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Malbon the difference as Harriers scrap to derby win
9:51pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 in News
Nuneaton 0, Harriers 1
HARRIERS showed more grit and determination to win a scrappy Midlands derby on Tuesday night.
Anthony Malbon's sixth goal in five games proved to be the difference.
But they were denied a chance of going top of the Blue Square Premier as leaders Wrexham edged out Barrow despite being reduced to ten men.
Lee Vaughan returned to the side after a two-game enforced injury absence, while Callum Gittings was preferred in midfield to James Vincent.
The first half was a scrappy affair where Nuneaton did their best to attack the away side down the right wing.
It was the visitors who had the best early chances and former Nuneaton man Kyle Storer smashed a shot in on target but it took several deflections before flying wide.
Vaughan then tried his luck from distance but his low effort failed to test keeper Lee Burge, who is on-loan from Coventry City.
Nuneaton grew in confidence and showed plenty of spirit as the half went on.
Wesley York looked lively on the right wing and delivered a host of crosses which the away defence dealt with.
The Nuneaton wideman also saw a 20-yard effort fly over the bar.
The home side also had spells of pressure but failed to test keeper Danny Lewis.
With Harriers struggling to get behind the home defence, they were reduced to pot-shots from distance, with Marvin Johnson seeing a speculative effort fly off target.
Harriers started the second half with more purpose but they struggled to find the killer ball in the final third.
Anthony Malbon had done well to hold up the ball near the touchline and find Vaughan out wide but the chance went begging when he swung in an aimless cross.
The home side were also looking to make a breakthrough and York flashed a 20-yard shot straight at Burge.
But Burr introduced striker Ryan Rowe for Amari Morgan-Smith in the 56h minute and his arrival gave the home defence something else to think about.
The away side survived a scare when Adam Walker swept a shot wide after a speedy break.
Harriers started to crank up the pressure and it took a fine double save by Burge to keep the away side out.
The keeper got a hand to Josh Gowling's header and then got a hand to Rowe's stabbed effort.
But Harriers made the breakthrough in the 69th minute when Danny Jackman was fouled by Walker.
Mickey Demetriou's free-kick was parried by Burge and after a frantic goal-mouth scramble, Malbon fired home from close range at the second time of asking.
But it needed a good save by Harriers shot-stopper in the 80th minute to maintain the away team's lead. Simon Forsdick lashed in a shot but the custodian dived to his left to get a hand to it.
Storer nearly doubled Harriers' lead moments later when he curled in a free-kick which smashed off the far post.
But Harriers saw off late pressure in the final minute of time added on, as Nuneaton forced a free-kick and corner, to record a 15th win in 17 matches.
Harriers: Lewis, Vaughan, Demetriou, Storer, Malbon (Pearson, 83), Johnson (Devaney, 74) , Jackman, Gittings, Morgan-Smith (Rowe, 56), Dunkley, Gowling.
Subs: Williams, N Vaughan.
Nuneaton: Burge, Phillips, McNamee, Cowan, Dean, Forsdick, York, Walker (Taylor, 77), Brown, Moult (Sleath, 83), Armson.
Subs: Cartwright, Adams, O'Halloran.
Referee: Charle Breakspear Attendance: 1087 (412)