Match report Vs Nuneaton TownVenue: AggboroughDate: 23-12-17Att: 1510 (away fans: 53)

23-12-17 - Report - Harriers 3 Nuneaton Town 0

Harriers make it hard against self destructing Nuneaton

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers started Christmas with all three points against a self destructing Nuneaton Town today although they eventually ran out easy winners with three goals that should have been six. Nuneaton had started the game well but once Manny Sonupè tucked his goal away they went to pieces and ended up having two players sent off in the space of five minutes.

With James McQuilkin returning to the starting eleven it was Sam Austin that made way for him. For Town two former Harriers were making an appearance with Daniel Nti at number eleven and Dean Lyness between the sticks. It was the first named that could have changed the appearance of the game when he went in too hard in a clash with Tyrone Williams and knocked his former team mate out cold for five minutes. It looked a certainty that Williams was in a bad way and a stretcher was called for but by the time it arrived he was starting to recover and opted to carry on.

Nti’s tackle set the tone for the Nuneaton tactics and it was no surprise when the marching orders came later on. As it was both teams produced a poor advertisement for football but it was the visitors that had the edge by closing us down and playing the high line. Something that we struggled to cope with.

The only way to combat that is to get behind them and that’s just what happened. Brandon Hall played the ball out to Sonupè who was waiting along the halfway line where he beat Luther Wildin to the ball. Putting the ball past him he ran on towards Lyness and nutmegged the ball through his legs and into the goal. That was the signal for the visitors to lose the plot.

First Tom Elliott picked up his first yellow card after going straight through Declan Weeks and then only a minute later he repeated the exercise on Joel Taylor right in front of the referee who didn’t hesitate to produce a second yellow followed by a red. A few minutes later and Ryan Beswick went in too hard on Weeks again and again a red card was issued without delay.

With a couple of minutes of the extended half remaining we should have gone two goals up but McQuilkin blazed his shot way over the bar when it would have been easier to score.

HT: 1 – 0

The second half started with the expected change to the line up with Sam Austin replacing Tyrone Williams. We still struggled to create anything like we should have been doing against nine men and seemed to be happy to pass it around with little effect even though we should have been going for the jugular.

It took seven minutes to realise that we could change our style of play and it was Joel Taylor that proved that when he headed for goal and was bought down, slightly theatrically, by Ashley Chambers playing a defensive role. Joe Ironside stepped up to take the spot kick against his former club and planted it home with ease to make the score look slightly more convincing.

Declan Weeks found his name going into the book after a silly challenge on the halfway line and, with the referee in the kind of mood he was in we were hoping that John Eustace might take him off to keep him from getting a red card next. As is it is he’s now on five yellow cards and might miss the New Years day game at home to AFC Telford Utd anyway or the Leamington game a little later due to it being Christmas and no one at the FA to process such things. We’ll see.

It should have been three goals soon after when McQuilkin latched onto a ball played into the area and volleyed it goalwards only to see it hit Ironside and bounce back to be cleared away. I suspect it would have been called offside anyway and struck off. A minute later and McQuilkin was on his way back to the bench to allow Liam Truslove to come on. His first contribution to the game was to send in a piledriver that Lyness tipped over the bar.

There were more chances for us to increase the lead with Sonupè firing across the face of goal and Elton N’Gwatala sending a header just wide.

The biggest cheer of the day came on the seventy minute mark when Lee Vaughan made his long awaited return from the broken leg he received at Southport last season while playing for Tranmere Rovers. He replaced Weeks and slotted into the wide spot vacated by Austin who moved into the Declan Weeks role in midfield. Vaughans first contribution was the try and score from well outside the area but Lyness saved it well.

With time running down, and the ideas too, it was Sonupè that set up Truslove for his first goal of the season. With Nuneaton tiring Sonupè broke free again and this time he wasn’t his usual greedy self and played the ball across the face of the goal for Truslove to power the ball home and set us up nicely for our short trip to Telford on Boxing Day.

Today was possibly the worst home game of the season for us with poor passing and a lack of decision making on show. Nuneaton had come to get a point from us in an effort to pull themselves away from the foot of the table but that backfired badly with some needless red cards. We can only play better on Tuesday surely?

FT: 3 – 0

Goals for Harriers: Sonupè 30, Ironside (pen) 52, Truslove 87

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Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
J Taylor        
Williams   46  
Weeks   70
McQuilkin   60  
A Brown        
Truslove 60  
Austin   46  
Vaughan   70  
Nuneaton Town Goals Subs Time Cards
Ashton   54
Nti   67  
E Taylor        
Dielna   54  
McFarlane   67  
Mr Dean Watson