Match report Vs FC Utd of ManchesterVenue: AggboroughDate: 23-01-18Att: 1375 (away fans: 137)

23-01-18 - Report - Harriers 4 FC Utd of Manchester 0

Harriers turn the screw at last

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers turned in, arguably, their best overall performance of the season this evening when a second half routing of FC Utd of Manchester continued our long unbeaten run in the league and more importantly saw us pressure the visitors into submission as we turned the screw in search of goals. A red card for their number six helped matters along but that was just a bonus in helping us run rampant.

On a mild evening for the time of year we started with a strongish side. Missing were Dan Bradley and Liam Truslove but that can be presumed to be for the flu bug lingering around at Aggborough but back in the side after getting over theirs were James McQuilkin and Elton N’Gwatala while missing out completely was Fraser Horsfall serving a one match suspension.

FC Utd arrived for the game on the back of their best run of the season going through a seven game unbeaten run before this evening. During that time they had done us a few favours in beating Salford City and Harrogate and holding Salford, Brackley Town and Blyth Spartans to draws. All teams above us.

The game kicked off at a pace with the fans wondering how we would keep it up. Give it twenty minutes and we’ll slow down but we didn’t and the signs that there was a change in methodology began to show. There was very little passing back to the keeper, Ryan Croasdale was playing further up field and running at the defenders while the ball was being played out quickly by Brandon Hall to either Sam Austin or Manny Sonupè and allowing Elton N’Gwatala to create movement in the middle of the park. All of this was a breath of fresh air to us a nightmare for Utd.

It was the visitors that had the first chance though when the player/manager Tom Greaves struck the ball low and forced Hall into a sharp save. We came close minutes later from an unlikely source when James O’Connor sent a glancing header wide from a corner and then soon after McQuilkin had a shot blocked on the line.

Utd were still having a look in and their danger man, Connor McCarthy, was being given far too much room by defenders but last ditch blocks were keeping him out. For all our possession and, at times, brilliant movement we still found our luck in front of goal deserting us with the visitors goal mouth leading a charmed life and some excellent keeping from Lloyd Allinson. Three times he pounced at the feet of Sonupè to deny him the chance of scoring.

It was bemusing how we went into the break without scoring but with the second half to come that might change.

HT: 0 – 0

The second period began the same way as the first had gone with the Reds trying to break past their five man defensive wall. Sam Austin and N’Gwatala both began to find space and it was from the latter that our first chance of the half came when he played the ball through for Joe Ironside to run onto but Joes touch was a bit strong and the keeper got to the ball first.

It was another quick move from Elton that saw us at long last open the scoring. He beat his man yet again and sent over a cross into the far post for Ironside but he missed it just as Ryan Croasdale arrived to force it over the line for his fifth goal of the season.

That was the signal we were waiting for and Lee Vaughan tried his luck from distance with a shot that dipped at the last second and forced Allinson to tip the ball out for a corner. The screw was about to turn.

Sonupè hadn’t been getting much luck with the linesman on the Main Stand side before so was trying his luck with the East Stand lino. He was getting flagged much less and it was his runs into the box that began to give Utd palpitations. Vaughan was doing his bit to help him out by telling him when to go when he played the ball forward for him but this time it was Declan Weeks that set him off and with a smile at the lino, and a wagging of the finger to say you’re not catching me out this time, he set off for goal and crossed the ball in for Ironside to send the ball home.

Usually we would have begun to sit back and let the other side onto us but not this time. This time we had other ideas and that was to score more goals.

FC Utd didn’t help themselves though and it was while we were waiting to make a sub – George Waring on for McQuilkin – that the latter found himself assaulted and almost stretchered off anyway. McQuilkin had won a throw in and for some inexplicable reason Zac Corbett decided to run at him and push him in the back to send him flying. This all happened in front of the referee and he had no option but to brandish a straight red at Corbett.

From then on the game was won. Waring came on alongside Ironside and he gave us an option upfront that we rarely see. Even better it was the new lad who was to score the third goal just after the visitors had been denied a goal for offside. Oh the irony.

A great ball in from the marauding Vaughan to the edge of the area was met by the head of Waring and bulleted into the back of the net from fully twelve yards out. Two minutes later and it was followed up with another great goal when N’Gwatala put the ball into the area for Joel Taylor to strike. It hit the keeper and came back out for Elton to finish the move off for the fourth goal of the evening and at last we had made the other team pay.

Two more chances came to add to the score for Austin and substitute Andre Wright but the keeper stopped both but it didn’t matter anyway. The job had been done and the elephant in the corner of not being able to finish a team off had ended.

FT: 4 – 0

Goals for Harriers: Croasdale 53, Ironside 59, Waring 76, N’Gwatala 78 

The Harriers Online MotM is: Declan Weeks

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
Weeks   81  
McQuilkin   70  
Sonupè   75  
Tom Palmer        
A Brown        
Wright   81  
Taylor   75  
Waring 70  
FC Utd of Manchester Goals Subs Time Cards
Jones   62  
Greaves   74  
Irwin   79  
Glynn   74  
Ty Palmer   79  
Crawford   62  
Mr Steven Copeland
The Wirral