Match report Vs Alfreton TownVenue: AggboroughDate: 26-08-17Att: 1653 (away fans: 50)

26-08-17 - Report - Harriers 2 Alfreton Town 1

Harriers make hard work of Alfreton

Report: Phil Lench

A much improved second half for the Harriers earn all three points from this Bank Holiday game (played in Bank Holiday sunshine) from a tough Alfreton side who looked to be much improved footballing wise that in recent years. The first half though is one that I think is best glossed over.

We started the game with a few changes to the one that capitulated at Salford City last week with Manny Sonupè, Kennedy Digie both dropping to the bench allowing Sam Austin and Cieron Keane to come in. The formation was also changed to 3-5-2 to accommodate them but that had been dispensed with by the second half after we went a goal down and looked a mess at the back. Attack wise we looked better than in recent weeks and Joe Ironside could have bagged himself a hat trick within the first twenty minutes but his heading was soft and also wayward.

Austin had a shot tipped onto the post early doors and Elton N’Gwatalas’ shot from the edge of the area was weak and was never going to trouble the Alfreton keeper, Chris Elliott. It was against the run of play when the visitors scored and part of the reason for that was our defenders not knowing what one another was going to do following a corner for them that was bouncing around inside the area. Three times it ended up at the feet of an Alfreton man and the third of those was forced home by a grateful Tom Allan.

We tried to rally but found it hard work trying to break down the strong Town defence. Ironside again missed a good chance of drawing us level when his shot on the turn was more of a threat to the corner flag than Elliotts goal. Alfreton had a breakaway that could easily have ended in us going two goals down but Brandon Hall was his usual assured self in saving well from Tom Platts 25 yard drive soon after.

The half ended with us having shaded the game so far in footballing ability but Alfreton having looked the more likely to go on and score again while we had never looked remotely like scoring at all. We had chances to but didn’t take them even though the supply was coming in from Austin and Joel Taylor but being spurned by Ironside, N’Gwatala and Dan Bradley.  

HT: 0 – 1

The second half was a much improved affair with the arrival of Andre Brown on the scene at the re-start. Joel Taylor was the one forfeited and many fans couldn’t see the logic in that because Taylor had been having a very good game so far but was prone to venturing too far upfield leaving his defensive partners further back exposed. The change saw us revert to a flat back four.

Straight away Brown made a good impression by running at the visitors backline to force them into making errors. Alfretons defenders were now beginning to struggle against against our, now, two man frontline (we’re at home???) and began to begin using rough tactics to try and stop us resulting in a flurry of yellow cards handed their way.

The change was also giving Sam Austin more freedom to do his thing and play was going from one side of the pitch to the other. Just like the good old days last season. It was from one of our renewed attacks that the first goal came. A corner, taken by James McQuilkin, was played out to the edge of the area to Joe Ironside who stepped forward on to the ball and rifled it home from the edge of the area and pull us back level. Three minutes later and we had taken the lead.

This time another corner, again taken by McQuilkin, was played in our usual fashion onto the crowded goal line and met by the head of Liam Daly who nodded the ball down to near the far post where N’Gwatala was on hand to try to force the ball over the line but Elliott got a hand to only to give it back to Elton who put it home at the second time of asking.

We went looking for the third goal and Manny Sonupè came on in place of Elton to help achieve that. His trickery was scaring Alfreton but sadly his loosing possession wasn’t and that was the difference between him and Elton.

Alfreton were still getting chances to pull the game back and it was again down to our weak defence in allowing that. Too many times they gained the advantage in areas that they shouldn’t through defenders giving the ball away or not closing down quickly enough. Ryan Jennings should have done better with the chance offered to him by Brendon Daniels free kick that wasn’t contested defensively by us and then soon after when substitute Ricky German  floated past challenges from Tyrone Williams and Daly to fire just wide and then he forced Hall into a fabulous save to keep the Chesterfield loanee from scoring on his debut.

Another flurry of yellow cards and substitutes saw the game out without us adding further to the scoreline although we should have done if we had been more prepared to shoot on sight. The three points earned keeps us in mid table but with a tough game coming up at Brackley Town on Monday we’re going to have to be a bit tougher in defence and a little more lethal in attack.

FT: 2 – 1

Goals for Harriers: Ironside 60, N’Gwatala 63

Goal for Alfreton: Allan 17

The Harriers Online MotM is: James McQuilkin

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
Taylor       46  
McQuilkin       91  
N’Gwatala       73  
A Brown      46  
Weeks       91  
Sonupè       73  
Alfreton Town Goals Subs Time Cards
Smith       64  
Sharp       76  
Westcarr       64  
German       64  
Disley      76  
Marshall      64  
Mr Scott Simpson
Stoke on Trent