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Harriers 1 Alfreton Town 3

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Date: 14-12-13gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1834gif away fans: 57
The referee was the star of the show

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers fell to their first home defeat since August, when Luton turned us over 2-0, in this dire loss to an Alfreton side that had originally come for the draw but once they realised that their bullying tactics had the blessing of the referee they went on to play on that and eventually win the game 3-1.

As for the referee himself well Mr Kavanagh had arrived at Aggborough with a pocketful of cards that he was determined to dish out to one and all.  Yes, this was another game where the man in black wanted to be the centre of attraction.  His reason for being there.  His purpose in life.

From almost the first whistle his hand was in his pocket booking two Alfreton players and one Harrier in a row yet the worst of the lot - Nick Fentons high, two footed lunge on Amari Morgan-Smith was worthy of a red but deemed to be only a yellow and when AMS complained about the challenge he got booked too???

By the time that AMS got sent off for riding one bad tackle and then crashing/falling into Tom Shaw the referee had completely lost it but had become the most talked about man on the pitch.  Ironically when there was a real reason for a sending off such as when Danny Lewis bought down Jon Akinde in the area the ref didn't dish out a punishment at all apart from awarding the penalty.

As for the game itself then we saw an enforced change at right back with Lee Vaughan suspended for one game.  Danny Jackman moved out of the midfield berth he played at Woking to replace him while Mickey Demetriou continued in his usual left back position.  Lee Fowler and Kyle Storer returned to the side following their one game bans.

On the bench there was no Marvin Johnson or Nathan Blissett and Steve Burr had, for once, gone for a defensive bench with both Jamie's, Tolley and Grimes, sat there.

The Harriers started the game at a pace and at times the passing was on a different level but it's in front of the goal that it matters and for all our pretty, pretty approach we found it hard to get past the ten man Alfreton defence that had left Akinde parked on the halfway line looking for a ball breaking free.

Eventually that break came in the seventeenth minute and it was the man in form at the moment that opened the Harriers scoring.  Morgan-Smith won the ball out wide and moved in on goal before dinking the ball to Callum Gittings who sent in a powerful shot that thudded against the far post and then shot back along the line and into the other corner.  The Alfreton keeper, Joe Worsnop, had only arrived on an emergency loan this morning after Ross Atkins had got injured on Tuesday (four days to get an emergency loan keeper in? Hmmn)

With that goal we should have kicked on but instead the Alfreton manager Nicky Laws changed things round in midfield and we started to lose our way.  The school of hard knocks took over and we found ourselves getting bullied off the ball although we were still in with a shout of a second goal.

Joe Lolley was getting some rough treatment out wide but he was still showing what he could be capable of with a couple of fine runs that ended with his trademark runs across the goal and shooting with his left foot.  Today his shooting was a bit wayward though and lacked either power or direction.
  HT: 1 - 0
The second period, with the wind now starting to make its presence felt, started with a change to the Town lineup.  Their best player of the first half, Chris Westwood, stayed in the dressing room to be replaced by Daniel Meadows and the formation changed from five across the back to 4-4-2 with Tom Shaw moving up front alongside Akinde.

This change un-settled the Harriers and to be honest we hardly got a look in this half or put in any kind of decent movement.  The treatment of our players by the ref was getting beyond a joke too and the confidence was visibly draining from the team.

Joe Lolley got booked for skipping a rash tackle and then going past two other Town men before being pulled up and getting, yes, a yellow card.  Ludicrous!

It was from the free kick for that 'offence' that Alfreton drew level.  The ball was played over and with the defence static combined with Danny Lewis flapping at the ball it sailed over his head to the feet of the lurking Michael Wylde to shoot home into the empty net.

We tried vainly to get back into the game and regain our lead through AMS and a header from Michael Gash that he should have buried but then came the controversial sending off.

AMS had already been booked earlier for understandably getting angry at almost getting crippled and when he rode one sliding tackle from Fenton on the Main Stand touchline and recovered to get up but then crash into Tom Shaw, in effect obstructing him, the ref somehow interpreted it as a foul.  At first he walked away and spoke to Gash for whatever unknown reason then once the Harriers physio Gavin Crowe had finished treating AMS the ref walked back and pulled out another yellow followed by a red.  The perpetrator of the original foul, Fenton, stayed on the pitch without even a talking to and neither did Shaw.

From the free kick (which some said that had been taken before the referee said to take it) Alfreton went into the lead.  The ball was played to Shaw who then sent over a cross to the far post and, with the defence either not ready or static, Wylde again fired the ball home to give them an undeserved lead.

By this time the Harriers had well and truly crumbled and it was only going to be a matter of time before Alfreton had got their third.  Akinde came oh so close with a shot that he somehow managed to send wide when he was one on one with Lewis. He should have settled the game there and then.

Burr sent on Anthony Malbon for Lee Fowler but he hardly got a touch in his eleven minutes on the pitch and our final real chance came with a Michael Gash free kick on the edge of the area (again no booking for a cynical foul) but his fierce kick was straight at the keeper and no problem to him.

Two minutes from the end of normal time and it was all over for the Harriers as Alfreton produced the same scoreline as when they defeated us back at the beginning of the season at their place and also their first double of the season.

With most of the Harriers team up at the other end of the pitch Akinde broke free and with just Dunkley to beat he wrong footed him and went into the area only for Lewis to bring him down.  Again, for some unknown reason, the referee spoke to a player, Jackman, that had nothing to do with the incident.  Akinde dispatched the spot kick easily.

Game over and now onto Grimsby in our televised game on Thursday evening without Callum Gittings, five yellows, and Amari Morgan-Smith.  At least we'll have Lee Vaughan back for that game.
  FT: 1 - 3

 Goal for Harriers: Gittings 17
 Goals for Alfreton: Wylde 52, 68, Akinde 89 (pen)


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gif The referee Lee Fowler



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Latest table and stats here  

Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Alfreton Town  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Worsnop  
Jackman     Wood  
Demetriou     Franklin  
Storer     Westwood gif  
Dunkley     Wylde gif
Gowling     Kempson  
Gittings gif   Rowe-Turner  
Fowler gif     Shaw  
Gash     J Akinde gif (pen)
Morgan-Smith   Bradley
Lolley   Fenton
SUBS:         SUBS:      
N Vaughan     McFadzean  
Malbon gif - 84     Wishart  
Dance     Clayton  
Tolley     Meadows gif - 46  
Grimes     Taylor  

REFEREE:
Mr C Kavanagh
Lancashire




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