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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 24 Apr 10 at 16:55 PM

FULL TIME: Mansfield 3-3 Harriers

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

Kidderminster Harriers staged a simply incredible second half comeback at Mansfield on Saturday as three goals saw them come from 3-0 down at Field Mill on the final day of the Blue Square Premier season.

Both sides moved the ball around really well on a dry and bumpy surface, and it was the hosts who created the first opportunities of the day, skipper Luke Foster firing over just before Matt Somner saw a header comfortably held by goalkeeper Dean Coleman, back between the sticks for his first League game since his groin surgery.

Jake Speight was making a was making a menace of himself just 12 minutes in and after being skipper Tom Sharpe at the far post he should certainly have done better with a free sight of goal, shooting wide as he did of Coleman's upright.

With 18 minutes on the clock the Stags forced the lead with the opening goal of the day - Harriers simply didn't deal with their surge forward and there was no challenge at all on Speight as he advanced towards the area, and sensing his freedom he curled a superb shot past Coleman and into the back of the net.

Harriers' afternoon got worse as Speight's got better on 24 minutes. The Stags' man beat Chris McPhee to the ball on the far side level with the half-way mark - the two stood toe-to-toe as Speight gradually cut-inside, still the challenge never came and the finish was all too comfortable as Mansfield netted their second of the day.

Three before the half-hour mark Robbie Matthews should have done better when he slammed wide after Jack Byrne's simple centre, whilst Rob Duffy put a header wide at the other end with just eleven to go until the interval.

Unfortunately for Harriers the mistakes kept coming; Sharpe was perhaps unlucky as the ball bounced over him in the area and into the path of Speight who'd got goal side of him - Speight's resultant stab at the ball was less than powerful, though it was enough for his hat-trick in injury time at the end of the half, Coleman helpless as the ball trickled under his hand and into the back of the net.

Harriers must quite simply have had a roasting at half-time, charged with coming out with more gusto in the second period. The impact was immediate as they pulled a goal back within five minutes - decent forward movement paid off and Smikle was able to put in a deep cross towards the far post which was thumped home by the head of Jack Byrne, his first goal for the club.

Within eight minutes of that re-start it was 3-2 as the men in red-and-white halves shocked Field Mill - McPhee's superb movement distracted the home defence and presented Darryl Knights with a gap to run in to, supplied with the ball by John Finnigan, he moved centrally on Alan Marriott's goal before powering home a finish.

There was then a chance apiece as both sides went extremely close to adding to their totals; Duffy headed just wide of the far post with Coleman stranded, whilst Baker had Marriott beaten with a shot from 20 yards that fizzed narrowly wide of the target.

Byrne's trademark clever movement on 70 minutes almost got Harriers an equaliser, he was able to ghost in at the far post and latch on to Baker's deep cross, his contact was good but luckily for Marriott the ball was driven straight at his body. Just after, Coleman was at full-stretch to deny Speight a fourth, keeping out his shot just inside the area.

Never has a second half performance differed from a first half showing than on this day in Mansfield - Harriers just refused to let off and they were rewarded with a remarkable but deserved equaliser with just 16 minutes to go . Almost out of sheer frustration, McPhee thrashed a boot at one from around 20 yards that flew with menace past Marriott and into his top corner.

The balance now in their favour, Harriers had chances to astonishingly notch a fourth as sub Lloyd Kerry hit at Marriott and McPhee's shot was well blocked. Mansfield remained a real threat at the other end and Harriers needed quality saves from Coleman to keep the scores level as he parried Speight's header and Somner's header.

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