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Southport 1 Harriers 2

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Date: 07-04-12gif Venue: Haig Avenuegif att: 1544gif away fans: 244
Resurgent Jones redeems himself with last gasp winner

gifReport by Centreforeword
On a bright but cool day, it was with a cold breeze blowing off the Irish Sea that Kidderminster Harriers visited Haig Avenue to take on Southport in the Blue Square Bet Premier League.  The Harriers boss Steve Burr started with the same side that had won away against Grimsby the preceding Saturday with the same players also on the bench - but with one exception - Kyle Storer, who had been suspended following him incurring ten cautions.

He was in the crowd, with James Vincent duly taking his spot in the starting line up.  Accordingly, Callum Gittings, back from injury, started on the bench.  Both sides knew a single point was unlikely to help them in their struggle to remain in play-off contention and so yet again towards the end, the match had the feel of a frenetic cup tie.

The first half, as with most of the game in all honesty, was very even.  The Sandgrounders started well and Shaun Whalley was posing the Harriers plenty of problems.  He created an opening in the second minute with a well flighted pass but defender Simon Grand headed a tough chance wide.

Southport continued in a similar vein and throughout the game the home side looked threatening by using the tactic of long throw-ins from the arms of James Owens.  After about eight minutes, Whalley darted into the penalty area but Lee Vaughan's tackle ended the Southport move forward.

As the half progressed the Harriers became more dominant.  Anthony Malbon let a good chance slip when he had his shot blocked by Grand, while Steve Guinan saw the ball sear over the crossbar from about eighteen yards with a good rasping effort.  Dave Hankin then had a low well placed shot saved at the base of the post by the home side shot-stopper Tony McMillan.

Nevertheless, what was at the time against the run of play, the Worcestershire side fell behind after sixteen minutes.  Luke Jones dithered out on the touchline instead of clearing the ball into the stand and got caught out by Owens.  The Southport man sped forward down the left wing before squaring the ball to captain Alan Moogan who placed the ball perfectly passed Tony Breeden from about fifteen yards out and into the back of the net.

The Harriers shot stopper denied the hosts again a few minutes later when Tony Gray volleyed a Chris Lever cross from the left but the Aggborough keeper was equal to the task.

For a few minutes Luke Jones was clearly shaken by making the mistake that conceded the goal and the boys in red struggled to pick themselves up.  Marvin Johnson nearly levelled the scores after thirty one minutes with a fine curling shot from the edge of the area but it did not quite curl far enough and flew inches wide of the far post.

With three minutes to go before half time, and whilst the Southport defence were caught napping looking for an offside, Anthony Malbon had time to control Lee Vaughans long cross.  With great composure in front of goal he then slammed a shot into the back of the home sides net to ensure Harriers went in level at the break.
  HT: 1 - 1
The Harriers came out attacking again in the second half.  In the fiftieth minute Malbon took aim from about twenty five yards out with a half chance and watched the ball scoot only a few yards wide.

Shortly afterwards James Vincent was played in by Malbon's intelligent passing movement but the hesitant ex Stockport man failed to pull the trigger and went to ground under a heavy challenge.  Nonetheless his claims for a penalty were ignored by the referee.

Under good continued Harriers pressure Tom Marshall then saw his header from only a few yards out cleared off the line by James Smith.

Half way through the second half the home side themselves came close.  Whalley surged forward with a powerful run but, reminiscent of Marvin Johnson's effort in the first half, his left-footed curler was aimed a fraction wide of the far post.

In a similar vein to the game at Grimsby, in the preceding week, legs became tired as play switched from end to end as each team surged forward in turn as the clock ticked on.  Luke Jones by this point had fully regained his composure and together with his centre back cohort Marshall they kept in check most of the Sandgrounders' attacks.

Towards the end of the game Steve Burr and Gary Wilde threw on Ryan Rowe, Nick Wright and Mickey Demetriou in place of Guinan, Johnson and Hankin.  It was a good move as the fresh legs clearly helped Kidderminster edge the closing stages of the match.

Indeed, Harriers were presented with an excellent goal-scoring opportunity in the eighty sixth minute when Malbon was fouled on the edge of the eighteen yard box.  However, substitute Nick Wrights free kick from a great position was a disaster as it flew high and wide and landed just off the end of Southport pier.

Wright then had another chance and crossed the ball firmly but Rowe could only put the ball wide at the near post.

Just as the travelling 244 away fans thought they were witnessing a hard earned point the Harriers only went and struck the winner in the ninety first minute.

Karl Ledsham tried to clear a cross in from Mickey Demetriou when in turn, in an attempt to block Ledshams clearance, the ball rebounded off the unflinching boot of Jones and into the back of the Southport goal.

Cue more wild celebrations along the lines of those which followed the winning goal at Grimsby in similar fashion the previous week.

A few games ago Harriers weren't enjoying any luck.  They were playing well but could not get the ball in the back of the net and ended up losing or drawing games they should have won easily.  Thankfully Lady Luck seems to have returned.

The teams big challenge now is to stay motivated against the so-called 'lesser' teams.  The boys need to remember that Newport beat York earlier in the week and Kettering will probably be fighting like injured animals now they are definitely relegated.  After all, Bath City beat Tamworth also yesterday so no games are foregone conclusions.

We need that big crowd at Aggborough on Monday to cheer on the lads and secure another three points.  This time hopefully in not quite such a dramatic fashion.
  FT: 1 - 2

 Goal for Southport: Moogan 16
 Goals for Harriers: Malbon 41, Jones 90


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gif Anthony Malbon



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Southport  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
McMillan     Breeden  
Smith     L Vaughan  
Lever     Mike Williams  
Akrigg     Jones
Grand     Marshall  
Owens gif     Byrne  
Whalley     Hankin gif
Moogan gif     Vincent  
Ledsham     Guinan gif  
Gray     Malbon  
Parry     Johnson gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Nemes     Lyness  
Davis     N Wright gif  
Benjamin gif     Rowe gif  
Carden     Demetriou gif  
Ellison gif     Gittings  

REFEREE:
Mr S Bratt
West Midlands





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