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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 29 Nov 14 at 18:30 PM

REPORT: ALTRINCHAM 2-1 HARRIERS

Marvin Johnson’s stunning finish couldn’t inspire Harriers to victory as Altrincham came from behind to take all three points.

The winger fired home early in the second half to give Gary Whild’s men the upper hand but goals from James Lawrie and Damien Reeves handed the hosts back-to-back wins and ended Harriers’ three-game unbeaten run.

As a result Harriers drop two league positions into 10th, with five points separating themselves and fifth-placed Macclesfield Town.

Again, boss Whild left his side unchanged after the same starting XI harvested four points against Grimsby Town and Wrexham, while striker Reece Styche returned from his loan spell at Tamworth to take up a place on the bench.

Altrincham made three alterations to the side which beat Wrexham 3-2 away from home last week, as Reeves, Tom Marshall and Ryan Crowther replaced Steven Gillespie, Kyle Perry and the suspended Scott Leather.

Johnson gave Harriers the lead in sublime fashion only five minutes into the second half, capping off a well-worked attacking move with his fifth goal of the season.

In a flowing string of passes, the ball was distributed to Johnson on the right who, as we have seen so often this season, cut inside and bore down on goal.

The winger unleashed a scorching left-footed strike from around 20 yards out which rippled the back of the net in the top right-hand corner.

Altrincham equalised just seven minutes later however, as Lawrie notched his fourth league goal of the campaign.

In a move that the hosts had threatened to implement earlier on in the second half, Jake Moult played in Lawrie on the left of the area, who was well-placed to slot a low effort past Danny Lewis.

Despite both sides pushing forwards it looked as though the game would grind out into a stalemate, but it was the Robins who sneaked the upper hand four minutes from time.

A cross from Adam Griffin found the head of Reeves, who guided his 11th league goal into the bottom corner.

In a rather low-key first half, the most dangerous opportunity fell to Altrincham, who fired three efforts at Lewis’ goal in quick succession after 11 minutes.

Peter Cavanagh had the first from a left-sided position inside the box, before Crowther and Gianluca Havern were involved in the ensuing scramble in front of goal.

Lewis was on hand to stop all three, diving well to prevent Cavanagh from breaking the deadlock before showing tremendous reflexes to keep out the two follow-up shots.

For Harriers, Matt Robinson and Craig Reid fired off-target, with the latter inches away from connecting his head to a pinpoint Johnson cross from the right after 19 minutes.

Aman Verma, who was on the scoresheet against Wrexham, almost found the net in consecutive games as he ventured into the area and evaded his marker with a cute flick, only for his low shot to be saved by Alty ‘keeper Stuart Coburn.

The home side started both halves brightly and Lawrie forced Lewis into a stop, before Kevin Nicholson cleared the follow-up off the line, only a minute before Harriers broke the deadlock.

Instead of building on their advantage, however, they allowed Altrincham to try and find a way back into the game - which they did, as good chances by Simon Richman and Havern sandwiched Lawrie’s equaliser.

Havern’s opportunity in particular was key as he was left virtually unmarked to direct a header at goal; a method which was replicated by Reeves for his winner.

Styche looked lively after entering the fray as Harriers’ first substitute on the hour mark and put in some decent crosses, one of which was almost capitalised on by the oncoming Reid after 72 minutes but a red-and-white shirt got there first.

The tempo of the second half seemed to fluctuate from calm periods of possession to frantic high-paced attacks, as both Reeves and substitute Greg Wilkinson tested Lewis in the second half, while Verma battled well for the ball on the edge of the box to set up Reid, whose powerful shot was well-stopped by Coburn.

However, it was the Robins who dealt the killer blow, as Reeves’ late header highlighted a lapse in concentration on Harriers’ part.

Substitute Ahmed Obeng and Jamie Grimes came close in the dying stages, the former halted by a strong Perry challenge as he dribbled into the box and the latter denied as he directed a header at the far post from Nicholson’s cross.

But it wasn’t to be for Harriers who, as Whild summed up in his post-match interview, “shot themselves in the foot.”

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