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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Kidderminster Harriers  
3 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Barnes-Homer 13, Caines 47, McPhee 69.
 Duffy pen 86.
Attendance: 1378 (311 from Mansfield)
Date: 8 September 2009


Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Aggborough

Mansfield Town put in easily their worst display of the season, and were heavily beaten by Kidderminster Harriers tonight. The Stags arrived at Aggborough with ambitions of going top, against a side low on confidence, but after creating 22 chances at Grays on Saturday, the Stags were woeful tonight, and the manner of the defeat sends alarm bells ringing loudly around Field Mill. The Stags simply didn’t turn up, and after the game, manager David Holdsworth said he felt completely let down by his team and he only exonerated keeper Alan Marriott from blame. Holdsworth’s management skills will now be tested to see if the Stags can halt the three game non-winning sequence at home to Stevenage on Saturday.

Mansfield made three changes from the team that started at Grays. Gardner (at left back), Nix (central midfield) and Williams (left midfield) returned in place of Graham, Somner and Perry.

The Stags were slow to start, with Kidderminster having most of the early possession and the Stags unable to string passes together. This was to set the pattern for the game. However on 10 minutes, Mansfield did have a great chance for an early lead. Nix floated a fine free kick from the right to the far post where Garner stole in, completely unmarked and headed over from a great position. Who knows what a difference it might have made if this had gone in.

On 13 minutes, Harriers were ahead. A ball was played from the Kidderminster left midfield over the top on the break. Barnes-Homer outpaced the Stags central defenders and in yards of space fired home powerfully into the bottom right corner giving Marriott no chance. My initial reaction was that it was offside, however the view from the Mansfield fans in the stand, who were in line, was that it was not offside and was a well-timed run. As the Kidderminster players headed back to the halfway line, a couple of them applauded the linesman for his decision.

On 19 minutes, Barnes-Homer was nearly through again, but Gardner just got a touch in. A minute later, Kidderminster had a free kick from the right, which flew straight through everybody, when any touch would have taken it in. A lucky escape for the Stags.

It had been a flat opening 25 minutes for the Stags. Kidderminster were passing the ball better than Mansfield, keeping possession, and showing a level of confidence belying their recent form. The Stags had several set pieces including free kicks and corners, but delivery, mostly from Mills, was never finding a Stags head.

On 39 minutes, Clare limped off, and replaced by Perry. This looked like it might work in the Stags favour as they hadn’t been winning balls in the box, but in fact it wasn’t to help.

Kidderminster had another chance on 43 minutes as a throw from the right was headed on and Barnes-Homer headed over. More poor defending by the Stags who didn’t win either header following the throw-in.

On 44 minutes, the Stags won a free kick 30 yards out. Perry stepped up to fire it goalwards, low and hard. It took a wicked deflection and looked like it had gone in, but the keeper managed to fall on the ball and keep it out, for his first and only save of the half. Video evidence later showed it was a bit of an optical illusion from our position in the commentary box, and it was an easy save for the keeper.

Half time 1 - 0

It had been a terrible half from the Stags. Totally flat. The Stags seemed unable to retain possession, and were outplayed. Easily the Stags worst half of football this season.

The Stags were out early for the second half, as Holdsworth admitted after the game that he had been lost for words during the break, so bad had been the performance.

It got worse on 47 minutes as the home side made it 2-0. A deep corner from the left was met with a powerful header into the opposite corner of the net by the unmarked Caines. It was a cracking header, but where was the marking?

Kidderminster created a good move on 51 minutes, ending with Smikle shooting wide from the edge of the box. Two minutes later, another half chance for the home side as McPhee flicked a header at Marriott. On 56 minutes, Mansfield appealed for a penalty as there appeared to be a handball in the Harriers box, but the referee waved play on, much to Kyle Perry’s annoyance.

Briscoe replaced the ineffective Speight on 57 minutes, and immediately looked the most lively Stags player.

On 60 minutes, Mills put in a good corner from the right, which was met by Kyle Perry, who headed into the ground, and the ball bounced up and just over the bar. On 64 minutes, Perry was brought down less than foot outside the box in a central position. There was a melee as Perry appeared to be kicked from behind while still on the floor which the officials failed to spot. Briscoe took the kick, which deflected off the wall and rolled agonisingly a foot wide of the right post. As the corner came over, there was another melee, Perry went down, pushed in the face. The referee booked the player that pushed him, but surely it should have been a red card. The referee also booked Duffy and another Kidderminster player.

The Stags had a decent spell of pressure, but were caught on the break as Kidderminster made it 3-0 completely against the run of play on 69 minutes. Kidderminster played a one-two outside the box, and as the Stags failed to clear their lines, McPhee sidefooted past the helpless Marriott.

On 73 minutes, Baker played in a ball from the left and Barnes-Homer failed to connect at the far post. Marriott had to make a good save from a low shot on 78 minutes. On 81 minutes, the home side were awarded a ridiculous penalty. A ball was blasted at the hand of Garner from close range. It couldn’t have been deliberate, but the referee pointed to the spot. Marriott made a terrific save, diving low to his left.

On 86 minutes, as if to even things up, the referee awarded Mansfield a similarly ridiculous penalty, when Mills blasted the ball against the hand of a defender from about a yard. Duffy stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. There was then a sense of urgency personified by Perry running to the top of the stand to retrieve the ball, but it was way too late. The final chance of the game came two minutes into stoppage time when Marriott saved high to his left from a shot.

A bad night for the Stags. Very few positives to be taken. The Stags need to bounce back quickly at Field Mill on Saturday.

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw & Jeff Barnes at Aggborough Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Terrific penalty saves, some other good saves, and good handling.
Silk 6 Early mistake, but not too bad after that. Just about pick of the defence.
Garner 5 Poor night for the central defenders. Exposed by Harriers neat passing. Missed golden chance early on.
Jones 5 Also a poor night. Missed a good chance in the second half.
Gardner 6 Tried to make things happen down the left in the second half.
Speight 5 Disappointing, anonymous.
Mills 5 Poor free kicks and corners.
Nix 5 Didn’t get much of the ball.
Williams 6 One or two decent crosses, and industrious.
Clare 6 Picked up a knock and substituted in the first half.
Duffy 5 Poor. Did at least take his penalty well.
Sub Line Up:
Perry (for Clare, 39) 5 Put himself about, but unable to make a major contribution.
Briscoe (for Speight, 57) 7 Looked very lively.
Sturrock (for Williams, 69) -
Subs Not Used: Somner, Graham.
Opposition Line Up:
Coleman, Courtney, Caines, Riley, Baker, McDermott, Bennett, McPhee, Smikle (Dolman 90+4), Barnes-Homer, Knights. Subs Not Used: Hadley, Sharpe, Farrell, Hayward
Rob Lewis (Shropshire) 5 A shocker. Ridiculous penalty decisions, generally handled the game poorly and lost control of the game in the second half

Season 0910 Reports