Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Sat 26 Mar 11 at 14:31 PM

FULL TIME: Mansfield 1-2 Harriers

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

A goal in each half was enough to see Harriers extend their unbeaten run to a 12th game on Saturday as they recorded an oh-so precious 2-1 win at Mansfield Town.

For this noon kick-off the wind was swirling all around Field Mill and with just two minutes on the clock it was the visitors who registered the first chance of the day, Matty Blair cutting inside from wide before driving an effort on goal that Stags' stopper David Grof got down well to, able to turn it around the foot of the near post.

Grof was certainly earning his corn early on and by the seven minute mark he'd already made two further saves and both were from Blair. the former Telford man weaving past two Mansfield players into the area and seeing a firm shot parried high and away for a corner, a header from the resultant corner also well kept out by the custodian as Steve Burr's men racked up the early chances.

On 12 minutes perhaps arrived the best of those opportunities and so the best of the saves - Blair's strong header put the ball straight into the path of Tom Shaw in the area who, from around ten yards, blasted towards goal only to be denied by Grof once more.

Just three later, though, even the superb Grof was powerless to stop the Harriers charge as the reds finally took a deserved lead. It was one great ball forward too many for the Stags as Nick Wright set Chris McPhee free on goal and, one on one, McPhee managed to hold off his back-tracking man long enough to slot the ball into the back of the net for the 16th time this season.

Mansfield did settle down into the game a little more after that and they themselves worked a couple of openings as defenders tried to pour forwards, Paul Stonehouse seeing an effort blocked by Daniel Lewis with 17 minutes gone, Tom Naylor heading over from a corner six minutes later.

It was some eight minutes after the half-hour mark before Harriers again came close to troubling Grof; it was a sharp cross into the area from Blair that found Wright leaping well - his header beating the goalkeeper but also the bar.

With just four minutes to go before the break Mansfield wasted their best chance of the afternoon to that point, a real scramble in the area saw Tom Shaw block a shot superbly, the ball falling to Adam Murray who tried to guide it towards the top corner, instead sending it some way over. That block plus a previous knock was enough to end Shaw's afternoon through injury, though, as he was replaced by Callum Gittings.

You knew Mansfield would be read the riot act at half time after a poor first-half showing and the message seemed to have got through loud and clear to the Stags players as within a minute of the re-start there were chances for Louis Briscoe and Murray as they looked to level.

On 56 minutes a mazy run by Adam Smith looked to open up Harriers for the first time to any real degree - he moved cleverly passed two men and cut inside before seeing an effort at goal blocked when perhaps would have been the better option. Just after, Paul Connor sent an attempted lob just off target.

Just before the hour there was a real chance for the visitors to make it 2-0 - Blair did well to keep the ball in play out wide before supplying Lee Vaughan who scooped a great ball towards the far post where Sean Canham got on the end of it, crashing a close-range header just wide.

Just three minutes later, though, that second goal did arrive for Harriers and it was clinically taken - Wright kept the ball superbly as he teased the Stags players on his way to the area, delivering an excellent, low cross that was stepped over by Gittings on its way to Briggs; the skipper smashing his foot through it to send it top corner to the delight of the visiting fans.

Just after, Gittings could have made it 3-0 as he lashed straight at Grof from a one-on-one position, Wright then denied by the goalkeeper as he too looked to pounce.

With a little under a quarter-hour to play the Stags threw on Kyle Nix and he immediately drew a world-class save from Lewis in the Harriers goal - a belted half-volley from the live-wire looked destined for the top of the net only for Lewis to get both palms underneath it and forcing it over.

He was powerless just three minutes later as Mansfield set up the grandstand finish, Paul Stonehouse and Murray combing as the latter, from 12 yards, lashed the ball into the top corner to finally lift the home fans.

Mecca Bingo

    Latest Match Reports