Match report Vs Stockport CountyVenue: AggboroughDate: 10-04-18Att: 1722 (away fans: 236)

10-04-18 - Report - Harriers 3 Stockport County 1

The Harriers win this massive game against Stockport

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers are almost sure of a place in the play-offs with this hard worked home win against a Stockport side who have been improving of late and have play-off ambitions of their own. An early goal from Joe Ironside set us on our way only for James Ball to pull one back for his side a few minutes later. Further goals in each half for James McQuilkin and Dan Bradley finally gave us the points and created a five point gap between ourselves and County.

A whirlwind start to the game saw the ball pinging from one end of the pitch to the other at a time when either side could have scored. Luckily for us it was Ironside that gave us a short lived advantage when he sidestepped his marker to drift the ball beyond the reach of the County keeper, Ben Hinchcliffe, with the ball taken the slightest of deflections on its way in.

County decided it was too early to wave the white flag just yet and immediately looked for a way back into the game through Jason Oswell but his shot through a ruck of players was parried away by Brandon Hall but the ball came back straight away with James Pearson attempting to clear it away. The ball flew up in the air and again bodies dived in to either force it over the line or to clear it away upfield. That didn’t work either and it bounced off towards the corner flag from where it was played back in yet again and this time it was cleared away as Aggborough breathed a sigh of relief.

The respite was brief though and, with the aid of some slack defending, five minutes later they finally got the ball into the net through Ball when he was allowed to run onto a ball into the area and slotted it past Hall at his near post. It wasn’t Halls greatest moment and he seemed to be struggling all evening with his awareness and goal kicks.

This time the Harriers didn’t wave the flag and give up but continued to take the game to the visitors and the reward came with a goal for James McQuilkin, his first since scoring against Darlington in mid November last year. A through ball from Elton N’Gwatala found Dan Bradley out wide and he returned the ball into the area for McQuilkin to run onto and then take behind the off balance keeper before side footing it into the net.

There was one moment from Hall that bought out the cold sweats in the fans when he dithered in taking a goal kick then decided to pick the ball up before dropping it at the feet of Oswell. In attempting to get the ball back the two players clashed and the referee, Ms Amy Fearn, gave us a free kick that shouldn’t really have been given.

We could have gone into the break with a third goal when Bradley almost scored but his shot from twenty five yards out was straight at Hinchcliffe and the keeper managed to push the ball away.

HT: 2 – 1

In the second half we struggled to contain a rampaging Stockport for the first fifteen minutes when nothing seemed to go right for us. Poor clearances that came back at us, mis-placed passes that went straight to the enemy and more dithering from Hall wasn’t doing us many favours and how County failed to score in that time we’ll never understand.

We finally got our act together and should have scored through a comical series of events that Ryan Croasdale was the centre of. He pounced on a poorly cleared ball just inside the County half and took the it forward. As he approached the goal he sent in a shot only for the guilty  defender to stick his foot out and then deflect it back to Croasdale once more. Ryan rolled the ball goalwards but it struck the foot of the post and rolled back towards him but he was rooted to the spot and failed to seize the chance to poke the ball home.

Soon after, on the hour mark, we scored our third goal of the evening and wrapped the game up. Well we would have done if we hadn’t faffed around so much.

Declan Weeks won the ball in the middle of the park and played it through to Bradley who then went on fire a curving shot around the keeper from outside the box. That was Bradleys seventh goal in  six games and also one of his best goals so far.

Following the goal Bradley signalled to the bench that he had hurt his knee again and was dragged off to be replaced by Manny Sonupè. The extra pace that Sonupè has almost got him a goal but after leaving a defender for dead he fired across the face of goal when he should really have gone for the near post.

Stockport tried their hardest to get back into the game but for once our defenders had tightened up and at times it was like the Alamo as they threw bodies on the line to keep the visitors out. They had a half chance to score through Matt Warburton but it would only have been a consolation goal thankfully.

We now have a small gap between ourselves and Nuneaton did both of us a favour tonight by beating York City. On Saturday we have struggling Tamworth at Aggborough for a game that should, on paper, give us a guaranteed three points but it never works out that way and we have to be strong and on our mettle if we aim to gain another three points.

FT: 3 – 1

Goals for Harriers: Ironside 4, McQuilkin 19, Bradley 59

Goal for Stockport: Ball 9

The Harriers Online MotM is: Ryan Croasdale

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

Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Ironside 83  
Bradley 61  
N’Gwatala   71  
Sonupè   61  
Waring   71  
A Brown   83  
Stockport County Goals Subs Time Cards
Duxbury   67  
Winter   62  
Turnbull   62  
Stephenson   67  
Ms Amy Fearn