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Altrincham 2gifHarriers 2

Date: 13-10-15 gif Venue: Moss Lane gif att: 869 gif away fans: 80 (est)
Harriers robbed in the ninety fifth minute

gif Report: Harry Taylor
A last-ditch deflected free kick in the 95th minute robbed Harriers of their first win of the season, after the away side turned out one of their best performances of the season.

New loan-signings Ben Whitfield and Joe Ward made their debuts, and Callum Hassan, fast becoming a fans favourite made his first start since joining the club.  Lathaniel Rowe-Turner replaced the injured Kevin Toner.

Going forward in the first half the Harriers looked good, with passing football between the midfield and attackers.  Hassan provided a pivot for Murphy, Whitfield and Zaine Francis-Angol to play off but time and time again however, it was the final decision that was lacking, a ball that should've been played earlier, choosing to run down the wing instead of cutting inside or not shooting at all, all times where the game could've been cut open and wasn't.

Hassan nearly gave the Harriers the lead when he dived forward to get onto the end of a cross from the left, but missed the ball.

It was Altrincham who took the lead in the end, and from another set-piece.  Former Harrier James Lawrie hit a corner from the right, which beat Dean Snedker at his near post making it the third goal Harriers have conceded from a corner in two games.

The Harriers continued to come forward with some passing football, putting pressure on the Altrincham 18-yard box, with the Reds eventually drawing level.  Good play down the right wing led to Jared Hodgkiss supplying the ball to powerhouse Hassan who swung a boot at the ball, completely mis-kicking it but still hammering it home from nine yards out leaving keeper Tim Deasy no chance of saving it.

  HT: 1 - 1
The second half kicked off with the Harriers level and the travelling contingent couldn't have helped thinking this couldn't be when we win, could it?  For the first part of the second half it looked as though it wouldn't.  Like the game against Boreham Wood the Harriers retreated into their own half, but at least did look to break on the counter.

Chances to put the home side ahead were missed by Altrincham's Josh O'Keefe and Jordan Sinnott, Michael Rankine also had an effort saved yet Snedker and the Harriers defence were increasingly looking comfortable defending Altrincham's attacks, and looked to break on the counter.

With fifteen minutes left to go Harriers fans were left thinking that it could very well have been that win when new man Ben Whitfield nicked the ball from Luca Havern, ran clear of the defence and slotted the ball past Deasy.  Cue pandemonium on the terraces.  Then the nerves set in.

Harriers continued to defend stoutly with Jordan Tunnicliffe looking assured in the air while Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Kelvin Langmead got blocks in, and Hodgkiss being there when it mattered.  The Harriers new manager, Dave Hockaday, sent on Reece Styche to replace Zaine Francis-Angol and Callum Hassan moved to the left wing as we went to a 4-5-1 formation.

As the minutes ticked by the Altrincham attacks were wasted and Snedker was equal to any shot that came in.  Then, soon after Joe Clarke having replaced Whitfield, the board went up for five minutes added time?

Harriers fans hearts were in their mouths but we continued to be equal, fortuitously at times, to the Altrincham attacks.  Deep into added time and we were still leading and within sight of our first win of the season.  This has got to be it, hasn't it?

Turns out it wasn't.

Rowe-Turner missed a clearance on the left and the ball was played across the face of the box, Hodgkiss sliding in on James Lawrie on the edge of the area and he fell to the ground too easily.  The referee pointed for a free kick.

This can't happen, can it?  No longer was it the thought that we might win, but that fate would deal us a blow.

And fate dealt us a blow, from the boot of Michael Rankine, via deflections off two players.

Altrincham had drawn level in the ninety fifth minute of the game.  There was no point kicking back off, the rest of the game being all of ten seconds or so, leaving the raw feeling of dejection etched on the faces of both the players and fans.

Of course there's always another chance on Saturday to win our first game, but to come so close, playing so well and have it snatched away cruelly at the death will have floored morale in the dressing room.  It was two points lost on a night where results went in our favour, Halifax notably being tonked 7-0 by Grimsby Town.  Arguably, it has got to the stage where the season is beyond salvageable.  Seven points from safety, having played five of the bottom seven already, without beating any of them.

Perhaps tonight will be looked back on as the night when, realistically, relegation became virtually inevitable.
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Altrincham: Lawrie 21, Rankine 95
 Goals for Harriers: Hassan 38, Whitfield 75

The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Jared Hodgkiss

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Altrincham  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Deasy     Snedker  
Sinnott     Hodgkiss
Bowerman     Rowe-Turner  
Moult     Maxwell  
Havern     Langmead  
Leather     Tunnicliffe  
Lawrie gif     Francis-Angol gif  
O'Keefe gif     Ward  
Rankine gif     Hassan gif
Reeves     Whitfield gif gif  
Clee     Murphy gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Heathcote gif - 86     Palmer  
Swift     Clarke gif - 91  
Williams     Dinsley  
Davis     Green gif - 53  
Stouppis     Styche gif - 76  

Mr T Nield
W Yorkshire

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