The Harriers hit Mansfield on the rebound today with two fine first half goals at the One Call Stadium today. Last week our hosts had been entertaining the illustrious Liverpool but lost with bravery in their hearts.
Today they crumbled and withered against the illustrious Harriers.
With Jamille Matt no longer with us it was a return to the 4-3-3 that we stuck with to no avail earlier in the season. Ryan Rowe and Anthony Malbon started the game as our lone strikers but it was two players from the other end of the pitch that grabbed the points for us.
The home side had already come close to opening the scoring when Matt Greens superb strike veered away from Danny Lewis and struck the outside of the post. Harriers fans sat in the stand behind the goal began to expect the worst but once through the early storm we managed to get a grip on the game.
We gained a free kick that lead to our usual, unwanted, four man charade of each taking turns to run over the ball before being struck goalwards. This time by Mickey Demetriou and this time it wasn't too far off the target. That was just a practice run though.
Malbon should really have opened the scoring for the Harriers soon after when he was selflessly played in by James Vincent after the Mansfield keeper, Alan Marriott had gone walkabout Breeden fashion, but his side footed attempt in front of an open goal ballooned over the top.
The atmosphere was starting to rise now that we could see that Mansfield were not going to be the tough opponent that they should have been. Much of that atmosphere was being directed at Exodus Geohaghon in telling him what the Harriers thought of him or his deceit when he was with us for that short period of time at the start of the season.
Midway through the half and we were handed another free kick. Again, as in our first free kick, it was Lee Beevers that upended a player on the edge of the area but this time there was no messing about with half the team lining up to give the ball a tap. Up stepped Mickey D to blast the ball goalwards and fizzing to the right of Marriott and into the net.
And now we know that he must be our penalty taker.
It was to get even better a few minutes later. First Malbon came so close to getting back onto the score sheet when he made a great run to find space and then sent in a dipping shot that the Stags keeper only just managed to tip over the bar and then Lee Vaughan struck.
He deftly stepped over a red card worthy lunge from Beevers and then, closing in on goal from the narrowest of angles, sent in a shot that literally flew across the face of the goal to nestle in the far corner.
The Harriers had their commanding lead and now they needed to hold on to it.
Mansfield stepped their game up and should have pulled a goal back soon after but Danny Lewis was beginning to show his worth in the Harriers goal. John Dempster, once a target signing for Steve Burr, headed goalwards from a corner but Danny was quick to react and pushed it onto the underside of the bar. From the rebound Matt Green should have buried the ball but thankfully Josh Gowling cleared the ball to safety in the nick of time.
With the halftime whistle seemingly never going to happen, for reasons known only to the referee, we had a chance to increase our lead further when Demetriou hit the foot of the post following a lengthy run into the goal area by Marvin Johnson. It was Mansfield that was to end the half the strongest though when a long throw from Geohaghon was headed backwards by a Harriers defender into the path of Lindon Meikle and his snapshot went narrowly over the bar.
Then in almost the final minute they had their best chance of the game when Green picked up the ball on the edge of the area to send a tremendous, powerful shot in that bent the bar as it came back off it. The ball was cleared to safety by Chey Dunkley but it really had goal written all over it.