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Match Report


Posted Sat 31 Mar 12 at 16:56 PM


Ryan Rowe climbed off the bench to record a precious yet fully-deserved win for Harriers at Grimsby on Saturday as the reds won out in the battle of the play-off chasers.


Both sides were quick to rush out of the blocks on a cool but bright afternoon and the first chance of the day came the way of the hosts as leading marksman Liam Hearn took aim from the edge of the area, firing over the bar of Tony Breeden's goal.


First-time efforts from Peter Winn and Michael Coulson kept Breeden's goal peppered inside the first ten minutes, Steve Guinan nodding over for Harriers from a corner just after as the visitors looked to hit back.


With 13 minutes on the clock Harriers had the ball in the back of the net as Anthony Malbon pounced to finish as James McKeown between the sticks spilled a header from Tom Marshall; the goal was ruled out, though, with Malbon judged to have been offside.


Four minutes later Winn's drive for Grimsby went about an inch wide of the post as he leapt on a defensive mistake, good saves at either end once again on 20 minutes as Winn tried his luck once more and Guinan stung the palms of McKeown.


Three minutes later hit-man Guinan remained at the point of the attack for the visitors as he capped a fine team passing move with a low drive that whistled just past the foot of the post.


Back up to the other end we went and just before the half-hour mark the home side had a major, major chance; Anthony Elding raced clear of the offside trap and lofted the ball across to the far post where Hearn was waiting to plant his header home - his plans only halted by a superb save from Breeden who somehow got a palm to it.


The breakthrough finally came on 38 minutes and as so often has been the case lately it went against Harriers - a needless free-kick awarded just shy of the by-line that was beautifully lifted towards the far post and headed in off the post by Andy Wright.


On 41 there was almost the instant response - Jack Byrne's driving run taking him to the edge of the area where he let fly and forced another erratic stop from McKeown who turned it around the post.


With less than two minutes gone after the break there was an almighty scramble inside the Grimsby six yard box as Harriers looked to press quickly - Malbon turned and tried to stab at it and nobody was able to make a decisive touch as McKeown finally stopped it on the line.


An equalising goal did arrive on 54 minutes and it was thoroughly deserved - Lee Vaughan turned on the ball and superbly lifted into the mixer where once again Malbon was the right man at the right time as he planted a great header past McKeown.


Three minutes after the hour mark it was the lively Marvin Johnson who was causing Grimsby problems as he roared into the danger area and unleashed a firm drive that struck the outside of the angle of bar and post.


Grimsby were never too far away from an opportunity of their own and on 65 there was another one for Artus as he met a ball into the box with an excellent header that dropped only narrowly wide of Breeden's target.


A succession of corners ramped the pressure right up on the home side inside the final quarter-hour and they were lucky to survive a double handball appeal as players threw themselves into the action.


With 12 to go an unbelievable volley from Kyle Storer was just about turned away by McKeown as both sides did what they could to force the next goal, a double change following soon after as Steve Burr threw on both Nick Wright and Ryan Rowe.


McKeown had been, at best, erratic for the majority of this game but with five minutes to go he well and truly earned his money as he pulled off three world-class saves in a row, three big headers coming in and the latter even from one of his own men - the stopper remained firm and strong.


True enough it would be one of these who stepped up to be the hero - Rowe kept the ball at his feet like his boots were glued to it during injury time and he picked out the perfect spot before driving the ball into the back of the net to send around 80 visiting fans into sheer delight.

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