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Grimsby Town 1 Harriers 2

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Date: 31-03-12gif Venue: Blundell Parkgif att: 3194gif away fans: 78
Harriers he-Rowe scores a late winner

gif Report by Centreforeword
With the weather just having turned, it was with a cold breeze blowing off the North Sea that Kidderminster Harriers visited Blundell Park to take on Grimsby Town in the Blue Square Bet Premier League.  Harriers boss Steve Burr started with the same side that had won at home against Darlington the preceding Saturday - with the same players also on the bench - but with one exception.  Mickey Demetriou, who had not been his normal assured self against Darlington, started on the bench with Mike Williams duly taking his spot in the starting line up.

Due to a mix up with the kit, Harriers wore blue socks (many of which seemed not to match) with their normal red shirts and red shorts, as Grimsby were playing in black and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks as normal.

Both sides knew a point would not be enough to see them in play-off contention after the days game and so particularly towards the end the match had the feel of a frenetic cup tie.

The first half was very even.  Grimsby kicked off and immediately went on the attack through Liam Hearn and Peter Winn on the left, but their attack had little potency at the end of the burst.  Then Harriers' first attack saw Marvin Johnson overhit a cross from the left that flew harmlessly over Jimmy McKeown's bar.

A good passing move down the left eventually led to Hearn having Grimsby's first shot on target of the afternoon but his twenty-yard curler was comfortable for Tony Breeden to catch.  The next attack saw Hearn chase a ball down on the left before finding Frankie Artus and his chip into the box was knocked down for Winn to fire over the bar.  Shortly afterwards another nice move, this time from the right, ended with Mike Coulson shooting from eighteen yards but, again, Breeden only had to make a simple save.

Kidderminster won the first corner of the game and Steve Guinan beat McKeown to Johnson's delivery but he sent his header over the bar.  The away side thought they had taken the lead on fourteen minutes.  Another corner from Johnson on the right was headed goalward by Guinan but the keeper parried the ball out to Anthony Malbon who buried it in the net but the offside flag was raised against the on fire striker and the goal was ruled out.  Replays later showed however that the goal should not have been disallowed as Malbon was in fact well onside.

Then a quick break from the visitors saw Guinan get on the end of a great defence-splitting ball from Jack Byrne but McKeown was equal to the striker's first-time shot, pushing it away for a corner.  Guinan then also prodded a shot wide of the far post after linking up with Kyle Storer.

A foul by Bradley Wood on Malbon earned him the first booking of the game and gave the away side a free kick on the left side of the Mariners' penalty area.  However, they failed to capitalise on it as Malbon's ball into the box was headed clear.

On thirty seven minutes a foul on Conor Townsend by Lee Vaughan earned the Harriers right-back a yellow card and gave the Mariners a free kick just to the left of the penalty area.  From it, the hosts made the breakthrough, as Artus' delivery was headed against the post by Andy Wright and the ball then unluckily hit Breeden's back and ended up in the Harriers' net.
  HT: 1 - 0
No changes were made before the restart and Kidderminster should have been level within ninety seconds when Johnson got the ball into the six-yard area with a low cross from the left but Malbon could not get enough power on his shot to beat McKeown.  He pushed the ball back out and the visitors had plenty of attackers inside the box including Guinan and Hankin but none could get enough on the ball to turn it into the net.

A foul by Andy Wright on Hankin gave the visitors a free kick twenty five yards out in a central position and from it they had their equaliser.  Kyle Storer's shot came off Coulson in the Town wall but the ball found its way to Vaughan on the right and his well floated cross was powerfully headed past McKeown by Malbon from about ten yards out.

Anthony Church replaced Winn soon afterwards for Grimsby as the Mariners made the first substitution of the game two minutes before the hour.  Marvin Johnson then hit the side netting with a shot from eighteen yards after Andy Wright lost possession deep inside his own half.

Both sides were looking to attack in search of what would be a vital second goal and the Mariners were the next to go close when a cross from Townsend was headed just wide by Coulson on sixty five minutes.  Artus was booked for a foul on the halfway line, which proved to be the start of a spell of Kidderminster pressure that saw them win three corners in relatively quick succession, as well as having an optimistic penalty shout for a handball turned down.

A corner at the other end from Coulson led to Shaun Pearson taking the ball wide towards the right and giving it to Hearn, who fizzed a cross-shot just wide of the far post.  Then Storer forced McKeown into an acrobatic save from a twenty five-yard volley but Hankin's resulting corner was headed away by Church.

Robert Duffy came on for Anthony Elding for the final stages of the game and Kidderminster boss Steve Burr also shuffled his pack as he too went in search of all three points with ten minutes to go.  Ryan Rowe and Nick Wright replaced Guinan and Johnson.  The last change was then made by Scott and Hurst, sending Kiernan Hughes-Mason on for Artus.

Rowe missed a good chance to win the game for the visitors when he scooped a shot over the bar after Hankin had pulled the ball back from the right on 83 minutes.  A foul by Coulson on Byrne then gave Kidderminster a free kick right on the edge of the box and McKeown kept his side level with a fantastic fingertip save from Marshall's twenty-yard effort and then got up to save again from the rebound.

With both sides still looking for a winning goal that would edge them closer to the play-off zone, the last ten minutes proved to be frantic and legs were getting more and more tired.  It was the Harriers who got that goal with three minutes of the added time gone when Rowe picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area after an interchange with Hankin.  He showed quick feet to beat three challenges, create an opening, and then rifle a shot past McKeown from twelve yards.

A superb effort and the Harriers fans and all the Aggborough players enjoyed jubilant celebrations.

Overall the Harriers battled well away from home once more.  Jack Byrne had another excellent game as did Anthony Malbon and Dave Hankin featured well too - 'you know what you are going to get from Dave'.  The new players at last seem to be blending in with the rest of the team.

In order to get into a play-off spot, Harriers probably need to overhaul Luton (who now have only one win from the last seven games) and Southport - both of whom they are still to play away from home - two big 'sixpointers'.  This result makes next Saturday's game away at Southport very interesting indeed.

Come on you Harriers fans - it's time to raid the piggy bank and treat her indoors to an Easter weekend away by the seaside.
  FT: 1 - 2

 Goal for Grimsby: A Wright 39
 Goals for Harriers: Malbon 55, Rowe 90


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gif Jack Byrne



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Grimsby Town  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
McKeown     Breeden  
Pearson   L Vaughan
Wood   Mike Williams  
Townsend     Jones  
Miller     Marshall  
A Wright     Storer
Coulson     Hankin  
Winn gif     Malbon
Elding gif     Guinan gif  
Hearn     Byrne  
Artus gif   Johnson gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
I'Anson     Lyness  
Church gif     N Wright gif  
Soares     Demetriou  
Duffy gif     Vincent  
Hughes-Mason gif     Rowe gif  

REFEREE:
Mr R Clark
Northumberland




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