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Match Report


Posted Tue 28 Dec 10 at 20:03 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 2-3 Newport

Report by Matt Wall - stats provided and generated for by the Press Association.
Pic: Stefan Rapacz

A second-half comeback from 2-0 down wasn't enough for Harriers to stop themselves slipping to a first League defeat since October as Newport edged a five-goal thriller 3-2 at Aggborough on Tuesday.

Shrugging off the cold weather, both sides made a frantic start to this game as the pace was upped from the off; within five seconds Harriers had forced a corner as Matty Blair charged forward, whilst within five minutes, Darryl Knights at the other end forced a fantastic early save from Daniel Lewis in the Harriers goal as, with Newport's first chance of the day, he finished a one-two and fired towards goal from close range.

A little over ten minutes later, Harriers had their first opening of the afternoon as Callum Gittings was let loose - an excellent, looping cross towards the far post looked to be destined for the boot of Blair, only for Newport skipper Gary Warren to intercept and force the ball wide.

On 25 minutes, visiting goalkeeper Glyn Thompson was tested seriously for the first time as Blair latched on to Jamille Matt's flick on into the area; one on one with the stopper, the winger looked to go around him but was thwarted as Thompson got down well to smother the ball.

The opening goal of the game arrived on 29 minutes and in truth it was probably just about deserved as Newport edged ahead. Sam Deering was allowed to work his way into the area unchallenged, moving the ball towards Eddie Odhiambo who in turn supplied top scorer Craig Reid who, in time and space, smashed the ball into Lewis' top corner for his 15th of the campaign.

Unfortunately things got even worse seven minutes after the half-hour mark as Harriers were punished for being far too sloppy in possession - robbed on the half-way line, the hosts were left chasing Reid; none got close to him until the last man, Tom Shaw, got in and made a great challenge and won the ball. Harshly, his touch was the all-important one as the ball deflected past Lewis and into the back of the net.

Five minutes into the second period it could and perhaps should have been 3-0; failing to connect to an attacking corner on the edge of the Newport area, Harriers were once again left flagging as Reid led a counter-attack towards goal. He worked his way into the home 18-yard area and was only denied a second goal for the day by a strong save with the legs from Lewis.

Less than ten minutes later Harriers looked to have found a way through as they hit the back of the net - Matt ramming home after Thompson had spilled Morris' effort - only for the goal to be chalked off by an assistant's flag.

That was enough to give the home side the boost they needed, though, and in an unbelievable four-minute spell, they turned the game on its head. First, on the hour mark; a great free-kick ball from Callum Gittings caused havoc in the Newport defence before Blair - at least we think - took charge of the situation and headed the ball past Thompson.

Before Newport could even gather their thoughts the scores were level as Aggborough was sent into raptures. A great through-ball played Matt in on goal, the giant forward keeping well before chipping it towards goal from outside the area, Thompson's touch not enough as the ball bounced home for 2-2.

In the following minutes it was a taste of good and bad for Harriers; Blair fizzed another one towards goal that drew an excellent save from Thompson, before Gittings saw his afternoon ended by injury as he left the field of play on a stretcher, concern from all quarters.

The comeback dazed Newport - that much is clear - but it far from killed them. On 77 minutes they were within an outstanding piece of defending away from being back in front as Chris Todd's close-range header was somehow deflected over the bar by Ollie Thorne.

Not even Thorne could help on 82 minutes as Newport crushed the hosts' resurgence by netting once more - Lewis had got down well to deny Reid at his near-post yet again, but the front man re-worked the ball to Paul Bignot who, level with the penalty spot, curled an excellent finish under the goalkeeper to register against his former side and make it 3-2.

Mecca Bingo

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