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FULL TIME:BRAINTREE 1 HARRIERS 1
10:45pm Tuesday 4th September 2012 in News
Harriers climbed off the foot of the Blue Square Bet Premier with a 1-1 draw at Braintree Town with a performance that might yet turn the season in the side’s favour.
Going into the game at the Amlin Stadium, boss Steve Burr made three changes to the starting line-up in the wake of the 1-1 defeat at Barrow; Josh Gowling making his club debut with Josh Peniket getting his first start – winger Marvin Johnson also restored as Ryan Austin, Nathan Blissett and Callum Gittings missed out.
The beginning to the game was played at a frantic pace as both sides created chances from the off; Peniket, on loan from Fulham, having the best of the opportunities for the visitors as he hit the bar with one header and saw another effort clawed off the line with less than ten minutes played.
The Iron remained a threat on the break and in Michael Gash they boasted one of the most renowned strikers at the level. With eleven minutes on the clock he showed a real glimpse of his quality; finding room inside the area and striking at goal, only Nathan Vaughan’s woodwork coming to the rescue as the ball thumped off the upright.
Six minutes later, though, the Harriers goal was breached and it was the Iron’s other striker, in-form Danny Holman, who made the breakthrough. The former Histon man produced the goal almost entirely on his own, keeping the ball on the 18 yard line before turning his man and beating the helpless Vaughan with a sweet curling drive into the top corner.
Harriers did their best to respond through Storer and Peniket, but just a couple of minutes after the restart Braintree went close once more as Brad Quinton blazed one over from distance. Steve Burr made two changes around the hour mark and one of those, Nathan Blissett, immediately went close to making it 1-1 as his back-heel from close range was met by a good save from Naisbitt.
The raft of substitutions from both sides midway through the second half left the game with a disjointed feel though another arrival in Steve Guinan took aim from 20 yards with 74 minutes on the clock with a shot that floated just over the target.
A free kick awarded in a strong position for Harriers pretty much summed up the night – the delivery from Johnson was strong and kept out well by Naisbitt, the return shot from Vaughan equally well blocked by the home defence and Storer’s eventual attempt going over the bar.
Harriers and their supporters looked like they could be heading home empty handed with what would have been an undeserved sixth defeat of the campaign but with two minutes of normal time remaining, the all-important goal arrived.
A free-kick had been given Harriers’ way on the edge of the area and on the angle – the ball rolled to the feet of Demetriou who took aim and saw his initial shot charged down; meeting it at the second attempt with a rifling shot that stormed into the top corner, past Naisbitt and a crowd of bodies.
Braintree: Naisbitt, Peters (Paine 690, Habergham, Bailey-Dennis, Quinton, Symons, Davis, Sparkes (Dawkin 73), Gash, Wells, Holman (Markes 85). Subs not used: McDonald, Mulley.
Harriers: N Vaughan, L Vaughan, Dunkley, Gowling, Demetriou, Pilkington, Storer, Briggs (Vincent), Johnson, Peniket (Guinan 71), Malbon (Blissett 59). Subs not used: Panther, Williams.
Referee: John Hopkins