REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Bo Double Sinks Stags
Bo Henriksen was quick off the mark with both goals as Kidderminster made a winning start to their season with a 2-1 victory over Mansfield.
The Danish striker showed a touch of class in the 15th minute, running on to a 40-yard crossfield pass from Kenny Coleman and cleverly lifting his effort over keeper Kevin Pilkington from the edge of the box.
But the home side then lost their way and had goalkeeper Stuart Brock to thank for keeping Mansfield at bay.
He was eventually beaten when Wayne Corden curled a sweet free-kick beyond him 20 minutes into the second half.
Mansfield, aiming for a good start in their bid to bounce back into the Second Division after last season's relegation, looked the best bet to go on and win the game at that stage.
But Jamie Clarke handled a Coleman shot and Henriksen stepped up to slot home the Kidderminster winner from the spot after 74 minutes.
Stags shine, but lose opener
DESPITE an impressive opening day showing in the searing heat at Kidderminster, Stags were shot down by two-goal Danish hit man Bo Henriksen in a 2-1 defeat at Aggborough this afternoon.
The fact that Harriers keeper Stuart Brock took the man of the match award speaks volumes as Mansfield dominated the first half but fell behind to a rare Kidderminster attack and a spectacular goal that perhaps contained an element of fortune.
Wayne Corden levelled after the break as the pace slackened after a fast first 45 minutes.
But Henriksen proved the match winner with a penalty on 74 minutes.
Short term contract signings Dave Artell and Luke Dimech started the new season as the centre half pairing with Tony Vaughan out with injury and Rhys Day on the bench, and the pair both made excellent debuts.
Craig Disley and Junior Mendes also had to be content with places on the bench while Neil MacKenzie was not included at all.
Stags also went without a substitute keeper.
"You can pick holes in the team if you want but it was a very, very good performance in the end," said Stags assistant manager John Gannon.
"The fans will have seen us dictate the game away from home and restrict them to a couple of chances which they put away, one a screamer and the other a penalty which we felt wasn't a penalty as Pilkington was fouled as he came for the ball.
"We are bitterly disappointed and if it was a boxing match it would have been stopped.
"Sometimes you have to accept it's not your day and take it on the chin like a man and go away and regroup. But it is a result that sticks in the throat."
Gannon confirmed Colin Larkin was exhausted by the heat and feeling his hamstring at half-time and was withdrawn on the hour as a precaution.
The huge Stags following were offered some shade in the stand behind the goal and many filed round from the corner of the adjoining stand which was in fierce sunlight.
Colin Larkin received generous applause from the home fans on his return to Aggborough and by half-time might have had a hat-trick.
Stags started off the better and Bobby Hassell shot into the side netting after a loose pass from Sam Shilton while Larkin outstripped Craig Hinton down the left before forcing Stuart Brock into his first save of the afternoon.
Despite the intense heat, the game was being played at a blinding pace.
Kidderminster produced the breakthrough goal out the blue on 15 minutes.
Kenny Coleman lumped the ball forward and Bo Henrikson chased through a square defence on the left of the box. Looking up and seeing no support he hooked the ball hopefully goal wards and saw it dip over Kevin Pilkington and under the angle from 20 yards out on the left.
Encouraged by this, Harriers then enjoyed a good spell of pressure which Stags managed to stand up to.
Dean Bennett did send a 20-yard finish well over. But gradually Mansfield took a stranglehold and created a wealth of chances without finding a way past Brock before half-time.
Wayne Corden broke down the left to set up Larkin who turned well and fired a shot on target that Brock got across the block.
On 31 minutes Larkin came even closer. Dimech headed on Liam Lawrence's corner and Larkin's goal bound header from seven yards took the slightest of deflections wide off a defender.
Two minutes later Artell won a near post header and Lawrence forced Brock into a save with a shot from a tight angle.
Scott Stamps blocked another Larkin shot as Mansfield piled on the pressure in the heat.
Harriers had two escaped inside a minute on 38.
A super turn by Christie saw him get in a shot that was deflected and Brock somehow adjusted himself to tip over as he fell. From the corner by Lawrence, Dimech ran in for a free header that again Brock managed to save.
It seemed only a matter of time before Stags levelled and Lee Williamson showed great tenacity in winning a tackle on the edge of the box before curling a finish just over the angle.
On 41 Stags won a free kick just outside the box which Lawrence curled round the wall and Brock, seeing it very late, turned it round his post at the last second.
Dimech mis-kicked from a Lawrence cross and the ball ran to Tom Curtis who shot wide
In stoppage time the visitors again came desperately close. Larkin turned superbly as he controlled a lofted through ball by Lawrence to make space for a finish that flew disappointingly wide.
Lawrence, cautioned and then warned again for first half misdemeanours, was replaced at the interval by Craig Disley before he was sent off..
But it was the home side who came out the better and forced a string of early second half corners, although Brock was lucky when he spilled a cross at the other end and no one could capitalise.
Sean Flynn sent a difficult volley well over and Craig Hinton saw a low 25 yard drive deflect inches wide.
Inevitably the first half pace could not be maintained by either side as the temperature remained almost unbearable. But slowly but surely Stags began to get back into it.
Stags player-manager Keith Curle was surprisingly roundly booed by the visiting fans when he brought off Larkin on the hour to give Junior Mendes a run. Larkin has been out for so long with hamstring problems and, in that heat he had given his all, so it seemed a sensible move.
.From a corner two minutes later, Arett headed on and Dimech glanced a header just wide.
But on 65 minutes Mansfield were deservedly level. Winning a free kick in a central position 22 yards form goal Corden stepped up to curl the ball sweetly into the top right hand corner.
However, disaster struck nine minutes later.
Sean Flynn put the ball in from the left and Pilkington raced out to push clear. But he was stranded as Kenny Coleman had a shy at the unguarded net through a crowd of players.
Jamie Clarke threw his body in the way and the referee decided he had handled and pointed to the spot.
The home fans were chanting for a red card as well but, in the end, only Curtis and Pilkington were yellow-carded for dissent and Clarke escaped scot free.
But, up stepped Henriksen to tuck a perfect spot kick low inside Pilkington's left hand post.
Stung but not stunned Mansfield raised it a gear for the last 15 frantic minutes and came so close on 80 when Dimech put Corden's corner back into the danger zone and Artell hooked narrowly wide from eight yards.
Five minutes later Disley played a one-two with Mendes but scuffed his finish.
Stags had to be alert to Harriers' breaks as they pushed forward and Artell pulled off an impressive last ditch challenge to halt Harriers' substitute John Williams.
But the final whistle meant, for all their sweat and endeavour and chances created, Stags had begun the season with an undeserved defeat.
STAGS: Pilkington, Hassell, Clarke, Dimech, Artell, Curtis, Lawrence (Disley 45mins), Corden, Williamson, Christie (White 76mins), Larkin (Mendes 60mins). Subs not used: Day John-Baptiste.
Match Report by St@tto
Bo Henriksen hit a fine double as Harriers got their season off to a flying start. For the second season in a row a penalty was crucial in the opening game only this time it was converted to give Harriers a hard won three points.
Despite the soaring temperatures and blazing sunshine the game started at a hundred miles an hour and Mansfield, backed by a huge following, were the first to threaten. Former Harriers striker Colin Larkin found himself in a one-on-one situation with Stuart Brock but hit his shot weakly and the keeper was able to save with his legs. Within a couple of minutes the play switched to the other end and Harriers took the lead with a stunning strike from last season's 20-goal top scorer Bo Henriksen. Kenny Coleman picked him out with a long crossfield pass, the Dane's first touch was not the best but his second - a venomous dipping strike - left Pilkington grasping at thin air as the ball flew past him into the far corner.
The goal sparked a period of Harriers domination but for all of their possession they didn't threaten to build on their lead, only a Dean Bennett shot from distance went anywhere near the goal, and gradually the visitors began to get back into the game. After 25 minutes Danny Williams lost the ball in midfield to Lee Williamson who picked out Wayne Corden on the left wing, his ball inside found Larkin but again Brock was alert enough to save his shot. Shortly before the break Iyseden Christie cut inside from the left beating Craig Hinton and his shot deflected off Tom Curtis but again Brock saved pushing the ball away for a corner. Man-of-the-match Brock was called on again before the interval, Liam Lawrence hit a free-kick that beat the wall and Brock saw late but he managed to turn the ball around the post for another corner.
The equaliser seemed inevitable but it did not arrive until 20 minutes into the second half. Another free-kick, this time from Corden who arced it over the wall from 25 yards out and beyond the reach of Brock. Harriers didn't let the setback affect them and hit back within minutes, a great run out of defence by Bennett put the visitors on the defensive but when he played the ball inside to Sean Flynn the captain blazed his shot over the bar. After 73 minutes Harriers regained the lead, with Pilkington out of position the ball fell to Coleman who it it back goalwards only for it to be stopped by the hand of Curtis and referee Steve Tanner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and awarding a penalty. After the names of Curtis and Pilkington were taken, Henriksen stepped forward and slotted the ball past Pilkington even though the keeper guessed correctly and dived to his left just short of the ball.
The game was still finely balanced as it progressed into the closing stages and Mansfield pressed hard for an equaliser. A deep free-kick from the right found Craig Disley who headed straight at Brock, from a right wing corner, Brock missed the ball and debutant Adam Willis had to hack it clear off the line. Harriers weren't finished themselves, however, and nearly wrapped up the game eight minutes from time, a long ball over the defence was perfect for John Williams to run on to but just as he was shaping up to volley it past Pilkington David Artell managed to hook it away from him. Harriers were able to see out the remaining time and take the points for a perfect start to the season.
harriers.co.uk (official site) report:
TWO goals from Danish striker Bo Henriksen, combined with a host of superb saves from Harriers keeper Stuart Brock, was enough to gift Kidderminster a hard fought opening day win over Mansfield Town.
With temperatures at pitch level hitting the mid-90's, it was the visitors who almost took the lead on 12 minutes. A poor back pass from Craig Hinton allowed former Harriers striker Colin Larkin a free run on goal. Fortunately Brock was on hand to deny Larkin with a good save.
However three minutes later Harriers took the lead with a superb goal. A long ball from Kenny Coleman found Henriksen away in space. Bearing down on goal and with a host of Mansfield defenders catching him up, he lofted a superb shot over Kevin Pilkington in the Mansfield goal and into the back of the net.
Mansfield hit back and put Harriers under long spells of pressure. Larkin went close twice in quick succession. On both occasions he was denied by Brock in the Harriers goal.
It was Brock who was keeping the score at 1-0 and on 36 minutes he pulled off a world class when he deflected a shot from Liam Lawrence wide of the goal.
The Stags kept up the relentless pressure. Luke Dimech forced another good save from Brock a minute later whilst Lee Williamson curled a speculative shot just wide of the goal.
Brock did well again five minutes before half-time when he parried Lawrence's free-kick around the post.
On the stroke of half-time Larkin went close when he shot wide after turning Hinton inside the penalty area.
Half-time: Harriers 1 – 0 Mansfield
As the sun beat down relentlessly, it was Harriers who forced the first real chance of the second period when Hinton shot narrowly wide from 20-yards out.
However Mansfield deservedly pulled the scores level on 63 minutes when Wayne Corden curled a superb free-kick over the Harriers wall and into the top corner of the net.
Eight minutes later a wilting Harriers side were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty when Kenny Coleman's (pictured) goalbound shot was deliberately handled by Tom Curtis. Despite awarding Harriers a spot kick, referee Steve Tanner incensed the home crowd by only handing the Stags player a yellow card. Once the appeals had died down, Henriksen stepped up to put the ball past Pilkington to give Harriers a 2-1 lead.
The goal seemed to knock the life out of Keith Curle's side. However they did go close 12 minutes from time when Brock saved Craig Disley's header on the line.
Harriers kept on battling and were finally rewarded with a victory though Mansfield, perhaps deservedly so, will be disappointed not to have picked up at least a point. Harriers' season is up and running!
Finals Score: Harriers 2 -1 Mansfield
Brock, Stamps, D Williams, Hinton, Bennett, Flynn, Bishop, Shilton, Henriksen, Willis, Coleman.
Subs: J Williams (Bishop 69), Parrish, Danby, Ayres, Ward (Henriksen 89)
Mansfield: Pilkington, Hassell, Clarke, Dimech, Artell, Curtis, Lawrence, Corden, Williamson, Christie, Larkin.
Subs: White (Christie HT), Mendes (Larkin 59), Day, Baptiste, Disley (Lawrence HT)
Referee: Steve Tanner (Bristol)
Attendance: 3,180 (910 away fans)
SMS Man of the Match Result: Stuart Brock 78%
Latest | August 2003