REPORTS FROM HARRIERS SITES
report from http://www.harriers-online.co.uk
Back to earth with a bump
After the high of last weeks Cup game it was a case of 'After the Lord Mayors Show' today with a display that, frankly, put a lot of players hopes of a game at Molinuex in doubt.
It also highlighted the absurd situation of not having a recognised penalty taker after Graham Ward missed a crucial spot kick just minutes before Mansfield scored the only goal of the game. With the possibility of penalties being used to decide the Cup game on Tuesday it looks like being intense penalty practice will be the highlight of training on Monday.
There was a first start for Adam Murray against his old club along with Matt Gadsby, also returning to Field Mill for the first time since he joined the Harriers before the start of the season. It was Murray who impressed early on with some nice passing moves but it was Mansfield who were to have the first shot on goal in the eighteenth minute when Curtis' attempt was easily saved by Brockie.
It was Murray again that won the penalty for us just a few minutes later when he was pulled back by Williamson as he raced into the area to reach Scott Stamps' left wing cross. With, again, the Harriers looking unsure of who was supposed to take it, up stepped Ward to aim the ball just to the left of Pilkington. There was no power behind it and Pilkington easily reached out to save.
Two minutes further on and Mansfield were a goal to the good.
The Stags were awarded a free kick that Lawrence took and with the ball floating in the air it was Rhys Day who climbed highest to send the ball goalwards. Brockie got a hand to it but could only help it into the net.
Even though the Harriers had taken a step back they still stuck to their task and Dean Bennett went close with a volley that flew only a few inches over the bar. He had another chance minutes later but this time his weak shot lacked any kind of power.
With half time looming the Harriers had a free kick in a good position but it was wasted when Murray took it too quickly and it went well wide of goal. Much to the amusement of the home fans.
HT. 1 - 0
Minutes after the break and Mansfield almost increased their slender lead. A poor pass from Craig Hinton went straight to Wayne Corden who then made space for himself before shooting just wide of the goal.
Then Iyseden Christie let fly with a powerful shot that was going all the way until it took a deflection off Hinton and went out for a corner.
Half way through the half Jan Molby bought on last weeks hero, John Williams, in place of Sean Parrish in an effort to add bite to the under performing attack. Christiansen was struggling to make any impression and was in need of some help but that didn't seem to work either and soon after he found himself taken off in favour of Bo Henriksen.
This time the change seemed to inspire us a bit and Dean Bennett went close again with a volley and then Bo just failed to connect with a poor clearance from Bobby Hassell. It wasn't all going the Harriers way though and Mendes had a chance for Town that he sent well over before Corden forced a save from Brock with a curling effort 10 minutes from time.
The game ended with two attempts from Deano to save the game for us. First he made space for himself but his shot was again just wide and then in the dying seconds Hassell blocked his goal bound shot on the line after a pin point pass from Graham Ward.
It may have been that the players thoughts were in Wolverhampton but this was a game that we should have taken at least a point from if it wasn't for a lack of authority when it comes to penalty taking matters.
FT. 1 - 0
ALL the talk of potential FA Cup glory was put aside as Harriers fell to a disappointing defeat to Mansfield at Field Mill in a game they should have take at least a point from.
A missed penalty from Graham Ward ultimately proved decisive as a header from Rhys Day minutes later was enough to separate the two sides as Keith Curle's men earned themselves another vital victory.
Jan Molby made two changes to the side that drew with Wolves seven days earlier with Adam Murray stepping in to replace the injured Danny Williams whilst Bo Henriksen was sacrificed for Matt Gadsby as Harriers switched to a 4-5-1 formation.
In blustery weather conditions both sides struggled to get their passing game going. In fact it took 18 minutes for the game to produce its first serious goal attempt when Tom Curtis fired straight at Stuart Brock 20-yards from goal.
Minutes later a corner from Ward found the head of Matt Gadsby – playing against the side he left in the summer – but his goalbound header was blocked by the Stags' defence.
On 22 minutes Harriers were handed a late Christmas present when referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the visitors a penalty when Adam Murray was pushed to the floor by Lee Williamson in an off-the-ball incident.
After the protests died down, Ward (right)appeared to be one of the few red-shirted prepared to accept responsibility for taking the spot-kick. Sadly the young Irishman's kick was easily saved by Kevin Pilkington in the home goal as the scores remained level.
Four minutes later Harriers were punished. A foul by Wayne Hatswell on the edge of the area gifted the home side with a free-kick in a dangerous position. Harriers' defence were in left in 'no man's land' as Day headed Lawrence's dead ball kick into the back of the net via Brock's flailing fist.
Harriers, whose passing had become dreadfully poor, almost equalised on the half hour mark when Dean Bennett got on to the end of Scott Stamps' cross-field pass. However his shot sneaked agonisingly wide of the goal.
Half-time: Mansfield 1 – 0 Harriers
Harriers, fresh from a half-time 'chat' with the boss, picked up their game more in the second half as they tried to forge their way back into the game. However it wasn't until the final 20 minutes until looked the visitors looked capable of scoring an equaliser, when Bennett crashed a volley inches wide of the goal from the edge of the area.
Minutes later Bennett (right) wasted a good opportunity to equalise. Some great passing play from Murray and Bo Henriksen – on as a substitute for Jepser Christiansen – found Bennett in space on the edge of the area. Instead of attempting a shot, the midfielder took the ball wide and the chance was ultimately.
Despite more endeavour and skill from Harriers, it wasn't enough to save them from defeat. It was a below par performance from Harriers but a defeat was an unfair punishment on the balance of play.
Final Score: Mansfield 1 – 0 Harriers
Mansfield: Pilkington, Hassell, Day, Dimech, Clarke, Lawrence (Larkin 61), Curtis, Williamson, Corden, Christie, Mendes.
Subs not used: White, Larkin, Artell, Thomas Curle, Buxton.
Latest | January 2004