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Harriers 2gifStalybridge Celtic 1

Date: 20-08-16 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 1185 gif away fans: 12
Depleted Harriers hold on at the end

gif Report: Harrier Shane
Liam Watson'a Stalybridge Celtic side were today's visitors in the third home game of Harriers' season in the Conference North, where just 1185 people witnessed a first win in front of the Aggborough faithful for John Eustace's men.  The team was unchanged from the midweek triumph at Nuneaton, with new signing Ryan Croasdale making the bench.

Harriers started brightly, knocking the ball about in confident fashion, with Celtic often chasing shadows.  The opening quarter of an hour saw a couple of half chances created but nothing really to trouble former Southport keeper Tony McMillan.

The Harriers looked relatively at ease bringing the ball out from the back and stretching the play and it was skipper Keith Lowe who can half claim an assist in breaking the deadlock; the experienced campaigner bringing the ball forward twenty yards into the visitors half before hitting a daisy cutter which ricocheted off the heel of Elton N'Gwatala, falling kindly at the feet of Mani Dieseruvwe who finished with aplomb from the edge of the box.

Barring a Stalybridge half chance shortly after the goal, Harriers were not unduly threatened and deservedly doubled their lead when Lowe again advanced with the ball and hit an effort which flew well wide.  Referee Ricky Wootton adjudged the effort to have taken a deflection and gave a corner, which Arthur Gnahoua swung in from the East Stand side of the ground, delivering a teasing ball for Tyrone Williams to power home a header from close range.

Half time came with Harriers looking comfortable and a first home win of the season surely looking in the bag.
  HT: 2 - 0
Stalybridge were content to sit with ten men behind the ball and whatever Watson said at half time seemed to work with Nick Ryan poking home a poorly defended deep free kick in the fifty first minute to set the cat among the pigeons, with a visibly peeved Hornby berating his defence for failing to deal with the set piece.

Celtic's tails up, they continued to push forward, Hornby called into action again to claw away a Steve Tames effort.  Mr Woottons refereeing display was reminiscent of Jekyll and Hyde and he began to incur the wrath of the Harriers faithful with some questionable decisions in the opening period of the second half.  Then the flashpoint just after the hour mark where handbags ensued sparking a mass brawl.

Ash Carter seemed to be at its epicentre and was being hauled away by Dieseruvwe, with all bar Hornby getting involved.  Once control had been restored the Harriers number four was shown a straight red, whilst Aaron Chalmers was shown only a yellow for his part in the fracas.  The referee would later tell a protesting Lowe that his team mate was given his marching orders for a head butt - I didn't see it personally but it is inexcusable to act in such a manner and as such deserved the punishment received.

A nervous final twenty five minutes were in store for Harriers who now sought to preserve their slender lead with Ryan Croasdale coming on for Arthur Gnahoua and making his debut.  James McQuilkin had what was Harriers' first chance of the half with seventy on the clock, and a fine team move moments later forced McMillan into an excellent stop.

As expected, the visitors looked to plough forward with Eustace responding by bringing on veteran defender Wayne Thomas for N'Gwatala in a bid to shore things up.  There was only one heart stopping moment in the final ten minutes of pressure with Hornby producing a top draw save, getting down sharply to push away an effort ensuring that he would not be beaten again.

After four minutes of added time, Mr Wootton called an end to the game and a tense finish it was, with relief all round and a visibly happy Hornby celebrating in front of the Harriers fans, much to the ire of the visiting number fifteen.
  FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Dieseruvwe 17, Williams 35
 Goal for Stalybridge: Ryan 51

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Stalybridge Celtic  goals   subs   cards 
Hornby     McMillan  
Williams gif     Wylie
Francis-Angol     Kelly  
Carter   Chalmers
Lowe     Ryan gif  
Tunnicliffe     Platt gif
Waite     Hynes  
McQuilkin   Wisdom  
Dieseruvwe gif     Owens gif  
N'Gwatala gif     Tames  
Gnahoua gif     Mukendi  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Austin     Farrell gif - 38  
Truslove     Bagshaw  
Croasdale gif - 69     Pilkington gif - 46 gif  
Thomas gif - 83     Sherlock gif - 67  
A Brown    

Mr R Wootton

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