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Match Report


Posted Tue 08 Sep 09 at 22:09 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 3-1 Mansfield

Harriers got back to winning ways in fine style on Tuesday evening as they saw-off promotion contenders Mansfield Town 3-1 in an excellent game at Aggborough.

It was a bright start to the match from both teams with Harriers determined to take the game to their more highly-fancied hosts from the off - Brian Smikle at the tip of the first chance on seven minutes as he hit a low shot towards the waiting arms of Alan Marriott.

The impressive Stags showed their ability on the counter-attack early on but with 13 minutes on the clock it was a deadly home counter that opened the scoring - Smikle's lobbed ball over the Town back-line dropped superbly for Matthew Barnes-Homer who advanced on Marriott and lashed the ball past him one-on-one.

Seven minutes later it should have been two - Darryl Knights' superb delivery from a free-kick saw the ball floated around the wall and just past the outstretched boot of Gavin Caines, flashing across goal.

After a frantic opening the pace of the game eventually tailed off and fans were treated to a proper battle - good, honest 50/50 challenges and nobody making a meal out of anything. Harriers were determined and robust, standing up to the physical challenge presented by a confident visiting side.

Mansfield were forced into a change before the break with veteran hit-man Daryl Clare limping off to be replaced by the lively Kyle Perry.

Just moments before the interval Harriers almost nicked a second - Chris McPhee rose up well to meet a long throw into the box, flicking it on to Barnes-Homer who could only manage to nudge it over the bar.

Harriers, no doubt braced for an onslaught in the second half, went and notched that vital second within a couple of minutes of the re-start, much to the shock of the vocal Stags fans who were urging their side on.

With 47 on the clock it was tremendous corner delivery from Knights - inch perfect and straight onto the head of the towering Gavin Caines who powered it forcefully past Marriott for his first in club colours.

Bang on the hour mark, another excellent corner play almost got the game it's third goal - this time it was at the other end as Gary Mills lofted in for Perry who did everything right in heading the effort downwards but there was too much on it and the bounce took it over the bar.

Shortly after it all threatened to get out of hand as handbags at ten paces in the area saw the flashing of four yellow cards, two apiece as the referee did well to keep a lid on the situation to ensure an excellently-spirited game didn't boil over.

All that was put to bed in the 70th minute - Smikle battled his way past two men into the area, slipping a fantastic through ball to McPhee who, first time, drilled a fine low finish past Marriott to put the home side three goals to the good.

Nine minutes later front man Knights checked left and right with the ball on the corner of the area before deciding to shoot - the effort was a strong, low drive that Marriott got down to superbly on the slippery turf.

Harriers had a chance to make it four and complete the rout just after the 80th minute mark - Barnes-Homer's belting shot blocked by a defending hand in the box. The striker stepped up to take the awarded penalty but Marriott was equal to it and pulled off a smart stop.

It was same again once more in terms of roles reversed moments later - a penalty awarded to the Stags four minutes from time after Lee Baker was adjudged to have handled Mills' shot - Rob Duffy stepped up and sent Coleman the wrong way to make it 3-1.

The final action of the night saw deserving Sponsors' Man of the Match Darryl Knights go close to capping a strong performance with a goal - a great turn and shot on the edge of the area forcing Marriott into yet another good save.

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