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Match Report

 

Posted Mon 09 Apr 12 at 17:27 PM

FULL TIME: HARRIERS 3-2 NEWPORT

Substitute Nick Wright hit a simply sensational hat-trick in the final six minutes of a heart-stopping game on Easter Monday as Harriers somehow came from behind to beat Newport County 3-2 truly manic scenes at Aggborough.


Beginning the day in fifth place, Harriers needed a simple, strong start to this game but with less than ten seconds on the clock there was an absolute nightmare for the home defence as the visitors took a shock lead.


The first pass of the entire match was lifted forward with Luke Jones set to nod a simple header back to his goalkeeper - there must have been a lack of communication as Tony Breeden certainly didn't appear to be expecting it; he skidded on the slippery surface as he dived down to collect it and the ball fell to the feet of Jake Reid who gleefully tapped into the empty net.


On four minutes Jones almost made amends for his part in that goal by getting one at the other end - just as he did at Southport - but this time as he looked to stab in a Marvin Johnson cross, his effort was skewed just wide of the post.


On 19 minutes Harriers again went close, a great ball in from Johnson looked destined for the had of Dave Hankin at the far post before County defender and ex-Harrier Lee Baker got there first to intercept.


Up to the half-hour mark the home side forced a succession of corners but failed to work goalkeeper Karl Darlow from any of them; and they were made to pay with 37 minutes on the clock as the visitors struck a second.


Again the defending was in question as the ball fell to former Aggborough man Sam Foley; he weaved his way through the entire Harriers half, turned at least two defenders before drove past a static Breeden who was left utterly exposed.


Five minutes before the break there was an opening for Johnson to reduce the deficit as he beat two defenders at the by line before cutting inside and shooting with an effort that sailed over by some distance.


County should arguably have had the half and the game put to bed in the final minute before the break - sleepy defending at a corner saw nobody rise to meet Lee Minshull at the near-post as a corner was whipped in; his header clipping the bar.


Steve Guinan and Jack Byrne both had half chances for Harriers just after the re-start as they began the half with the right intent; Anthony Malbon then seeing a deflected effort land just shy of the post.


That Lee Vaughan's drive, comfortably held by Darlow, came on the 54th minute but was the hosts' first real shot on target was a reflection of just how frustrating a day Newport made this for Harriers, Johnson's volley five minutes later going over.


Soon after there was a double switch in the space of five minutes as again Nick Wright and Ryan Rowe stepped off the bench to try and inject some impetus; Dan Bradley soon following as he replaced the injured Byrne.


Wright was inches away from bringing Harriers back into it on 71 minutes as his glancing header from Johnson's cross went narrowly wide; Bradley then trying his luck from distance moments later.


The save of the match undoubtedly came from Darlow on 78 minutes - Vincent got up superbly with a far-post header that the youngster some how clawed out.


There came the ray of light with just six minutes to go substitute Elliott Buchanan clumisly tumbled Vaughan over in the area - the resultant penalty coolly dispatched by Wright for his 13th of the term.


That ray of light budged its way through to become a shining beacon - somehow, and I honestly DO NOT know how, because I was screaming at the time, Wright took over as the team's top scorer, his tally moving to 15 for the season as he hit two more in the five minutes of added time.


The ball fell to the feet of Rowe and he teed up Wright who turned and blasted through a crowd of bodies to level the scores and spark some crazy celebrations amongst the Harriers fans who were, at that stage, happy to enjoy a point earned late.


But, as we know, this is not the Harriers way; instead they went and won it. Sub Bradley was a bundle of energy after coming on and it was his cross into the area that found Rowe once more - again to Wright as he fired it up and into the top corner to seal a ridiculous hat-trick.


We thought Grimsby was super - we thought Southport was amazing. This? I don't know what to call it, but it was big.


If this isn't the sign of something special in store for a special group of players then that will be a crying shame - one thing is for sure, they will never, ever give up.

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