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Harriers 0 Grimsby Town 1

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Date: 20-09-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2093gif away fans: 393
Harriers home record comes to an end

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers unbeaten home record came to an end today after we ruled the game against Grimsby with probably our best display of the season.  Sadly a lapse late on gave them the winner as debutant Rhys Oates capitalised on an injury to Jared Hodgkiss to score in the eighty fifth minute.

This game was going to be the real test of how Harriers would be doing this season against one of the favourites for promotion.  We had won 4-0 on Tuesday evening against Altrincham but this was going to be a sterner test.  Up front for us Michael Gash was starting once more but in a change to Tuesday his partner on the evening, Craig Reid, was demoted to the bench in favour of Reece Styche while Hodgkiss returned in defence in place of Jake Green.  Also on the bench was Callum Gittings returning from injury.

Grimsby, five places below us at the start of the game, started the game the strongest but once the Harriers found their rhythm they soon took control of the proceedings.  After Scott Brown saw his long range effort go close for the visitors the Harriers upped the work rate and also went close with a shot from Styche that took a deflection and went out for a corner, one of many for the home side that went unrewarded.

Marvin Johnson was having the time of his life running rings around the beefy looking Carl Magnay (and some fans criticise Gash for being overweight!) and sending in chance after chance that all it needed was someone to get on the end of one of his teasing balls in.  Some of his trickery was top drawer and, in fact, our passing as a whole was possibly the best seen at Aggborough for a long time.  It was just that final ball letting us down.

Our first real chance of the game came through a Kevin Nicholson free kick that the Grimsby keeper James McKeown did well to scrabble across the goal to keep out.  A minute later and he should have been beaten when Johnson set off on an incredible run, beating one man and then another, before squaring up to the keeper.  Sadly he chose the wrong time to shoot and did so from outside the area when, instead, he could have advanced a bit closer to really test McKeown.  As it was the keeper parried the ball away as far as Gash who then made the miss of the season and ballooned the ball over the South Stand.

We were now taking Grimsby to the cleaners in terms of possession and ball play but it was still in front of goal that we were being let down.  Styche missed a great chance to get on the scoresheet but sent his chance wide and then a moment later he was deemed offside when a Johnson shot went zooming in.

Jack Mackreth had an opportunity to score for the Mariners but was denied at the last breath by Hodgkiss who had got back enough to put him off and then Josh Gowling also made a wonderful last ditch tackle to deny Scott Neilson of a similar chance.

The half drew to a close with the game all square and all to play for.  The Harriers had been the best side by far but needed to up the ante slightly for the second half if they hoped to go on and win.
  HT: 0 - 0
The second half started with more caution than the first had ended and it was plain that Grimsby had been told to mark Johnson more closely and so this time round we didn't seem to be so effective at cutting through the Grimsby defence at will.  We had an early chance that went begging when for reasons known only to himself Towns Dan Parslow headed the ball across the face of his own goal but no Harriers player could get at it.  A minute later Reece Styche crossed for Gash but the ball went behind the striker with him in on an open goal.

Chey Dunkleys header soon after was blocked on the line and then Johnson sent a shot wide before Grimsby had their first chance of the half when Scott Neilson curled a shot wide.

In an effort to create something more positive Grimsby introduced new signing Rhys Oates into the game at the expense of Mackreth.  Oates had signed for them on loan from Barnsley late yesterday and he was to change the pattern of the game with them now playing two up front instead of the lone Ross Hannah of the first half.

We were still pressing for a goal but not so often now.  Johnson hit the post with one shot and then Nathan Blissett, on for Michael Gash earlier, managed to get the ball into the net in the seventy eighth minute but his goal was ruled out for a foul.

The Harriers were now upping the pressure once more and the crowd was rising to the occasion too and urging the side on when the worst possible event occurred.  Grimsby scored.

With Callum Gittings waiting to come on, due to an injury to Jared Hodgkiss, the referee had opted to ignore the three signals from the fourth official that we wanted to make a change.  Because of that injury Scott Brown skipped past the helpless Jared and played the ball in for Oates, the player that had arrived on the pitch minutes earlier, to turn on the ball and smash it beyond the reach of Danny Lewis in the Harriers goal.

It was a cruel blow for us after dominating the game for large periods but if you don't score, especially with all the possession we had, then you don't win games.  For the final five minutes we tried hard to get the elusive equaliser but it was never going to happen.  Even more so with a referee that totally ignored a blatant handball in the area in the dying seconds.

We now have to put this result to the back of our minds for the trip to Woking next Saturday but not the way we played.  That was something we can build on.
  FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Grimsby: Oates 85


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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Grimsby Town  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     McKeown  
Hodgkiss gif   Parslow  
Nicholson     Nsiala
Storer     Brown  
Gowling     Pearson  
Dunkley     Magnay  
Byrne     Mackreth gif  
Johnson     Disley  
Gash gif     Clay  
Styche gif     Hannah  
Grimes     Neilson gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Blissett gif - 70     Bignot  
Green     Doig  
Reid gif - 75     Oates gif gif - 63  
Verma     Winfarrah  
Gittings gif - 86     McLaughlin gif - 86  

REFEREE:
Mr L Swabey
Devon




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