Match report Vs Salford CityVenue: AggboroughDate: 24-03-18Att: 2524 (away fans: 154)

24-03-18 - Report - Harriers 4 Salford City 4

Harriers throw it all away at the end again

Report: Phil Lench

In an amazing turnaround league leaders Salford City came back from being down and out, to a Harriers side running riot, to a team that were lucky to have eleven men on the pitch and then gifted four goals in the final ten minutes of the game with one of those being scored by the one that should have been soaking up some suds.

The Harriers had already taken a two goal lead in a first half that saw City looking more like a team heading for mid table and then in the second half the screw was turned even more as the Reds took, what we thought, should have been an unassailable 4-0 lead and a locked on three points. Instead we somehow contrived to throw it all away in the end of game madness that has cost us so many points already this season.

If blame can be laid it has to be at poor substitutions once again with an on fire Mani Sonupè and Joe Ironside being taken off to disrupt the pattern of the teams play but it can also be laid at the players themselves thinking that at 4-0 we should be home and dry so let’s just keep knocking the ball around in the middle of the park and keep passing back to the keeper and put him under pressure too.

City had come to Aggborough looking to retain their top place but we had other ides and after a cagey first five minutes we began to take control of the game. City could sense they would be facing a rampant Harriers and did their utmost to stop us with niggling fouls and more strongarm tactics going in on Ironside from an overweight Carl Piergianni.

It was City’s Michael Nottingham who was to try his luck first with a header that went wide of Brandon Halls goal but after that Hall was rarely troubled for the remainder of the forty five. Dan Bradley and then Sonupè both had chances forcing the City keeper Tim Erlandsson into last gasp saves to keep the ball from going in.

It took us until the twentieth minute of relentless pressure to open the scoring. The ref had waved on two clear fouls on us as the ball broke free. Ryan Croasdale was alert to the moment though and, beating the offside flag, he collected the ball and advanced on the keeper. With Sonupè handily placed alongside he opted to pass to him at the last second and Sonupè swept the ball home.

We continued to press the visitors and the only way City could stop us was to revert to illegal tactics once more. Tom Walker was continually moaning at the referee about every little thing even when it was nothing to do with him and he received the full monty from the Harriers fans about crying to his mummy all the time. That petulant little boy would do worse later in the game.

Our second goal came soon after when Lee Vaughan swept the ball into the path of Ironside who beat the offside trap, and Piergianni, to curve the ball around the keeper from just inside the area to give us a healthy first half lead. Walker was given a chance to score with a free kick just before the break but the ball sailed over the bar much to our amusement.

HT: 2 – 0

Salford made a substitution at the start of the second period and bought on the former Harriers striker Mani Dieseruvwe in place of the invisible Jack Redshaw. It was Redshaw who had destroyed us back in August at Moor Lane with a second half hat trick.

There was no real change of formation with City and Mani rarely saw the ball for the first forty three minutes of his arrival. We just seemed to be happy to sit back and admire for a while.

Ten minutes in and we had furthered our lead. Declan Weeks played a peach of a ball out to Vaughan and he took the ball forward. James McQuilkin was also racing into the box to await the ball but Lee opted to go it alone and sent a dipping ball over Erlandssons head and into the back of the net for his first goal for us since his return.

A minute later and we thought the game was over bar the shouting. McQuilkin spotted a chance to break and lifted the ball over the City defenders heads for Dan Bradley to run on to. Bradley took the ball forward a little further before slotting the ball under their keeper.

4-0 up and we were home and dry. Home and dry we may have been but that doesn’t mean the game is yet won.

We began to make pointless substitutions with firstly Sam Austin coming on for Sonupè. Fair play to Sam he could have scored with almost his first touch of the ball but no Snoopy he is and he dithered over his chance, after breaking into the box, and allowed a defender to track back and put the ball out for a corner.

Just after that came the assault on McQuilkin by Tom Walker that would in any normal referees mind warrant a red card. McQuilkin had just released the ball on the touchline when Walker came flying in two footed and sent McQuilkin flying into the air and then crash back down to the floor. A lengthy stoppage took place as the ideally placed referee decided to ask his assistants opinion while all around players were going for each others throats.

The fact that the physio wasn’t allowed to come on to treat McQuilkin spoke volumes about the referee and when he then handed a meagre yellow card to Walker you just knew he hadn’t got a clue.

That incident seemed to give Salford the impetus and us to go into a shell. We began to faff about in the middle of the park again and some of the pass backs to Hall were verging on the suicidal. The inevitable happened and one of their subs, Josh Askew capitalised on defensive hesitancy to slot the ball home through a ruck of players.

It had been coming but we should be able to cope with that set back. After all we were well in the lead and cruising.

Another sub was made and again it was a poor decision. Off went Ironside who had been winning most of his tough battles with Piergianni and on came the clueless Andre Brown who was happy to be bullied by the City number five.

There was just a few minutes to go when another substitute scored for the visitors. Nick Haughton had come on earlier for Anthony Dudley and, seeing his chance, fired the ball hopefully towards goal from outside the area. hall was late seeing it and it went under his dive and into the net.

The second goal had been coming but we should be able to cope with that set back. After all we were well in the lead and cruising.

Five minutes of injury time was announced so all we had to do was hang on in there and almost certainly bag all three points but Dieseruvwe had different ideas and wanted to be the third sub to score.

They had won a couple of corners with the crucial one coming after McQuilkin had barged the first down only for it to bounce off him for another corner. The ball was lifted over to the far post where Dieseruvwe was on hand to head it home for their third goal in the space of ten minutes.

The third goal had been coming but not to worry because the game was almost over. After all we had been well in the lead and cruising.

Then came disaster when for some unknown reason the referee pointed to the spot after we had tried to clear the ball out of the area. Had there been a push? a handball or some other offence?

Up stepped the little scrote that should have been sailing yellow plastic ducks across the water to take it. Fair play to Brandon Hall when he dived correctly to stop it going in but he could only palm it back into the path of Walker who forced it over the line at the second attempt.

How we contrived to throw away a four goal lead we, the fans, will never know but I’m sure that the players and the management will.

FT: 4 – 4

Goals for Harriers: Sonupè 20, Ironside 33, L Vaughan 53, Bradley 56

Goals for Salford City: Askew 79, Horton 88, Dieseruvwe 91, Walker 95 (pen)

The Harriers Online MotM is: Lee Vaughan

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Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
L Vaughan    
McQuilkin   92  
Ironside 75  
Sonupè 70  
N Vaughan        
A Brown   75  
Austin   70  
Digie   92  
Salford City Goals Subs Time Cards
Allen   79  
Dudley   54
Redshaw   46  
Askew 79  
Haughton 54  
Dieseruvwe 46  
Mr Gareth Rhodes