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Match Report


Posted Sun 24 Apr 11 at 11:40 AM

FULL TIME: Harriers 2-1 Fleetwood

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

Wonderful, wonderful Harriers won their must-win game at Aggborough on Friday night by coming from behind to breathe fresh life into their play-off dream with a sensational 2-1 win over Fleetwood Town.

The game kicked off surrounded by one great wall of noise being supplied by both sets of fans. With just three minutes on the clock, the returning Lee Morris, back from injury, was set away on goal - he was wrestled away from taking a clear touch as he entered in the area by some good defending, but in the end the front-man managed to get a shot away that was turned wide by visiting stopper Danny Hurst, sparking a flurry of early corners.

Seven minutes later it was danger from a corner but up at the other end as Fleetwood floated a decent one in; it was met well by Gareth Seddon who could only direct his header straight into the chest of a grateful Danny Lewis.

This early action continued at a pace - just four minutes further on, Hurst was given another save to make as Mark Albrighton fired one at him on the edge of the area, the Cod Army's George Donnolly trying his luck against Lewis just after as he fired over the bar.

Just after the half-hour mark Fleetwood sensed they make get lucky when a ball smacked Chris McPhee in the face and fell in their favour on the break; Sean Clancy raced on to it and tried his luck at goal but his driven effort was some way off target.

Perhaps the best opportunity of the game to that point arrive with just ten minutes of the first half left - Harriers left Seddon with too much time and space on the edge of the area, the hit-man lining one up that lacked pace bit rolled only just wide of the post.

A contest that had been so even got its first goal on 39 minutes and, agonisingly for Harriers it was the visitors who struck. Danger on the edge of the area looked like it would be cleared relatively routinely by the home defenders, but a mis-kick from Lee Vaughan saw him play the ball along the face of his own goal; sure enough there was a man in black and yellow waiting to take advantage, Mullan the man who was over at the far post to pick up on it and take his time before lashing past Lewis to the delight of the travelling fans.

Fleetwood rode their luck at both sides of the interval - especially just after the start of the second period. Sean Gregan was a lucky man to have just escaped with a yellow card after mowing down McPhee on the charge, whilst just after there were big shouts for a penalty when Morris was brought down in the area.

If Harriers were down and desperate for a slice of luck, they got it on 52 minutes when they sent Aggborough rocking by taking the lead; once again Jack Byrne led the charge forward, he tried his luck from distance with a looping drive that, with the aid of a deflection, swirled over the head of Hurst and into the back of his net.

Tails up, the home side ensured the tables turned and turned hard on 57 minutes as they took the lead by netting a goal from a corner, of all things! Callum Gittings was the man supplying the ammo, his tremendous ball whipped in was met by the head of a determined Byrne who crashed into it with gusto sending it flying into the back of the net - cue unbelievable noise from the three home sides of the ground.

Barely three minutes later it was almost 3-1 Harriers seemed to be cut loose - Vaughan and Blair combined well out-wide before threading Briggs in on goal, he crossed inside the six yard box to Morris who must have thought he'd netted from the centre - the ball was heading in, but defender Shaun Beeley got his rewards for tracking back as the ball took a knock off him, enough to send it over the bar.

On 64 minutes Morris, somehow, went even closer; Byrne was allowed to gallop free on the by-line inside the penalty area; slipping the ball back into the path of the experienced striker who took a touch before driving at goal from 12 yards, only an excellent stop from Hurst keeping the score at two.

Morris was leaving Fleetwood in his wake four minutes later as he kept the ball like glue was on his boots; he broke into the area and was floored as he shaped to shoot by McNulty, inexplicably there was yet again a waving away of the protests by referee Merchant.

With a quarter-hour left to go, the visitors had a chance to well and truly stunt Harriers momentum; Fleetwood played some decent stuff on the edge of the area and Donnelly was at the peak of a one-two - unfortunately for him his contact was awful as he side-footed over by some distance.

Harriers almost made them pay on 77 minutes - the ball broke free over the top to Matty Blair who watched it down well before advancing forward and firing a great shot across goal that beat Hurst but also his far post.

As the clock ticked over into injury time, Harriers went within a lick of paint of making their win concrete - Gregan was poor defensively as his first touch from Hurst's pass was woeful and was pounced upon by sub Nick Wright who bundled past him and into the area, his shot dragging oh-so slightly past the post.

Moments later, the visitors were reduced to ten men as the lively Donnelly was deservedly shown a second yellow for a high boot on Vaughan.

Mecca Bingo

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