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Match Report


Posted Sat 24 Sep 11 at 18:09 PM

FULL TIME: Mansfield 0-3 Harriers

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

Three first-half goals and some sensational football throughout saw Harriers get back to winning ways in style on Saturday with a 3-0 victory at Mansfield Town.

It was a fast start for a much-changed Harriers line-up in windy conditions - a combination of Luke Medley and Jamille Matt burst into the area within 30 seconds and only a fine piece of last-ditch defending six yards out stopped the latter getting a shot away.

That fantastic start continued in best possible way as, come the seventh minute, Harriers found themselves 2-0 up after storming the Stags' defence. First, they were caught sleeping from a short corner as Callum Gittings slipped in Lee Vaughan who chipped a deft cross towards the far post that was nodded past goalkeeper Alan Marriott by a leaping Kyle Storer.

Within seconds the lead was doubled and this time it was Jack Byrne and Gittings who worked together in midfield to see the latter split the Stags once more with a great ball through to Nick Wright who had timed his run to perfection, drawing Marriott before slotting the ball beyond him.

Unbelievably it could have have been 3-0 in the following minutes; Marriott arguably keeping his team in it with two saves, first from Medley's shot and then, on 11 minutes, from Byrne's low drive that needed tipped around the post.

Harriers' impetus was as such that the third goal was only a matter of time in coming - it came from the penalty spot and, in truth, the only way to stop the visitors in this particular move of flowing football between Gittings, Wright and Mike Williams was to commit a foul; Williams brought down in the area by Lindon Meikle as the referee pointed to the spot - Vaughan stepping up to do the honours for the second straight game, coolly beating Marriott.

Clearly unimpressed with his team's start, Stags boss Paul Cox made two tactical changes on the half-hour mark with his side struggling to cope with the onslaught - the lift the changes gave them almost resulted in a goal but Joe Kenrick's free-kick sailed just wide of Danny Lewis' target.

Back up at the other end and only a fine defensive header from Ben Futcher stopped Matt getting in on the act and making it 4-0, Mansfield's fans booing off their side at the break after watching them get thoroughly outplayed.

Mansfield were always going to start the second period on fire and it proved to be the case - within three minutes they got within inches of a goal; Ross Dyer turning well in the area and blasting a shot towards Lewis that was turned excellently on to the bar and then held.

Back up the other end it was very nearly four for Harriers as they responded, pouncing on poor defending in the area as Gittings drove one towards Marriott that cannoned off the woodwork.

On the hour mark Harriers continued to press and looked good on the break; Wright's run out wide just wasn't spotted and when he cut inside for a two-on-one with Matt and the goalkeeper, he shaped to hit the pass but slightly over-hit it, the ball escaping Matt and a certain 4-0.

Inside the last 20 minutes the day went from very bad to worse for the home side - their danger man Louis Briscoe was shown a straight red card for ludicrous lunge on Vaughan, the defender left laying as Briscoe, for some reason, left the field to applause from a section of Stags fans.

In fairness to Mansfield they never gave up and with 15 minutes to go they almost got on the score sheet - only some fantastic defending denied them as Lewis first saved from Adam Murray, Luke Jones then getting back for two tremendous goal line clearances, first from Dyer and then from Bolland as the home side wondered what it would take to find the net.

In the final five minutes Matt made way but his final action was to force a good save from Marriott, one on one, whilst his replacement Mickey Demetriou - on for a Harriers debut - also went close to making it 4-0 as he was teed up by Wright from a few yards only for his shot to be blocked on the line.

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