Harriers 3 Gateshead 2
away fans: 15
A win's a win
Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers made heavy weather of beating Gateshead today, or was it the heavy weather itself to blame?
Under a scorching hot September sky we were slow out of the blocks and equally slow to end the game. In-between that though we did manage to pass the ball around quite well and it was then that we looked as if we could go on to win the game by a mile.
The other major complaint was the obvious lack of communication at the back with the first example coming in the opening minutes of the game when Lee Baker tried to shepherd a ball back to Dean Coleman and the keeper failed to tell his defender that a Gateshead defender was on his shoulder until he was about to rob our man. A similar thing happened for the first Gateshead goal too when the wall was lining up and the referee blew for the kick to be taken with Martin Riley and Duane Courtney still discussing where each other were going to stand as the ball hit the back of the net.
That goal at first seemed to knock us back a bit but eventually we managed to get going again until Dean Bennett was forced to go off with an injury picked up earlier on. His replacement was Nathan Hayward making his first appearance of the season. The lad did very well too and didn't look out of place at all.
The change seemed to perk us up a bit and we started to pressure the Gateshead defenders more. It was from such pressure that we pulled the goal back.
Matt Barnes-Homer picked the ball up from out wide and took it into the area looking for someone to cross to. He stumbled slightly but recovered enough to whip in a cross towards no one in particular at the far post but Gateshead's Chris Swailes tried to be a hero and ended up putting the ball into his own net with a header to be proud of.
Five minutes before the interval we finally went into the lead with a well taken goal from Brian Smikle. MBH sent a pass through towards him but his aim wasn't too good and it deflected off a visiting defender into the path of Smikle. He went forward a bit more then struck a fine shot beyond the grasp of the elderly Gateshead keeper.
In the dying seconds of the half we should have gone three up when Chris McPhee had his toe poke kicked off the line but only as far as the post to finally be cleared away by a defender.
We went into the break well in command after starting off so poorly.
HT: 2 - 1
The second period kicked off with a double substitution from the visitors. Off went the comical Armand One with Neale McDermott replacing him and Wayne Phillips coming on for Craig Baxter.
Again it took quite a while to get going following the break and it was at least ten minutes before we had a clear chance of a goal. Barnes-Homer latched on to Darryl Knights pass but his shot went across the face of the goal and only just avoided hitting the corner flag.
The game was starting to get bogged down again and only flashes of good work from Knights and David McDermott looked like getting us a third goal and a chance to put the game to bed. That was until midway through the half when somehow Gateshead managed to get back on level terms with a wonder goal from nothing.
Saying it was from nothing is slightly untrue though because for some reason our defence parted like the Red Sea to allow Kris Gate to bury a well struck volley into the top corner of Dean Coleman's goal.
Gateshead seemed content after that to hold what they had and troublingly so did we. Kyle Hadley came on for David McDermott but didn't look any better than the departing player and we struggled to make any headway for quite a while.
Suddenly, out of no where, the third goal arrived. For once Matt Barnes-Homer managed to get into the thick of it and chased a ball down forcing the defender into a mistake. With the ball now free he went on to round another defender and scrambled the ball into the net for the winning goal.
It could have been four soon after when Darryl Knights volleyed just wide and then found himself replaced by Aaron Farrell soon after.
The game ended with the Harriers classed as the winning team but to be fair to Gateshead they were no pushover and deserved at least a point from the game.
Forest Green on Tuesday. Be there or be square.
FT: 3 - 2
Report by Harry Taylor
The Harriers ran out victors against a Gateshead side that neither deserved to lose nor win at a cold Aggborough stadium today (Harry feels the cold, poor mite: Admin). Gateshead weren't bad up front, but their defence let them down in the end, as was the case with the Harriers who won via a fortuitous goal late in the game.
Following his broken leg received against Hayes Martin Brittain returned to Aggborough on crutches to a rapturous welcome and fantastic reception.
The first goal of the game arrived early on, 12 minutes into the game, as Riley was adjudged to have fouled Graeme Armstrong. Alex Francis put a seemingly innocuous ball into the Harriers box, with the defenders leaving it for each other and Coleman not coming out to take it, the ball bobbled into the bottom left hand corner with Armand One perhaps getting a slight touch on it according to some of the spectators behind the goal.
A few minutes later and Dean Bennett was taken off after a challenge earlier in the game had left him hobbling. He was replaced by Nathan Hayward for his home league debut and he immediately slotted seamlessly into the Harriers central midfield.
Harriers soon got a goal back. Matthew Barnes-Homer put a ball over and the ageing Chris Swailes headed the ball firmly into his own net for the equaliser.
Lee Baker was then in trouble for kicking the ball away and went into the referees notebook with a yellow card. This was something of a strange decision when One floored Chris McPhee minutes later with no free kick given.
Within ten minutes the Harriers had grabbed a second goal when Matthew Barnes-Homer played a ball through to Brian Smikle to put the ball over Jim Provett in goal for the visitors.
Nothing else happened in the first half, and the teams went in at the break at Kidderminster 2-1 Gateshead.
HT: 2 - 1
The second half got underway and Harriers had a chance from a corner via McPhee from a Darryl Knights ball that was cleared by Swailes. The Harriers were on top by now with Knights and Hayward playing well in the middle of the park but it was Gateshead who got the next goal of the game when the highly rated Kris Gate rifled a shot into the top corner of the goal, with Coleman unable to get a firm hand on the shot, to even the game up.
Minutes later Lee Baker went on a run and nearly got a goal after playing a one-two with Barnes-Homer but he got the ball stuck in between his legs and could only drag the shot wide of Provetts goal.
But, with both sides attacking the game, a goal seemed inevitable and by 75 minutes it seemed that the next goal would be the winner. The hosts got it when a mess up of communication in the Gateshead defence meant Barnes-Homer got in and managed to tap the ball past Provett for wild celebrations in the Town end. Minutes later it proved to be the winner when the whistle was blown with Harriers running out the winners.
Nathan Hayward was one of those who played superbly and he belied his age with a well composed and assured performance in the middle of the park but my man of the match was Darryl Knights, after recent weeks of underperforming he was a fantastic player on the pitch today showing a lot of running, flicks and was unlucky not to score.
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