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Luckless Forest Green come up short

By PeteOrchard  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

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LUCK was in extremely short supply as Forest Green came unstuck against the Blue Square Bet Premier's form outfit.

Anthony Malbon's 26th minute rasper gave Kidderminster a half-time lead they scarcely deserved, and they withstood a barrage in the second period to claim the spoils and usurp Dave Hockaday's men in third place.

Ravaged by injuries, Rovers lined up with Eddie Oshodi in an unfamiliar midfield role against a Kidderminster side boasting 12 wins from their last 14 outings.

Yet they began brightly, Chris Stokes fizzing a cross-shot across the face of goal after decent hold-up play by Magno Vieira on the right.

The Harriers had matched up the hosts' 4-3-3 formation and looked content to soak up pressure, and the opening goal owed more to defensive laxity than scintillating attacking play.

It stemmed from a routine ball across the penalty area which nobody cleared, giving Malbon time and space to turn and drill home emphatically past a helpless Sam Russell.

Rovers almost hit back two minutes later, Stokes again providing excellent service from the right and Vieira swivelling to send a volley over the crossbar.

Another decent chance went begging in the 38th minute when Yan Klukowski swung over an enticing free-kick and Oshodi headed powerfully into the Rockwool Stand.

Momentum was undoubtedly with the men in green as half-time approached, but Kidderminster escaped again in stoppage time when Matty Taylor's lay-off was ballooned over by James Norwood.

For all the home possession Harriers keeper Danny Lewis had not been tested, but that changed six minutes into the second period when Klukowski bent a free-kick over the wall from 22 yards and forced a plunging save.

Two minutes later Norwood seemed to catch Lewis flat-footed with an audacious effort with the outside of his boot, only to see it drift over.

Kidderminster still had just one shot on target to their name when they came within a whisker of doubling their lead on 64 minutes, Amari Morgan-Smith's header tipped brilliantly onto the crossbar by Russell.

Back came Rovers, Klukowski getting on the end of a Paul Green free-kick but failing to divert his header on target.

Substitute Yemi Odubade teed up Norwood for a snap-shot wide before Taylor sliced one wide from a promising position.

There was another scare for Lewis when his attempted clearance was charged down by Klukowski and ran to safety, but seconds later he pulled off a fine low stop to deny Taylor.

The outstanding Green saw a 25-yard drive loop wildly off a defender and bounce narrowly wide late on, summing up a night of huge frustration.

It could even have got worse in stoppage time when Danny Jackman found himself on the end of a counter-attack, curling a shot against the far post with Russell beaten.

Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, J. Turley, E. Asafu-Adjaye, C. Stokes; P. Green, E. Oshodi (Y. Odubade 73), Y. Klukowski; M. Vieira, M. Taylor, J. Norwood (B. Wright 85); Subs not used: A. Racine, J. Rowe, M. Bulman.

Kidderminster Harriers: D. Lewis; R. Shakes, J. Gowling, C. Dunkley, M. Demetriou; J. Vincent, K. Storer, A. Malbon; D. Pilkington (D. Jackman 46), A. Morgan-Smith (R. Rowe 82), M. Johnson; Subs not used: M. Williams, N. Vaughan.

Referee: K. Evans (Lancs)

Attendance: 1,449

Star man: Paul Green

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