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Harriers 3 Southport 4

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Date: 17-08-10gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1417gif away fans: 102
Harriers lose out in seven goal thriller

gif Report by Harry Taylor
For the curtain raiser at Kidderminster this evening there was an emotional rollercoaster as the Harriers entertained Southport at Aggborough.

In a seven goal thriller the Harriers took the lead before going a goal behind to Southport just after the break.  After bringing the game back Harriers then conceded two to turn joy into despair.  The Harriers showed amazing resilience to score late on to bring a grand-stand finish to the game but it wasn't to be as they failed to find the illusive goal with five minutes to go.

For the Harriers ten of the thirteen players used were making their home competitive debuts causing confusion for some fans who hadn't attended pre-season friendlies and hadn't bought programmes.  Included amongst the debutants was the new signing from North Wales in the form of ginger haired Welsh striker Marc Williams joining Harriers and his brother Michael on a three month loan.

Southport – newly promoted from the Blue Square North - had the likes of Matthew McNeil and Matthew McGinn who taunted and troubled the Harriers defensive pairing of Michael Briscoe and Mark Albrighton all night long.

Following the win against York City, three days ago, the Harriers started the brighter and, shooting towards their home fans, were pressing and attacking from the off.  We won a corner within a minute and took the lead within five as a corner was taken from the right by Dave Hankin, who performed terrifically in the first half, but it was only half cleared as far as Michael Briscoe on the edge of the Southport area who anticipated the flight of the ball perfectly and hit a well placed volley into the top right hand corner with just enough power for it to evade Tony McMillan in the Southport goal and please the home fans.

Kidderminster continued to attack though and time and time again Hankin won the ball on the right from goal kicks and played balls that looked to be lost causes towards Nick Wright.  His sheer perseverance caused problems for Southport and with the quality of the balls provided it looked increasingly likely that Harriers were going to double their lead.

There were still signs that Southport had a foot in the game as Kidderminster were lucky to have their lead intact when a ball was played across the face of goal to Michael Powell whose shot hit the crossbar when it looked easier to score.  Southport did eventually find an equaliser when the ball was played into the air and Mark Albrighton attempted to win the header but in heading the ball upwards it dropped to McNeil who unleashed a superb drive across goal into the bottom right hand corner of Danny Lewis' goal giving him no chance and leaving Harriers fans silenced.

Kidderminster were on the back foot at this point and, despite having a brilliant chance to regain their lead after a well worked free-kick was played in, such was the quality of the movement of the Harriers players that the ball went all the way through to the back post where right on time Jack Byrne was steaming in like a train and missed the ball by mere inches – a chance that Harriers would rue come full time.
  HT: 1 - 1
Half time came and went and this time it was Southport who had come out of the blocks quicker.  Within two minutes they had taken the lead through McNeil when a cross came in from the right from Chris Lever straight down the throat of Danny Lewis who flapped at the ball completely, and without anybody defensively dominant in sight, it was left to McNeil to head the ball over the line with ease.

The Harriers weren't taking this without a fight though and still went forward to attack.  Callum Gittings saw his header go wide from a Hankin cross and Wright had a shot saved from McMillan.

Infact in this period of the game Hankin was the main threat to the Southport defence as the centre of the midfield seemed to have died away.  Keith Briggs and Jack Byrne were going missing far too often for long periods of time.

When Hankin did get the ball in the big Southport centre-back, Earl Davis, was on hand to get the ball away and commanded aerially quite well throughout the game.

On fifty seven minutes Harriers were level and a true goal of the season contender had been achieved.  The ball was played over the top to Nick Wright who ran through to the right of the goal and, with the ball still in the air, he hit a superb half volley with the angle tight giving McMillan no chance in the Southport goal.

This gave the Harriers fans something to cheer about and the team started to show the same resilience and fight that was seen against York City.

In the next five minutes the game was there for the taking and both Gittings and Hankin had shots for the Harriers that failed to trouble the Southport keeper.  Southport took the lead again in the seventy third minute when the ball again came from the right from Ashley Winn and Lewis came out and flapped at it and barely got a touch on the ball and the ball went straight to McGinn who hit a very well struck shot which, whilst probably not placed, the power the shot had would've still got the ball into the net and gave the Sandgrounders the lead again.

By this time Marc Williams had come on to make his debut for Kidderminster in place of Dave Hankin and just after the goal Matty Blair came on for Gittings.  These changes hadn't changed the way the game was going because with six minutes to go Southport had been gifted a penalty from a supposed Briscoe handball in the area.

Some fans say it was a penalty and some say it wasn't, but nevertheless it was given, and it was down to Matthew McGinn to run up and smack the ball into the top left hand corner with Lewis diving the wrong way to give Southport a two-goal lead and ultimately the three points.

Or that's how it was supposed to have been as two minutes later the fight was back on with Chris McPhee playing a lobbed ball over the goalkeeper towards Marc Williams who, on his debut, got a touch to take it into the goal and bring the deficit back to only one goal.  With five minutes of stoppage being announced it gave the Harriers fans something to hope for and dream about.

Despite the resilience, passion, hard work and a succession of corners that were continually played too long for anyone to get a decent touch on it wasn't to be and the hundred or so Southport fans took three points back with them up to the North West.  Seconds before the end though Lewis did make a fantastic save to atone for his earlier errors and got a hand to a shot destined for the bottom right hand corner.

Scoring three goals you shouldn't be losing games but unfortunately the blame for the defeat has to partially go towards Danny Lewis who was ultimately at fault for two of the goals by flapping at the ball when it needed to be plucked out of the air and claimed.  Whilst he's not the tallest of goalkeepers its something we need to do if we're not to concede from this type of ball time and time again.  Over forty six games balls like that will be commonplace and we need to nip the danger from them in the bud.

On the positive side we created chances and Wright looks absolutely superb as I thought he may be when he joined the club.  He chased everything down tonight and could, if he stays with us, become a firm favourite with the Harriers fans.

Mansfield travel to Aggborough on Saturday and we need to improve defensively if we want to get three points to get our season back on track.  The future is bright.  The future is Red.
  FT: 3 - 4

 Goals for Harriers: Briscoe 5, Wright 58, Marc Williams 88
 Goals for Southport: McNeil 34, 48, McGinn 74, 84(pen)


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Harriers  subs   cards      Southport  subs   cards 
Lewis     McMillan  
Shaw     Lee  
Mike Williams     Lever  
Briscoe     R Williams  
Byrne     Davis  
Albrighton     Powell gif  
Hankin gif     Winn  
Briggs     Moogan  
Wright     McNeil gif  
McPhee     Gray gif  
Gittings gif     McGinn  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Stevens     Dickinson  
Griffiths     Daly gif  
Marc Williams gif     Barrett gif  
Sharpe     Blakeman gif  
Blair gif     Collins  

REFEREE:
Mr A Hendley
Wednesbury




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