- Andre Brown nets for Harriers
- Obeng strikes leveller for hosts
- Returns for Vaughan and Bradley
- A point in the bag ahead of Chorley
HARRIERS were held to a 1-1 draw at Leamington in their first away league game of 2018.
The home side had started well and forced Brandon Hall into a couple of neat saves, before Andre Brown’s goal put the Harriers into the ascendancy before the break.
Leamington equalised through Obeng on 56 minutes, with neither side able to force a further breakthrough.
It was actually Hall who had been the busier of the two keepers early on. Within a quarter-hour of the kick-off, home trio Felix, Dunbar and Gittings had all gone close, Hall called upon to make good saves to parry away efforts from the former two.
Leamington keeper Tony Breeden was almost embarrassed by Ironside as he tipped the ball into the striker’s path before his shot was clawed off the line – a minute later the deadlock broken as Brown’s drive looped up off a body in the box and landed into the back of the net.
Ngwatala went close with a shot over before the break before, just after, Breeden had to hold an O’Connor long-ranger. Just eleven after the restart, Obeng found the net against his former club as Harriers were charged down, his shot just rolling over the line after Hall had got an initial strong hand to it.
Tails up, the home side almost added a second minutes later only for sub Lee Vaughan to force his shot off the line, while skipper Croasdale had one of the visitors’ second half chances from distance as he forced Breeden into a low save.
Ngwatala and another sub in Bradley had further sights of the home goal as Harriers pushed forward for a second goal, while Hall needed to extend himself in the final minutes to keep out a driven shot from Revan.
HARRIERS head to Leamington on Saturday (3pm) with midfielder Elton Ngwatala keen to do everything it takes to get the victory.
The reds made a good start to 2018 with a win over AFC Telford on New Year’s Day.
Now, the first away trip of the calendar year sees the squad make the short journey to The Brakes.
Once again it won’t be an easy task; the hosts were unbeaten over the Christamas period thanks to two draws against Brackley and a superb victory over Tamworth.
On their own patch they’ll be keen to continue that momentum, so it’s little surprise that Ngwatala knows only the maximum will do when it comes to kick-off.
“Every game is difficult, and we have to prepare for the game right,” he told our YouTube channel.
“We have to go there and do everything to get the win.
“When you’re not losing games you have the confidence to know that when you play games you can actually win.”
The Frenchman himself is in good form, playing a big part in the New Year victory over the Bucks.
He revealed, however, he’s his own harshest critic by far and is rarely pleased with his own output – regardless of how well he’s playing.
He continued: “At the moment it is good, but I know I can do better.
“I am never happy with myself.
“I never say ‘I’ve played good’ – maybe I can play good, but I am never happy and always want to do more.
“My fitness now means I am ready and I can run for 90 minutes with no problem.
“It helps me a lot.”
Harriers will be keeping fingers crossed that the current injury situation will ease itself over the course of the coming days with the trip to Chorley following swiftly after Saturday’s game.
“Every game is difficult, and we have to prepare for the game right..." Elton Ngwatala
Emmanuel Sonupé sustained an ankle injury in the Telford game while Andre Brown was also withdrawn. Declan Weeks (knee) and Joe Ironside (ankle) missed time over the festive period, as did Lee Vaughan who is dealing with a niggly knee issue of his own.
Dan Bradley, it is hoped, will also be on the verge of a return in the coming weeks after keyhole surgery earlier in the winter.
It has proved to be at testing time for the squad with numbers stretched, but the Aggborough talisman says he’s impressed with the quality-in-depth of the changing room.
Having seen the likes of Weeks and Sam Austin bide their time for first-team action this season, he knows any one of the group can be called up on to do a job, and do it well.
Reflecting back on the busy programme of games just gone, he said: “It was good because everybody worked hard in both of those games.
“In attack, midfield and defence, everyone did the same work and worked for each other.
“When the likes of Dec and Sam have played, they’ve played really well and that’s good for the team.
“Whoever plays can do the job properly.”
WATCH: Elton Ngwatala’s full pre-match video interview on our YouTube channel by clicking the video tab above.
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Elton Ngwatala pre-match