Match report Vs Nuneaton TownVenue: Liberty WayDate: 08-08-17Att: 781 (away fans: 200 est)

08-08-17 - Report - Nuneaton Town 1 Harriers 0

Dreadful Weather. Dreadful game

Report: Phil Lench

A goal in stoppage time by Ashley Chambers gave Nuneaton Town all three points tonight in a game that the Harriers failed as miserably as the weather to create anything near to their normal style of playing the ‘right way’.

The team news at the start of the game showed that we were actually going with recognised full backs and not with a winger trying desperately to cope with doing two jobs at the same time. Josh Webb came in for his first start of the season to allow Sam Austin free reign to explore the left hand side of the pitch. On the bench was the returning Dan Bradley while no where to be seen was Emmanuel Sonupè who started against Chorley on Saturday but must have taken a bit of a knock.

In goal for Nuneaton was the former Harriers keeper Dean Lyness. He had been signed that evening having been released by Blackpool at the end of last season. At one time it was thought that he might return to Aggborough and his performance tonight shows that he would have done a very good job for us with an excellent showing for his new club.

Another former Harrier who now plays for Boro, Kelvin Langmead, didn’t play due to a long term injury.

With the drizzle just starting to take hold the game got underway and it was the home side that took control from the start. We were already huffing and puffing trying to win the ball from them and when we did it was given away almost immediately. No worries, we thought, we’ll soon settle down but we didn’t. We looked slow to the ball, slow in the challenge and gave the ball away far too often with mis-placed passes going out of touch or hit too hard to retain.

Chambers was the first to show in front of goal when he forced our keeper, Brandon Hall, into action with a long range effort that the ex Woking man collected easily. Up the other end Daniel Nti fired in from the edge of the area but Lyness could only parry it back towards Webb who lashed at his chance and sent it well over the bar.

Nuneaton were giving our defence a torrid time and looked to be targeting Tyrone Williams as our weak link. He had already been given a yellow card for a shirt tug near the halfway line and then bought down a Boro man on the edge of the area to earn a stern talking to by the, frankly, poor referee. The free kick came to nothing but from then on Williams was a man that didn’t really want to be there and it was thought that he might be subbed at half time but never was. He was still the same in the second half too so you have to ask why he was still out there.

Other players for us weren’t at their best either. James McQuilkin was having a poor game and didn’t really seem to get going in his control of midfield. Ryan Croasdale was struggling trying to help out the nervous Williams and all Liam Daly seems capable of is hoofing the ball forward in Solihull Moors fashion. It seemed that we had decided to dispense with the usual footballing philosophy of John Eustace.

The only players out there doing enough was Hall, Austin and the lonesome Joe Ironside on his return to his old stamping ground. It was a relief to get the first half out of the way and hopefully a tactical change after the break.

HT: 0 – 0

Dan Bradley came on at the re-start with Declan Weeks being replaced. He had taken a knock in the first half and had been lay on the ground for a couple of minutes while being ignored by all around him so it could have been more of a necessary change rather than a tactical one.

We looked to have more purpose with Bradley on the pitch and the two teams seemed a bit more equal now. Although the ex-Fylde man didn’t look super fit or sharp he was still an improvement on what had preceded him in the first half. We were still a mess in other parts of the pitch though and in front of goal we looked clueless still. Ironside was still seeing very little of the ball while Nti and Austin were chalk and cheese.

Twenty minutes into the half and the second change came with Elton N’Gwatala coming on the scene at the expense of Austin.!!!

Elton and Bradley clicked straight away and we entered into our best spell of the game with the fans almost certain that we would score any minute now. Lyness had other ideas and worked wonders keeping the ball from going in. Our shooting still wasn’t brilliant though and a well worked shot from Bradley went wide of the mark while a trademark Croasdale strike from distance was straight at the keeper but still well saved.

Nuneaton were still giving us defensive worries and targeting Williams knowing that he wasn’t going to challenge them too hard. The closest they came to scoring was when Jordan Nicholson broke through and rounded Hall only to find Daly rushing back to clear his shot off the line.

With time running out, and the weather getting grimmer by the minute, it looked for the world that the spoils would be shared by the two poor teams out there. Ninety minutes came and three minutes added time was put up and then disaster. Callum Ball, again beating Williams, rounded his man and swept the ball in for Ashley Chambers to run onto and sweep into the net.

We are obviously not at the races yet with these two narrow defeats but time is on our side. Tyrone Williams needs an arm around his shoulder and maybe given the next game off while we also need to bring in a ball playing centre half alongside Daly because it’s a fact that Daly has trouble seeing a pass. Bradley and N’Gwatala seem to be our best options of scoring now so work on that between now and Saturday when we go up to Manchester Utd of FC in an early season six pointer game. 

FT: 1 – 0

Goal for Nuneaton: Chambers 92

The Harriers Online MotM is: Brandon Hall

Talk about the game here and phone the Harriers Hotline on 01905 577 777 after the game too

Latest table and stats here

Nuneaton Town Goals Subs Time Cards
C Wildin        
L Wildin        
Ashton   74  
Ball   73  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Weeks   46  
Austin   67  
A Brown        
Bradley   46  
N’Gwatala   67  
Mr Simon Mather