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Harriers 2 Fleetwood Town 1


Date: 22-04-11gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2738gif away fans: 429
Harriers back in it with a brilliant win

gif Report by Harry Taylor
Regardless of the saying that a week is a long time in football the three-day contrast between the horror show against Darlington on Tuesday and tonight's match against Fleetwood Town was phenomenal.  From the basics Steve Burr had clearly noted that things needed to change, bringing Lee Morris back into the side for his first game since the Luton at home, he also brought Jack Byrne back into the fold.

Even better to see for some fans was the use of 4-4-2 instead of the 4-5-1 that has seen us lose against Darlington and draw against lowly Eastbourne Borough and also seeing Chris McPhee partner the ex-Derby County man.  Lining up for Fleetwood Town, a side that Harriers had yet to beat in three encounters were the likes of ex-Albion man Sean Gregan and prolific striker Gareth Seddon.

The first half was one of mainly tentative, nervous attack and counter-attack for both sides, the first clear-cut chance of the game went early on to Lee Morris who raced away from the defence following a defence-splitting pass but he stuttered and, with the keeper to beat, he took his time in getting his shot away.  The resultant corner was poor and was cleared.

Then Mark Albrighton, who is still to open his goal-scoring account at the Harriers, received the ball on the edge of the area following a fumbled corner but his shot was caught easily by Dan Hurst, the Cod Army keeper.

Callum Gittings then had a chance following a trademark burst forward by Matty Blair but failed to capitalise on the space he found himself in.  Despite these chances it was very much even in the first half.

Minutes later George Donnelly earned himself a booking for nearly throwing Lee Vaughan into the advertising boards in front on the away section of the Hire-It Stand.  Vaughan was lucky that the boards were made of foam because if they were like the others around the ground he would have been seriously injured.

Vaughan came back into the forefront of attention when he had a heavy hand in Fleetwood's opening goal to break the deadlock on the 39th minute.  The ball was deeply entrenched in the Harriers half and only Vaughan himself would know why he chose to pass the ball across the face of goal to the awaiting Jamie Mullan who made no mistake slamming the ball past Danny Lewis.

Things were starting look all very much like Tuesday night again.  The away side kept it tight for the rest of the half, frustratingly as the two Fleetwood centre halves, Steve McNulty and Sean Gregan looked about as mobile as an unfit Iyseden Christie yet were seemingly untroubled at times.  Lee Morris' lack of match fitness wouldn't have helped this but at times in the first half Chris McPhee seemed to drift in and out of the game, something that couldn't happen if the Harriers were to turn things around.

Although McPhee could have perhaps quite rightly been awarded a penalty when, just after the goal, he was floored by McNulty who took the Harriers marksman down inside the area following a corner.  He was later booked for dissent, surely in part for his perhaps justified remonstrations.
  HT: 0 - 1
Kidderminster fans will be aware that a Steve Burr team-talk can turn a game around as was seen at Field Mill last season when they came back from three goals down and the game tonight was no different as within seven minutes of the second half being restarted by the referee, Mr Merchant, the Harriers were level, with a huge slice of luck about the goal.

Jack Byrne received the ball in the midfield and let fly with a thirty yard drive that took a massive deflection.  Many in the Town End could be forgiven for thinking that it had gone over but instead it looped over Hurst's head into the goal to send Aggborough, already experiencing a brilliant atmosphere created by the home fans, into raptures.

The goal had changed the Harriers outlook completely and we were now battling hard in the midfield and the fight that had been lacking in the match on Tuesday night and in the first half tonight was back, the desire was emanating off them and the belief was back.  The Harriers side of this season had well and truly entered the building.

Three minutes after the equaliser the Harriers took a deserved lead.  Gittings whipped a corner in and Byrne headed across goal into the far corner.  It was seemingly such a simple goal but could be so crucial in our season and possible promotion aims.

Fleetwood responded with Gareth Seddon having a shot from around five yards out; another one where you just wait for the formality of the ripple of the net but it never came as Lewis put a superb match-winning block in to save the day.  Its that kind of save that I believe will win him a large amount of awards a week on Saturday in the end of season accolades.

They weren't done yet.  Lee Morris had two chances to get onto the score sheet; firstly the ball was slotted across the face of goal and all he had to do was knock the ball into an empty net but Clancy was on the line and he managed to put the ball out for a corner and avert all danger to the Fleetwood goal.  Then a minute later he ran clear of the defence again following a great pass from Matty Blair but he once again was reluctant to bury the shot and Hurst palmed the ball away for Gittings to put the rebound over.

Fleetwood weren't down and out though and their attacks in the mid to late stages of the second half were worrying with their strike partnership seeming to work well together.  Twice Lee Vaughan made up for his first half error by putting in goal-stopping blocks.

Nick Wright was then introduced into the game for Morris, who received a standing ovation by the crowd, and the Harriers striker/winger, who has been left out in the cold of late, got a chance after robbing McNulty of the ball then raced clear of the portly centre half and put a shot just wide of Hurst's goal.  He should have scored, but either way good battling for a player who is often criticised for a lack of such a willingness to do so.

Then into extra-time, a massive four minutes for the Harriers to cling on for, and it seemed much longer, George Donnelly was sent off for a second yellow as he went in with a high foot on Lee Vaughan.

Man of the Match has to go quite rightly to Jack Byrne who scored two goals which could prove so crucial this season but also had a cracking game on his return to the side.  A mention has to go to the 2300 who showed up tonight and provided a cracking atmosphere for the Harriers, seldom has one like it been seen in recent years.

With the Harriers managing to cling on for a vital win, it takes them a point outside the play-offs behind Fleetwood.  The fight once again shown tonight is proof that it can be done and we shouldn't be written off.  Next up is Rushden & Diamonds on Easter Monday so get down to Nene Park and support the lads and let's see if we can do this after all!
  FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Byrne 53, 57
 Goal for Fleetwood: Mullan 39

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Harriers  subs   cards      Fleetwood Town  subs   cards 
Lewis     Hurst  
Vaughan     Beesley  
Williams     Brown  
Briscoe     Barry  
Byrne     McNulty  
Albrighton     Gregan
Blair     Clancy gif  
Briggs gif     McGuire  
Morris gif     Seddon gif  
McPhee   Donnelly
Gittings     Mullan  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Stevens     Davies  
Canham     Harvey  
Shaw gif     Parker gif  
Matt     Cavanagh  
Wright gif     Thorpe gif  

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