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Match Report


Posted Sat 04 Sep 10 at 16:51 PM

FULL TIME: Altrincham 1-2 Harriers

Match report by Matt Wall - stats provided and generated by the Press Association

Second half goals from Callum Gittings and Chris McPhee helped Harriers pick up their second win of the season on Saturday as they won 2-1 away at Altrincham in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

It was the home side who had the best early chance in this game and they perhaps should have taken it, with just two minutes on the clock. A free-kick in the area wasn't properly dealt with and front man James McCarthy looked to have forced the ball into the top corner of Daniel Lewis' goal, only for Michael Briscoe to intercept with an excellent header over the bar.

Just after the quarter-hour mark Harriers forced a scare in the home goal, Nick Wright was prowling out wide and drove a firm cross along the face of goal that 'keeper James Coates grabbed but then spilled - luckily for him the loose ball was stabbed clear by Rob Williams and away.

In the final minutes of what was a frustrating half, Harriers finally began to find some end product to what had been some fairly heavy territorial dominance - first Jack Byrne wrestled free some 35 yards from goal, advancing on the area before firing a shot on the angle that looked to have had the goalkeeper beaten - so too the post.

Just after, Lee Morris threaded Chris McPhee through on goal, one on one with Coates he used the space well and fired an effort towards the target that the stopper just managed to get a palm to.

Into the second half and Alty again started quickly - within two minutes Chris Denham forced Lewis into a good save as his driven shot from 20 yards needed tipping round the post as the home side heaped on some pressure with five straight corners.

Graham Heathcote's men continued to knock on the door and had half-chances in succession around the hour mark - Williams should really have put his team ahead with the best of them, rising high and unmarked in front of Lewis, heading a good effort on goal that needed a fingertip save from the stopper to force it wide.

On 64 they came closer - a floated free-kick was put into the box and, coming to claim, Lewis failed to hold and with the goalkeeper put on his backside, Shaun Densmore could only fire over an empty target.

On 68 minutes Harriers arguably had their best chance of the afternoon to that point - fine work out wide by Lee Vaughan saw him pulled back to Lee Morris who peeled of his man to turn on the ball, his shot from close-range pinging off the foot of the post.

Clearly something needed to change for Harriers and with the second half waring on, boss Steve Burr threw on Callum Gittings and Matty Blair and within minutes the former had put his team ahead as the pair combined; Blair latching superbly onto a ball out wide on 71 minutes before firing along the face of Coates' goal for young Callum to force in his second goal of the season.

Almost typical of the way the season has gone for Harriers thus far, however, the home side levelled within four minutes. Another set-piece was well delivered but sub Damian Reeves just wasn't tracked, leaving him free to latch on to the ball and fire towards goal - the initial effort produced an excellent reaction save from Lewis, unfortunately the second landed in the back of the net.

Back and forth we went - on 79 minutes the visitors had a penalty as James Smith blocked Jack Byrne's goalbound effort with his hand. Referee Fletcher had showed no hesitation in pointing the spot, Chris McPhee sending Coates the wrong way from the resultant kick to fire in his first goal of the season, putting his side back into the lead.

At the other end Harriers needed more superb work to deny first McCarthy and then Denham as the hosts pressed and pressed throughout four agonising minutes of added time.

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