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Mansfield Town 1 Harriers 2


Date: 26-03-11gif Venue: Field Millgif att: 2079gif away fans: 350
Harriers go storming on

gif Report by Harry Taylor
The play-off march continued as the superbly supported Kidderminster Harriers beat Mansfield Town by two goals to one, but in truth it could have been anything up to five for the away side as two clear chances went begging.  Regardless of that the Harriers won the game and now go into next week's crunch game against Luton Town on a high note.

From the start the Harriers looked to press Mansfield and create chances and use their initiative within the opening stages.  It was the away side who, for the majority of the first half, held possession and 'The Stags' could only create chances on the break.  For a short while it did feel that it might be a carbon copy of the Kettering home game of the last play-off push, with chances created but goals never being scored, but this idea was soon quashed in the 15th minute when Kidderminster took the lead.

Following some good midfield interplay Nick Wright released Chris McPhee on a run past the Mansfield defenders and the Harriers' leading scorer, for this season, slipped the ball under the advancing David Gróf to give the Harriers fan's a goal to cheer.

Mansfield tried to respond but at times they got into the box only for shots to be blocked, with Michael Briscoe doing so but on one occasion using his hand.  Either way, none of the officials saw this if it was the case and play continued.  The other notable chance of the half was when Tyrone Thompson received the ball on the edge of the area but it was all wasted when the shot was put wide.

Towards the end of the half Tom Shaw had to be replaced by Callum Gittings after being injured with bruising to the foot from a poor challenge.  Earlier in the half Liam O'Rafferty had been booked for almost crippling Tom in the same place so it could have been an injury made worse.  It was a shame as Shaw had yet again been fantastic for us, as he has been consistently when he has been in the side, with his ability to break up opposition play as well as aiding the attacks.

Minutes after this change the referee blew for half time and the Harriers took an easily well deserved lead into the break that could and should have been by a bigger margin.
  HT: 0 - 1
The second half saw Mansfield come into the game a lot more as perhaps the players were reminded at half time that they are playing for a place in the Wembley squad against Darlington in the Trophy final.  The Harriers were still creating chances and in the second half could've had three more on top of Keith Briggs' goal.

That arrived following Sean Canham missing an easy free header from a yard out, or perhaps slightly more, as Lee Vaughan whipped in a cross and the loanee arose at the far post but somehow glanced his header wide with a flick when a more direct head on the ball would have buried it.

However !!! up stepped the Harriers 'El Capitano', Keith Briggs, to settle any nerves as he scored a brilliant goal in the 63rd minute.  Nick Wright received the ball off Gittings on the left wing and ran down the flank, cut inside and slotted a fine ball across the face of goal just outside the area, for Briggs to lash into the top right corner of the goal and send the Harriers fans well and truly into raptures.

It could've been 3-0 mere minutes after but after being released behind the defence, 1 on 1 with Gróf, Gittings could only hit his shot straight at the Mansfield goalkeeper.

Mansfield then made their best move of the game by taking off the poor O'Rafferty and bringing on the more energetic Kyle Nix.  He started to put real pressure on the Harriers defence and turned the screw on the back line, forcing Danny Lewis into making a wonderful save from the sub when he lashed in a 30 yard drive.

A minute later the former Harriers midfielder, Adam Murray, got a goal back for the Stags.  He received the ball from Paul Stonehouse and, from the left side of the area, hit a shot which went into the top right corner.  There was nothing Danny Lewis could do about it but, despite this, the Harriers held on and ran out winners.

Ultimately it was a great victory, spurred on by the superb support from the travelling contingent, complete with balloons and confetti paper.  For me it was also a special result as it is my first league away win from home.  Great stuff. (Ed: go to more away games then)

As for Man of the Match, everyone played their part and there were no 'passengers'.  Even Nick Wright who has often been criticised as being one of such passengers in recent months set up both goals today and put in a good performance.  Brilliant overall team effort.

Bring on Luton!
  FT: 1 - 2

 Goals for Mansfield: Murray 79
 Goals for Harriers: McPhee 15, Briggs 63

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Mansfield Town  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Gróf     Lewis  
Silk     Vaughan
Sandwith     Williams  
Naylor   M Briscoe  
Stonehouse     Shaw gif  
Murray     Albrighton  
L Briscoe   Blair  
Thompson   Briggs  
Connor     Canham  
O'Rafferty gif   McPhee  
Smith gif     Wright gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Marriott     Stevens  
Foster     Matt  
Preece     Gittings gif  
Nix gif     Morris gif  
Istead gif     Byrne  

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