Deflected winner hits Harriers' play-off dream hard

First published in News

Telford 2
Harriers 1

HARRIER'S play-off hopes suffered a damaging setback as a freak goal assured their defeat at New Bucks Head on Tuesday night.

The Aggborough outfit had battled back from Phil Trainer's early goal thanks to a second half strike by Anthony Malbon.

But the visitors were stunned by a cruel deflected goal off Bucks skipper Chris Blackburn, who had marshalled the home defence impressively.

Harriers now find themselves seven points behind fifth-placed York with just nine games left and the play-offs dreams needing a mircale.

The visitors had plenty of pressure but could paid the price for poor defending from corners.

Harriers fell behind in the third minute when poor marking at a Jon Brown corner allowed Trainer to thump home a header at the far post.

Tom Marshall, making his first start since returning from his loan spell at Southern League side Brackley, nearly provided a reply from a Callum Gittings corner but powered his header off target.

The visitors then did their best to take the game to the home side, pushing them back and winning several corners but Telford resisted manfully.

Left-back Mickey Demetriou then saw a firm 20-yard effort fly wide in the 16th minute.

Despite all their pressure, Harriers had not really tested Bucks shot-stopper Ryan Young.

Young striker Malbon did his best to create an opening with a fine driving 20-yard run which forced a corner, from which Jack Byrne headed the ball into the arms of the keeper.

From yet another corner, taken by Nick Wright, Marshall saw a header skim wide but for all their possession, the visitors were lacking a cutting edge.

Veteran hitman Steve Guinan then saw a chip from the edge of the box fly over the bar after being set-up neatly by the lively Malbon.

Harriers keeper Tony Breeden kept Harriers in the game, diving to his left to get a hand to Brown's free-kick, which was arrowing towards the bottom corner.

Harriers made a change at the start of the second half, with Dan Bradley replacing Byrne.

But Malbon grabbed his third Harriers goal to level the scores in the 52nd minute, the young hitman heading Nick Wright's cross into the back of the net at the far post.

The visitors were reinvigorated by the leveller and they pushed for a second goal. Guinan had a close range header saved by Young, before Gittings saw a firm effort fly over the bar.

Kyle Storer nearly exacted revenge for being brought down by Richard Davies, for which the Telford man was booked, but the Bucks keeper was equal to his well-struck free-kick.

But the away team were stunned by a freak goal which left them trailing in the 65th minute. Harriers failed to adequately clear a corner and Davies's speculative long range effort took a wicked deflection off Blackburn and looped into the back of the net.

Harriers kept plugging away and substitute Lee Hendrie saw a long range shot fly over the bar in the 83rd minute.

At the other end, winger Marlon Jackson did well to work his way into the box but his shot struck a Harriers defender.

Wright then saw a strong shot hit Hendrie as the away side threw everything at Telford's defence but it wasn't enough as they slipped a disheartening defeat.

Harriers: Breeden; Vaughan; Marshall; Jones; Demetriou; Byrne (Bradley, 46) ; Gittings (Rowe, 82); Storer; Wright; Guinan (Hendrie, 74); Malbon.

Unused substitutes: Lyness; Williams.

Telford: Young; Salmon; Newton; Trainer; Perry; Preston; Blackburn; Jackson; Davies; Brown (Cain, 87); Sharp (Brooke, 74).

Unused substitutes: Clough; Smith; Robinson.

Referee: Darren Handley. Attendance: 2,192

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