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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Kidderminster Harriers  
1 - 3
 Mansfield Town
Rawle 40. Keates missed pen 41
 Barker 47, 84, Brown 50
Attendance: 3237 (345 from Mansfield)
Date: 28th March 2005


Martin Shaw at Aggborough

Mansfield put in a very fine performance at resurgent Kidderminster this afternoon to come from a goal behind and claim a comfortable 3-1 win. The Stags had the better of the opening 40 minutes but a mistake by Baptiste allowed Mark Rawle to put the Harriers in front. Within a minute Pilkington clatter former Stags Beardsley in the box for a clear penalty. Pilkington was controversially not sent off and Keates missed from the spot. Within 54 minutes of the start of the second half two fine goals from Barker and Brown put the Stags in front amd Barker added a third near the end to earn a deserved victory. However the Stags could reflect that decision not to send off Pilkington and the missed penalty was a rare piece of good luck, in stark contrast to the previous away game at Bristol Rovers.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side the drew with Chester on Friday night, as Rundle and Buxton were passed fit to play despite carrying injuries. Dimech was away on international duty and replaced on the bench by young striker Danny Heron. Harriers manager Watkiss included Chris Beardsley up front, and Iyseden Christie (fresh from creating both goals at Darlington on Saturday) on the bench.

The game was played in front of the watching Ron Atkinson (to my knowledge at his first Stags game under the management of his good friend Carlton Palmer).

Harriers made a positive start with Beardsley very lively early on. Then on 12 minutes Barker shot wide from a Brown cross when it seemed he must score, but an offside flag would have ruled the effort out anyway.

But on 19 minutes Brown got himself into a position that should have been a sitter. Rundle played a good ball over the defence allowing Brown to run in for a 1-on-1 against Kiddie keeper Danby. Brown bore down on goal in an identical situation to Oxford’s third goal at Field Mill recently. But just when Brown needed to slip the ball to one side of the keeper, instead he powered a shot that cannoned off the keeper’s legs. It was a very bad miss.

Just a minute later Brown had another chance when Rundle flighted in a fine free kick from the right, and Brown flicked a good header just past the far post.

The game entered a pretty quiet spell with no chances for either side.

Harriers took the lead on 40 minutes. Baptiste tried to play the ball out of defence but only succeeded in finding Tom Bennett 40 yards from goal. Bennett took a couple of touches before playing in Mark Rawle on the edge of the box on the left side. Rawle steadied himself before firing a powerful left foot shot from just inside the box into the right hand corner of the net giving Pilkington no chance.

Within a minute it should have been 2-0. John McGrath played a ball from the left wing over the top of the Stags defence and Beardsley ran onto it. Beardsley got to the ball just before he was clattered by Pilkington just inside the box. It was a clear penalty, but Pilkington was only booked. After the game Watkiss told us that he had spoken to Pilks who admitted he was lucky to stay on the pitch. Both managers also thought it should have been a sending off. Dean Keates, who had recently scored two penalties away at Notts County, stepped up to take it and sent Pilkington the wrong way, but missed the right post by a foot. This proved to be a massive turning point in the game.

Right on 45 minutes, Brown had his third chance of the half for Mansfield. Barker did well on the left byeline and got in a cross which allowed Brown to have a first time shot from 6 yards that was just past the left post. Then in stoppage time, Callum Lloyd created a chance for himself on the edge of the box and fired his shot over the bar.

Half time 1-0

At half time, Palmer made two changes. One was enforced as Neil had been clattered at the end of the first half, and was replaced by Rhys Day. Buxton moved to right back and Day moved into central defence. The other change was tactical with loan striker Andrew Barrowman replacing midfielder Lloyd and the Stags moved from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2.

There was nearly a comedy goal on 46 minutes as Pilkington tried to throw out a ball and held onto it too long hence throwing behind himself. But he was lucky that Beardsley wasn’t able to get in a shot, and eventually a cross was headed straight at the Stags keeper.

Two minutes into the second half, it was 1-1. Brown flicked a lovely ball from just inside his own half in to the path of the on-rushing Richie Barker. Barker surged forward and managed to stay just ahead of the chasing defender Hatswell, and from the edge of the box fired a terrific low shot just inside the near right hand post, giving keeper Danby no chance.

Three minutes later the Stags were ahead. This time Barker returned the favour putting in Brown. Brown had a great first touch which gave him another 1-on-1 with Danby. This time Brown showed great composure and rounded Dandy before sliding the ball home for a wonderful finish. It was Brown's first goal for the club and a great time to score it. Brown was booked for celebrating with the Stags fans. After the game Watkiss claimed he thought Brown was offside, but we had a great view from the commentary box and it looked onside to me.

Two minutes after that it should have been 3-1 as the Stags hit a purple patch. Brown broke clear of the defence yet again and crossed for Barrowman who lifted his shot over the keeper but it lacked pace and was cleared off the line.

Iyseden Christie replaced the tiring Rawle on 57 minutes and entered the fray with striking blue boots. Incredibly within two minutes he had nearly equalised as Kiddie had two chances in 5 seconds. First Baptiste cleared a chance off the line and then from the rebound Christie’s powerful shot was blocked by Day. A minute after that McGrath had a powerful shot that was well saved by Pilkington.

There was a scare for the Stags on 75 minutes when Kidderminster had a goal disallowed. There appeared to be a clear foul but with the Stags luck in recent matches it could have been allowed to stand. But not today as the decisions went in the Stags favour. It was Christie who put the ball into the empty net after Pilkington had been impeded.

On 84 minutes the Stags sealed the game. Rundle took a corner from the right and fired it deep to the far post where Barker rose superbly above defender Jackson to head home from close range. Jackson appealed for a foul but it was never a foul as the video replay shows.

On 84 minutes Barrowman put the ball in the net with a good finish but had already been given offside and was booked for his trouble. I remarked on the radio commentary that Barrowman may well have considered it a worthwhile booking to show that he can finish!

And the so the game ended with a comfortable and deserved win for the Stags. There is no doubt that the penalty miss and non-sending off of Pilkington was the turning point and represented a little bit of luck in stark contrast to the last away game. There were a number of fine performances from Stags players with young midfielders Brown, Rundle and Coke catching the eye, along with the whole defence including substitute Rhys Day. But my man of the match has to be Richie Barker for his part in all three Stags goals.

After all the manager interviews we saw Andrew Barrowman seeking out Palmer and shaking hands in what may have been a goodbye, though we will await confirmation of that. Maybe I’m reading too much into it...

Man of the match: Richie Barker

Report by: Martin Shaw at Aggborough

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Lucky not to be sent off in the penalty incident. Otherwise good handling.
Neil 7 Good performance. Injured just before half time.
Baptiste 8 Classy performance as usual, despite giving the ball away to set up Kiddie's goal.
Buxton 7 Fine game alongside Bap in the first half, and at right back in the second half.
McNiven 7 Did well at left back.
Brown 8 His best game in a Stags shirt. Got himself into positions for 3 good chances in the first half, but then made no mistake with a great finish in the second half. Also set up Barker's first goal.
McLachlan 6 Great tackling though gave the ball away a little too often. No questioning his temperament, but the jury is out on his level of quality.
Coke 7 Did very well again in central midfield.
Lloyd 6 Did ok in attacking midfield role. Created one good chance for himself which he missed. Substituted for tactical reasons at half time.
Rundle 7 Fine game on the left. Great corner for the third goal, and some other good set pieces.
Barker 8 Made things happen. Scored the first (a great finish) and third, and set up the second.
Sub Line Up:
Day (for Neil, 46) 7 Looked much fitter and thinner; did very well at the back, and provided a threat in the opposition box as well.
Barrowman (for Lloyd, 46) 6 Did little, though had a weak shot cleared off the line, and did have the ball in the net for a disallowed goal and was booked for his troubles.
Subs not used: White, McIntosh, Heron.
Opposition Line Up:
Danby, Weaver, Mullins, Jackson, Hatswell (Birch 83), Cozic (Russell 70), Bennett, Keates, McGrath, Beardsley, Rawle (Christie 57).
Subs Not Used: Lewis, Jones.
L Probert (Gloucestershire) 6 Handled the game well though surely made a mistake and did us a massive favour not sending off Pilks.

Season 04/05 Reports