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Harriers 2gifStockport County 0

Date: 25-02-17 gif Venue: Aggborough gif att: 2151 gif away fans: 515
Super Harriers stun Stockport

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers efforts to get promoted back at the first attempt were rewarded in this tough encounter with in form Stockport at Aggborough today when a great opportunists goal from Arthur Gnahoua on the stroke of halftime sent us into the break happy and then mid way through the second period a stunning flying header from Elton N'Gwatala gave us the clinching goal to win the game.  Stockport played part in a rip roaring game too and had their fair chance to win the game too but their shooting was way below par.

We started the game with a return to the side for Zaine Francis-Angol at the expense of Josh Ezewele who dropped to the bench.  There was still no sign of Mani Dieseruvwe after he failed a fitness test last Saturday and appears to have done the same today.

A win for us today, coupled with a dropping of points for Salford at home to Telford, would have put us back into second place in the table but it was County that were the strongest out of the blocks.  For almost the first fifteen minutes of the game the ball remained in their possession and we could hardly get the ball off them.  In that time they could and should have taken the lead after a Sefton Gonzales through ball played in their leading scorer Danny Lloyd to hit the post.

We came alive to the threat that was staring us in the face and began to put our game together a little without ever threatening Ben Hinchcliffe in the County goal.  N'Gwatala came the closest when he saw his shot blocked by a defender but again we seemed afraid to shoot on sight and any openings we created were easily snuffed out due to our hesitancy in front of goal.

With two such in form teams it was never going to be an end to end battle and so it proved with most of the action taking place in midfield.  It took an inspired run from Arthur Gnahoua to break the ice when an equally inspired long ball (Harriers? long ball???) went over the blue clad defenders and towards the keeper.  It looked impossible that Arthur would reach the ball but he did and he didn't give up as two covering defenders failed to appreciate his speed as he nipped between them to slot the ball under the keeper and home.

It could have been two goals to take into the break for the Reds when Tyrone Williams broke free of his marker to send over a cross that Andre Brown fired just wide with a second left to go.
  HT: 1 - 0
Stockport had definitely had a talking too at the break because they came out earlier for the second half.  It was hard to see why though because they looked to be a pretty strong team if a little too physical at times.  As in the first they started this forty five better again.

A chance came and went begging for Sefton Gonzales when he fired straight at Palmers legs.  We responded with Gnahoua forcing Hinchcliffe into a save at the other end of the pitch.  Gonzales, again, messed up when he was sent clear through on goal but sent his shot well wide and substitute Josh Amis, on soon after the break for Meppen-Walker, also fired wide and then two minutes later over the bar.

We were trying hard to create chances of our own but without a striker with a strikers attitude it was never going to be easy.  Andre Brown was struggling up front by himself against tough, tall defenders and it was no surprise that he was taken off for Ashley Carter mid way through the half.  A bigger surprise was why Carter?  With no strikers on the bench for us we had to change something but maybe a wideman like Darryl Knights or Sam Austin would have made more sense and that was compounded more when defender Josh Ezewele came on minutes later for Tyrell Waite.

We seemed to be taking the 'keep what we have' option and we know how dangerous that can be.  No need to worry though because it didn't seem to click with Stockport and then a few minutes later we wrapped the game up anyway and what a way to wrap a game up.

Arthur Gnahoua made his way down the wing and left the defender for dead before whipping over a cross that looked to be a bit too strong.  Not to worry though because in came Elton N'Gwatala stooping low and flying above the ground to powerfully headslam the ball into the net with the keeper rooted to the spot.

We pushed forward looking for a third goal to make the game really, really safe but that left gaps at the back that County tried to exploit without reward.  Their best chance fell for Jimmy Ball but his shooting was as profligate as his fellow strikers and went wide of the post.

Talking of Stockport strikers: Who was this Danny Lloyd that their fans keep on about?  The only time he was seen was when he was moaning at the referee or getting involved with arguments with Harriers players so it was no surprise to see the spoilt child booked late on for answering back once too often.

The win keeps us in third place in the table thanks to Salford beating Telford but a little gap is now opening up between fourth placed Chorley and fifth placed Halifax now with four points separating them.  We now have two equally tough away games to contend with starting at Brackley on Tuesday night and then up to FC of Manchester next Saturday.  Two teams we have lost against already this season and don't want to do so again.
  FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Gnahoua 45, N'Gwatala 79

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Talk about the game here  
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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Stockport County  goals   subs   cards 
A Palmer     Hinchcliffe  
Williams     Ross  
Francis-Angol     Hampson
Croasdale   Montrose
Lowe   M Clarke  
Tunnicliffe     Smalley gif  
Waite gif     Meppen-Walters gif  
McQuilkin     Duxbury  
A Brown gif     Gonzales  
N'Gwatala gif gif     Ball  
Gnahoua gif     Lloyd
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Ezewele gif - 79     Ormson  
Truslove gif - 90     Brazel  
Knights     Marsden  
Austin     Felix gif - 81  
Carter gif - 76     Amis gif - 47  

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