Croasdale 64; Sonupé 71
- A big three points away from home
- Second half goals do the damage
- Croasdale sweeps home, Sonupé adds second
- Late goal not enough as reds see out win
TWO second half goals were enough to give Harriers a fine 2-1 win at Blyth Spartans on Saturday.
Ryan Croasdale and Emmanuel Sonupé both hit superb strikes in the second half to put Harriers in firm command.
Though Sean Reid did pull one back late on for the hosts, the troops held on to take all three points back to Worcestershire. That sealed a fine second half performance from Harriers, coming after the home side had probably just edged the first.
Blyth's Dale and Mullen had half chances within the first ten minutes or so, the first Harriers opening coming from Elton Ngwatala as he saw a shot well blocked.
Buddle planted a good header over as Blyth grew into the game, Hopson and Wrightson also going close before, with the best chance of the half, Dale cut inside on 39 minutes before supplying Hopson who hit over.
While Mullen swerved a shot off target just after the restart, the visitors were more commanding in the second period. They started to take control around the hour mark and took the lead on 64 minutes as Ironside's driving, unrelenting run was rewarded once Croasdale met his low cross with an accurate finish past Jameson into the bottom corner.
Bylth never really recovered from that - though they should have done better a few minutes after the opener as Wrightson fired straight at Hall.
Two minutes later, a superb solo breakaway saw Sonupé steal the ball on the centre circle, drive the length of the Blyth half before, at an angle, dipping the ball beyone Jameson and into the net.
Harriers did a superb job of soaking up pressure as Blyth tried to find a way back into the game. In the end, Reid's goal from a corner with just three minutes left of normal time was nothing more than a consolation as a dogged reds' side saw the remaining minutes out.
Blyth Spartans AFC
AHEAD of the trip to Blyth Spartans, Dan Bradley insists Harriers won’t be underestimating their hosts just because they’ve endured some poor recent results.
Bad weather, postponements and injuries have all combined in recent weeks to leave the Spartans with a run of four straight defeats.
They return home for a first clash at Croft Park since February on Saturday, and Bradley knows all too well that it wouldn’t pay to assume they’re on a downer just because of that recent form.
He’s aware that they’ve been in and around the play-off picture for most the season having racked up 17 wins so far – calling the last couple of weeks a simple “blip.”
“They’ve had a couple of bad results, but you can look at that in a different ways,” Bradley told our YouTube channel.
“They are also going to be looking to pick up and start winning some games straight away, so it is going to be a tough game for us and we’ll have to be prepared for that.
“When you get to this point of the season, people are in positions for a reason and they are in the top half of the table for a reason – they are obviously a good side who have just had a dip in form like we did a couple of weeks ago.
“That doesn’t mean they’re a bad side and we’ll have to prepare well for the game.”
Bradley has been in good scoring touch as of late – and goals would certainly appear to be on the cards ahead of Saturday’s game between Harriers and Blyth; at least if the last meeting is anything to go by.
“They are also going to be looking to pick up and start winning some games straight away..." Dan Bradley
James Pearson scored twice in a 5-4 win for Harriers at Aggborough on a day that threatened to produce all manner of different results.
That’s all great fun, says Bradley, but here’s little doubting he’d prefer a quieter day of it this time around!
He added: “Although it’s nice to win 5-4, it would be much nicer to win 1-0 and keep a clean sheet!”
Harriers were boosted in their last match – the 2-1 win over Brackley – after Elton Ngwatala made his first start for a number of weeks, playing the first hour after a spell with injury.
It’s hoped he’ll be fine to continue again this weekend, with Jimmy O’Connor and Liam Truslove also bidding to return sooner rather than later.
There’s one guaranteed absentee for Harriers this weekend in the shape of Lee Vaughan as he serves the first of a three-match suspension for his dismissal in the defeat at Boston United.
Kick-off at Blyth Spartans on Saturday is at 3:00pm.
WATCH: Dan Bradley’s full pre-match video interview courtesy of our YouTube channel by clicking the video tab above.
READ: Our 5 Things guide to the action against Blyth Spartans ahead of the weekend.
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Dan Bradley pre-match
Post Match Reaction
Extended Match Highlights