Harriers 2 Burton Albion 1
away fans: 995
Reds poop on Burtanta's party
The Harriers spoiled Burton's promotion celebrations, and Setanta's fawning over them, today when they came back from a goal down just before half time to end up winning 2-1 and still in with a big chance of making the play-offs. Justice was clearly done because their goal was scored following fouls on both Chris McPhee and Martin Riley with Setanta going home without the live promotion of one of their preferred teams.
In front of the biggest crowd at Aggborough since the visit of Hereford Utd in October 2005 (3241) the game kicked off a few minutes late in glorious Spring sunshine. Un-expectedly there was another start for Andy Ferrell following his return from injury and even more disappointingly Matt Barnes-Homer was to be playing as the only striker in the team but with the support of Darryl Knights and Chris McPhee.
I never expected to see such negative tactics from Mark Yates for such an important game as this but thankfully he saw sense in the second half and we reverted to a far more attacking format.
The first half was a poor spectacle for both sets of fans with neither side seemingly capable of keeping the ball on the ground. Russ Penn had our first attempt on goal but his low shot was easily collected by Saul Deeney in the Albion goal.
Burton came back at us with a chance for Darren Stride going well over the bar. The game then settled down to a mixture of poor passing and hoofball from both sides.
It took another twenty minutes before anything of note happened again. Darryl Knights got on the end of a through ball from Barnes-Homer and sent a curling effort just wide of the upright. He missed another good chance a minute later when MBH supplied him with the ball again and this time it was a header that went just wide of the target.
Five minutes before half time both sides managed to get their first real shots on target. Andy Ferrell was the first, for us, when his low shot got blocked by the keeper and then almost straight away after Shaun Harrad saw Bartlett save a fierce drive from him. On the stroke of half time the Harriers went behind to a goal that should never have been.
Burton had been given a free kick in the middle of the park and it was sent over by Aaron Webster into the goal mouth. Jake Buxton went up for the ball and shoved Chris McPhee over while heading the ball across for Lee Morris to climb over Martin Riley and stick his knee into his back. The referee gave the goal.
It was a goal that the prospective Champions had done nothing to deserve and should never have been given by the one eyed Staffordshire referee.
HT: 0 - 1
The second period was a different matter as far as we were concerned. Most people expected Yates to make a change at the start of the half bearing in mind the lack of service to Barnes-Homer in the first half and the lack of width to the team. As it was the substitution of Andy Ferrell and Daryl Knights didn't take place until ten minutes in.
On came Brittain and Smikle to rally the troops and from then on there was only one team going to win it. Harriers!
MBH gave early warning of what was going to happen when he beat the Burton offside trap to take the ball into the area. At a sharp angle to the goal he fired in a fierce shot that Deeney did well to keep out. Two minutes later we had drawn level.
Brittain sent over a superb cross to the far post straight onto the head of Brian Smikle. His header was going into the net until the Albion keeper managed to get a hand to it and push it onto the bar. It came back out but straight to MBH, who doesn't turn that kind of chance away, for his twenty first goal of the season and overtake Justin Richards in the race to be the clubs leading scorer.
In response the Burton management made a double substitution and took off Lee Morris and Darren Stride for Martin Butler and Ryan Austin.
It didn't stop the Harriers though and MBH was trying hard to get a second goal. If he had got slightly more time he might have done more with a scuffed shot that was well saved by their keeper but it didn't matter because no more than five minutes later we had taken the lead.
A Keith Lowe throw-in went straight into the Burton area to Smikle and the sub saw his first chance blocked on the line but given a second chance he wasn't going to miss and the ball bounced into the roof of the net just behind the crossbar and down again where it was pushed further in by a Burton defender trying to make sure.
Burton tried to get back into the game but their big run of three games in three weeks had taken it's toll on the poor mites yet the Harriers are full of running after having played six games in sixteen days. Harrad tried his luck with a shot/cross that went across the face of the goal but an infringement on Mark Creighton saw the referee blow the whistle for a foul.
With time now running out and four minutes of extra time added we saw a further three minutes added when Deeney collided with his team mate Tony James. The game was stopped for a while for treatment to a head wound and eventually James went off leaving Burton down to ten men after having already used up all their substitutes.
We made a late one ourselves and bought on Luke Jones in place of Russ Penn but within a minute the game had come to a close with another fine win and egg on the faces of Setanta.