenkins 502010
Alun Armstrong 501011[19/7]Chris Beardsley 602113
Akpo Sodje 502043[34/12]Blair Sturrock 501100
Jonjo Dickman 500100[31/23]John McGrath 601120
Neil Wainwright 500010[7/9]Iyseden Christie 601011
Adolfo Gregorio     [12/14]Billy Jones 500000
Craig Russell 500000[14/19]Simon Russell     
Curtis Fleming     [26/29]Mark Rawle 6 10120
Adrian Webster 500110[28/1]Daniel Lewis     
Team Stats
  Fouls Conceded Offside Corners Shots On Shots off
Darlington Kidderminster
   81Dean KeatesMcGrath won possession in midfield and made a surging run forward before feeding the ball to Christie.  His shot was parried by Russell but Keates was on hand to turn in the loose ball from close range.
   90Mark RawleChristie flicked on a long kick from Danby, Rawle dispossessed Close and took the ball around Russell and rolled it into the empty net.
Valentine   St Juste
 Armstrong Sodje 
WeaverJackson MullinsHatswell
CozicJenkins KeatesMcGrath
 Beardsley Sturrock 
Darlington Kidderminster
52C. RussellArmstrongC. Russell to striker. 46RawleSturrockRawle to striker.
66WebsterConveryWebster to right central midfield. 70ChristieBeardsleyChristie to striker.
67WainwrightValentineWainwright to right wing back. 88 JenkinsKeates to central midfield.  Now 4-3-2.
    90+JonesChristieJones to left midfield, McGrath to left central midfield, Keates to right central midfield.  Now 4-4-1.
Darlington Kidderminster
McGurk 79 Foul Jenkins 72 Foul
Jenkins 88 Dissent
Jenkins 88 Persistent Misconduct
Referee: P. Robinson (East Yorkshire)
Match Report by St@tto

Harriers' hopes of avoiding relegation took a massive boost after late goals from Dean Keates and Mark Rawle, his first for the club, completed a smash-and-grab at the Williamson Motors Stadium, allowing Harriers to complete their first double of the season and close the gap to safety to just one point.

Stuart Watkiss named an unchanged team from the one that drew the previous game with Rushden & Diamonds, Lee Jenkins overcoming the knee injury that has dogged him for the past few weeks. Darlington were celebrating the completion of their new stadium with the official opening of the North Stand, 18 months after Harriers had been the first visitors to the stadium when it was first opened.  Harriers set out to be party-poopers once again and were soon on top of the game.  A corner from the right to the far post was headed back across goal by Wayne Hatswell and Johnny Mullins was on had to turn the ball goalwards, unfortunately for the visitors his shot was weak and easily dealt with by the home defence.

With Rushden having played and lost the night before Harriers knew that victory would close the gap to just one point and they played with a purpose that showed that victory was the target, not just to settle for a point.  A dour first half had Harriers on top throughout, although there was little incident, and all of the best scoring chances fell to The Reds; Blair Sturrock got to the byline on the right and crossed to the far post where John McGrath was denied by a fine last-ditch tackle by Ryan Valentine at the expense of a corner.  John Danby was rarely called into action, fielding one effort from Matt Clarke and racing off his line to clear a long ball.

After the break Harriers stepped up their efforts a little and went close to an early goal; a Keates corner was only half cleared and Mullins was the man in place again but this time he shot wide.  Keates was involved in all of Harriers' best play and his pass set Bertrand Cozic free on the right wing, his low cross to the near post was cut out by Sam Russell at the feet of Chris Beardsley.  The home team were not dead yet and a corner from the right by Jason St Juste was headed over the bar at the far post by Clarke.

Harriers had to be patient, although dominating possession they were not breaking down the home defence; Mark Rawle had replaced Sturrock at half time and Beardsley was taken off in favour of Iyseden Christie with 20 minutes to go in an attempt to liven up the attack. Ten minutes from time a free kick awarded just outside the penalty area offered some hope but McGrath's shot went well over the bar.

The breakthrough came moments later, however; Matty Appleby was caught in possession in midfield by McGrath who then made a surging run through the middle before sliding a pass to Christie on his right, the big striker's shot was parried by Russell but only as far as Keates who was able to slot the ball home from a few feet out.  At the other end Clarke headed over again, this time from an Appleby cross.  Harriers were ensured a tense finale when Simon Weaver conceded a free kick on the touchline and Lee Jenkins kicked the ball away to waste a few seconds; Jenkins had already been shown the yellow card for an earlier foul so his second meant that Harriers had to see out the final couple of minutes with ten men.

The tension was lifted in the last minute; a a long clearance from Danby was flicked on by Christie for Rawle who won possession off Brian Close and took the ball around Russell before sliding it into the empty net.  Christie was then substituted, much to his displeasure, as Harriers shut up shop to see out stoppage time before scenes of great delight greeted the final whistle both on and off the field, while the Darlington players were booed off the pitch.