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Resilient Harriers see off play-off rivals
9:56pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 in News
Forest Green Rovers 0, Harriers 1
ANTHONY Malbon bagged the winner as superb Harriers saw off their rivals for the play-offs on a tense Tuesday night in Gloucestershire.
The young hitman bagged his fourth goal in three games as Steve Burr's impressive side leaped over Rovers to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The win was built on a superb defensive display, marshalled expertly by the inspired Josh Gowling.
Keeper Danny Lewis also produced a dazzling second half display and made a host of vital blocks.
Harriers were forced to make a change before the game as defender Lee Vaughan missed out because of a groin injury.
That saw winger Ricky Shakes brought into the side at right back.
The former Ebbsfleet man produced a diligent display as he stuck to his defensive duties.
But in a very tight game there was little to choose between the sides.
The home side were starting to crank up the pressure when Malbon swept Harriers into the lead in the 26th minute.
Shakes found Marvin Johnson on the right, who hooked in the ball. Keeper Sam Russell missed the cross, which ricocheted off Morgan-Smith to the young hitman, who swept home.
Forest Green tried to roar back but the well-drilled visitors stood firm.
Rovers danger man Magno Vieira was booked for diving after he was solidly tackled by Kyle Storer.
Midfield enforcer Eddie Oshodi also powered a header over at the far post.
The host's best chance fell to top-scorer James Norwood in the 46th minute when Matty Taylor teed him up but the striker swept the ball over the bar.
Norwood was going down too easily and he won a free-kick after being challenged by Storer early in the second half.
Yan Klukowski's free-kick arced over the wall but keeper Danny Lewis got both hands behind his effort to make a fine save.
Norwood then cut in from the left wing and curled a fine effort over the bar.
Despite being under pressure, the away team nearly added a second in the 64th minute. Harriers' first corner of the game was not cleared properly by Rovers and Demetriou delivered a good cross and Gowling directed a header towards the near top corner but keeper Russell clawed it away desperately.
Forest Green kept pushing on and brought on attacker Yemi Odubade for the defensive Oshodi.
Klukowski missed a good effort, shooting wide of the near post after good work by Odubade.
Lewis then produced a fine save, blocking Taylor's shot from 12 yards out with his legs.
Odubade thought he had found a leveller when his shot from the edge of the box deflected off Danny Jackman but it flew just wide.
Jackman was unlucky not to add a second in time added on.
Shakes drove down the right wing and found the unmarked midfielder, who curled in a fine effort but Russell stretched out a hand to touch it onto the post.
But resilient Reds kept another clean sheet to record their first ever league win at the New Lawn.
Harriers: Lewis, Demetriou, Storer, Vincent (Pearson, 70), Malbon, Johnson, Pilkington (Jackman, 46), Shakes, Morgan-Smith (Rowe , 82), Dunkley, Gowling.
Subs: Williams, N Vaughan.
Forest Green: Russell, Hodgkiss, Stokes, Turley, Klukowski, Vieira, Taylor, Oshodi (Odubade, 73), Asafu-Adjaye, Norwood (Wright, 85), Green.
Subs: Bulman, Rowe, Racine.
Referee: Karl Evans (Lancashire FA).