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Match Report


Posted Sat 03 Apr 10 at 16:51 PM

FULL TIME: Altrincham 3-2 Harriers

Report by Matt Wall - stats provided and generated for by the Press Association.

A deeply frustrating Blue Square Premier day on Saturday saw Harriers take the lead but end up on the wrong end of a five-goal encounter as Altrincham won out 3-2 at Moss Lane.

This one almost got off to the quickest and poorest of starts for Harriers - inside two minutes they were nearly caught by an Altrincham counter-attack; the ball being spread by Chris Senior out to Adam Carden who, centrally and outside the area, lifted a shot just over the bar of goalkeeper Ross Atkins.

Both sides pressed well early but it was still Alty creating the better of those initial chances, Shaun Densmore trying his luck from 18 yards with Atkins again forced into action.

With a quarter hour gone, just after Brian Smikle had seen an effort ruled out for offside, Harriers made the breakthrough and took the lead with their first real chance of the afternoon; fine tenacity by skipper Chris McPhee saw him keep the ball in at the by-line before pulling back a tight cross to the feet of Robbie Matthews who finished from close range into the back if the net.

Harriers kept moving forward to try and add to their lead but within ten minutes of their opener, they found themselves back on level terms. Carden's deep delivery towards the far post was of some quality but in truth, Denham on the end of it seemed to do no more than stick a right boot at it but having got the best of Tom Sharpe, that touch was enough to send in back across Atkins and into the back of the net.

That evening up of things seemed to have settled the game down a little as Altrincham did a superb job of blocking and defending all Harriers did; some eight minutes before the break there was a brace of half-chances for the visitors as Jack Byrne fired wide before McPhee volleyed over.

A mad couple of minutes spark the game back in to life in the dying moments of the first period - first Altrincham completed their comeback as they went 2-1 up. Harriers were attacking but were robbed of possession in the centre circle as Denham stole from McPhee - he played a fine one-two with fellow danger man Carden who saw his shot saved excellently by Atkins, the former on hand to head in the re-bound.

If the gap between Harriers first and Altrincham's equaliser was short, you'd barely had chance to blink after the hosts' second before the visitors themselves restored parity. Galloping away down the away flank, Dean Bennett was given time and space to loop a ball into the box over the head of Coburn and to Matthews who bundled in his second of the day.

You always sensed there would be more goals in this one but that perhaps you'd have to wait more than just a couple of minutes into the second half for them to arrive - not so! Greg Young cannot have scored many a better goal in his entire career but he took Altrincham's third of the day in real style - picking the ball up from plenty inside his own half before virtually waltzing through the entire Harriers side before poking a finish under the body of the utterly exposed Atkins who could do nothing about it.

Four prior to the hour mark Harriers may have done better in finding another equaliser - Darryl Knights put a good free-kick at the near post on to the head of Riley who got up superbly well, only to direct a decent enough header straight down the head of Coburn. Just after, Bennett saw a shot held from just inside the area.

On 65 minutes the visitors went a little closer - given room to charge outside the area, Smikle closed down on Coburn's goal before firing a rising effort from some 20 yards that flew just over the top corner with the goalkeeper beaten all ends up.

Harriers threw on Lloyd Kerry to replace the injured Duane Courtney, Goodfellow to replace McPhee and James Lawrie to take the place of Knights in the second period as they desperately looked for yet another equaliser - Knights' last action to be denied by the offside flag with around 11 minutes to go as he looked to play Smikle in on an open goal.

Altrincham needed some last-ditch defending to stay ahead in the dying moments - Dinsmore blocking off the line from line from Dinsmore before Smike saw a close-range shot excellently kept out by goalkeeper Coburn.

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