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Match Report


Posted Mon 14 Feb 11 at 12:21 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 2-1 Altrincham

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

Harriers remained just a point outside the play-off places in the Blue Square Bet Premier as the biggest Aggborough crowd of the season saw them down Altrincham 2-1.

The game kicked off in near-perfect weather and with the ground packed; the early exchanges were fairly tentative to say the least, although new-boy Sean Canham did have the ball in the back of the net despite a reasonably early offside flag.

Harriers tried to edge themselves into it and with 12 minutes on the clock Chris McPhee tried his luck with an overhead kick that went wide of the left hand upright.

Some eight minutes later there was a chance to help warm those watching on as Harriers surged forward; Jack Byrne fed Canham on the edge of the area, his neat, headed flick saw Keith Briggs played through into the area who drove a good effort just off target.

On 24 minutes the big breakthrough came and it went the way of those in red as their early pressure paid off; McPhee turned sharply in the area and shot superbly with an effort that beat goalkeeper James Dootson and thumped off the post - thankfully straight into the path of Byrne who had the joyous task of poking the ball into the empty net to cap off an excellent week for England C's latest International (celebrations pictured above).

Alty's first opportunity of the afternoon wasn't too far behind the opening goal - just five minutes later, Greg Young climbed high to meet a corner, heading it over Daniel Lewis' bar.

Chances were at a premium for the visitors in the first period and so that Young chance missed came back to haunt them with just nine minutes to go until the interval as Harriers doubled their advantage - simple, calm work by Canham followed by a peach of a ball found Nick Wright out wide who burst into the area leaving Shaun Densmore in his wake before aiming firmly at the near post and beating Dootson's dive to find the back of the net.

Just as Harriers then looked to push on further, they were hit for a sucker punch when out of nothing, the Robins hit back for 2-1 - a ball into the box wasn't properly dealt with and was allowed to run free just outside the area, Wes Baynes driving it back goalwards and finding the back of the net with the help of a hefty deflection.

Burr's men weren't dented by that, however, and went straight back up the other end to attack. The ball found its way into the area over the shoulder of Wright who controlled it well and shaped to shoot, denied his effort by the lunging Carl Piergianni who clearly took the feet of the striker - stonewalled penalty and one of the most nailed on red cards you'll ever see for the Alty man - his team mates protests were long and and unnecessary; hardly the example for professional footballers to be setting with some 200 extra youngsters in attendance as part of Junior Teams Day. As it was, Tom Shaw stepped up after the delay and was thwarted from the spot by a good save from Dootson who got down well to ensure Harriers didn't get a third.

The madness had just about died down once the second half got underway and on 49 minutes McPhee and Canham combined on the edge of the area before the debutant shot straight at Dootson who held well, also denying Byrne some three minutes later after he broke into the area and shot.

Three before the hour mark it should have been 2-2 as Altrincham worked the ball excellently into the penalty area courtesy of Damian Reeves - he got past all and fizzed a ball across the face of goal that rolled along the line and dinked off the woodwork, straight at the feet of Nicky Clee who, somehow, managed to scoop the ball over an empty goal from no more than a few inches out

On 63 minutes Harriers threw on Matty Blair to try and stretch Alty legs and it was almost with devastating impact as, within seconds, the winger latched on to a superb ball from Canham and hooked it over the head of the onrushing Dootson - a third goal for the hosts only denied by a tremendous goal line clearance from Densmore.

As the clash entered its final quarter hour things got very quiet - both sides had made two changes in relatively quick succession to try and breathe fresh life into the game, Altrincham especially looking to push on with the introduction of Michael Twiss.

Another home sub Callum Gittings whipped in a great ball from a corner with just ten minutes to go - it was met very well by McPhee who burst forward, his well-timed header going just fractionally over the bar.

It was a nervy enough finish as Alty continued to battle, they poked a header off the bar in the dying seconds but Harriers held on. The same couldn't be said for Alty's James Smith, however, the defender seeing a straight red in injury time for foul and abusive language, the visitors ending with nine.

Mecca Bingo

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