KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS (2) 2 ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
played on Saturday, 12 February, 2011, at 3pm
Altrincham were very unlucky to take nothing from this game which they finished with eight fit players on the pitch. Byrne put Kiddy ahead after a shot rebounded off the post to him following a scramble. Wright's fierce 25-yarder made it 2-0 after 37 minutes. Alty got back to 2-1 when Baynes fired home following a Clee throw in. But just before the break Piergianni was controversially sent off when he made a fine covering tackle which the referee judged to be a foul. It seemed that Piergianni had been dismissed for denying a goalscoring opportunity but it later emerged that the reason given by the referee was "foul and abusive language". Dootson made a fine save from the penalty kick, however.
But Alty's ten men were the better side for the early part of the second period and when Reeves's effort came back off the post, Clee somehow spooned well over from three yards. Alty also hit the crossbar and had two efforts cleared off the line but Kiddy hung on before applying some late pressure.
Smith got himself sent off for a petulant spat in injury time - again the reason given was "foul and abusive language". To cap the afternoon Densmore finished the game lame after being fouled, leaving Alty with eight fit men at the final whistle. Kidderminster failed totally to exploit their numerical advantage and can count themselves fortunate to have taken all the points.
REFEREE: Mr R J Martin (Weston-super-Mare)
ATTENDANCE: 2,930 (88 in away end)
Coburn had a groin strain allowing Dootson to make his league debut for Alty. Piergianni returned as left wing-back as Young played in the back three following his return, on loan, from York. Harriers's new loan signing, Canham, started.
Alty's last league game was against a Wrexham club in upheaval as a takeover appeared to be taking place. After that, Alty's last cup game was against an Alsager Town club which had lost all its first-team and its manager after a behind the scenes upheaval. And today Altrincham travelled to a club which in the previous week stood on the brink of administration. But the Harriers were aiming to make today's game a full-house as its supporters' trust sought to raise further funds to keep the club going.
Altrincham had the boost of having won their last game 12-1, in the Cheshire Senior Cup, last Tuesday.
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS (All red) : 1. Daniel Lewis, 6. Mark Albrighton, 3. Mike Williams, 16. Michael Briscoe, 2. Lee Vaughan, 11. Jack Byrne, 5. Tom Shaw, 10. Chris McPhee, 8. Keith Briggs, 14. Nick Wright, 23. Sean Canham. Sub 15.Tom Sharpe, 20. Jamille Matt, 33. Andrew Stevens, 17. Matty Blair, 18. Callum Gittings,
ALTRINCHAM (All white) 30. Craig DOOTSON, 2. James SMITH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 22. Greg YOUNG, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 28. Sam WEDGBURY, 26. Carl PIERGIANNI, 17. Wes BAYNES, 8. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 9. Michael TWISS, 20. Sam HEWSON, 19. Mark BEESLEY
After changing ends, Alty kicked off facing the sun and attacking the away end at Aggborough which was better filled than usual thanks to a plea from its supporters' trust following the club's financial problems. Canham had the ball in the net inside the first minute but the flag was already up for offside.
Despite play being stopped for a couple of minutes for Clee to be treated for a blow to his head, Altrincham started the game reasonably well despite the bobbly surface. Kidderminster's main danger was coming from Vaughan, whom Alty were allowing too much space on the Harriers' right.
There was no serious threat of a goal and Briggs's effort from 25 yards was probably as good as any effort in the first 20 minutes. Next, McPhee fired badly wide as the Harriers began to get on top. They got their reward when Vaughan fed Wright on the right; his cross was well intercepted by Lawton but the ball went into the air off the Alty captain and dropped for a Harriers' shot which came back off the post. Unfortunately, it dropped for Byrne who scored from close range (24 mins).
Alty then won a freekick from a promising position 25 yards out but Baynes overhit it to the corner flag. After Baynes had won Alty a corner, which Young headed narrowly over, Alty got another freekick in a threatening position. This time Clee sent the kick to the keeper, as the visitors failed to capitalise on dead ball situations (31 mins).
Kidderminster doubled their lead in the 37th minute when Canham moved the ball to the left and Wright, from 25 yards, blasted an unstoppable low shot into the far corner from left of goal (37 mins). After Dootson had rushed to the right touchline to clear, he did not find touch and a Kidderminster player tried to lob him from 45 yards but the Alty keeper was back in time to catch the ball comfortably.
Altrincham got back into the game when a Clee long throw from the left found its way to Reeves, who was clearly being held near the penalty spot. But he got the ball back to Baynes, whose low shot from outside the box made it 2-1 (43 mins). Just after two added minutes had been announced, Young allowed a Harriers player to get behind him. Piergianni covered and executed what looked like an excellent tackle to get possession only for Mr Martin to point to the spot and send off the Peterborough work experience player. It looked a very dubious decision, though later it emerged that Mr Martin had shown the red card for "foul and abusive language" rather than the tackle.
However, Dootson made a superb save fom the penalty kick, diving to his right to stop Shaw's effort (45+3 mins). But Alty faced a second half with just ten men at their disposal.
|Half-Time: KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|
Alty started the second half with a 4-4-1 formation, Reeves being the lone striker. Reeves and Clee soon combined for the latter to shoot over the top (46 mins). Then a fine Alty move ended with the visitors going close again as they belied the loss of Piergianni.
Dootson had to save from Byrne (53 mins) but then Densmore got forward as Alty continued their best spell of the match. The game's turning point came in the 58th minute when a great run from Clee allowed Reeves a shot from left of goal, which hit the inside of the far post. It rebounded to Clee who blasted the ball well over the bar from inside the goalmouth. Harriers had converted a similar situation and that was ultimately the difference between the sides.
When Briggs hacked down Baynes as he advanced towards the edge of the box, the former Stalybridge man was booked, the referee judging him not to be the last man. A minute later Alty won a corner from which Williams had a header cleared off the line. A second corner came and went before Harriers introduced Blair for Shaw (63 mins).
At the other end, Densmore had to clear off the line from Blair, who had had the benefit of a fortunate rebound before lobbing Dootson from right of goal. Next, Lawton was booked for a foul in midfield (67 mins) before Dootson had to block smartly when Williams underhit a back pass to him (71 mins). From a Clee throw, a Young header just cleared the bar, landing on the roof of the net (74 mins).
At this point, Canham came off and Gittings came on for the hosts whilst Joseph and Twiss replaced Baynes and Lawton for Alty. Altrincham had more than held their own in the second half before Harriers upped the pressure with ten minutes left. Even so, Kiddy had to clear off the line from Twiss but the offside flag went up, in any case.
After 85 minutes, Beesley came on for Reeves. Matt then replaced Wright for Kidderminster (86 mins) after which Altrincham again hit the woodwork as Young's effort struck the bar. Joseph now got a booking for a foul (88 mins) before four added minutes were declared. Alty won another corner before Densmore got fouled after the ball had gone and the referee missed it. The incident left Densmore crocked and he ended the game a passenger, up front.
There was an unsavoury incident when Densmore was fouled and the offender, Matt, appeared to tread on him - again the officials apparently missed this. In the resulting fuss, it was Vaughan who got booked, presumably for dissent (90 mins). In the closing seconds of the four added minutes, Smith was penalised and as McPhee attempted to manhandle him away, Smith jerked his arms back at the opponent. Referee Martin called him over and took out a yellow card but, before he could show it, Smith lunged at Matt and the referee instantly showed a red card to the Alty defender. As with Piergianni, post-match the reason given for the dismissal was the use of "foul and abusive language". Kidderminster's Matt had to be restrained by team mates before play could resume (90+5 mins).
The final whistle sounded almost immediately with Alty unlucky not to have taken a point but instead having lost two men to red cards and Densmore looking to be badly crocked. Alty's visits to Aggborough seem to be blighted by controversy with Alty on the end of sending offs and penalties in four of the past five seasons.
Though, before today's game, Alty had won more games at Aggborough against Kidderminster than the Harriers had won against Alty, it has not been a happy hunting ground in the six games played there since our return to the Conference in 2005. In the first four matches, Alty had a penalty awarded against them which was converted; in the last three, they have had at least one man sent off in each game. So, the total is now 4 penalties and 4 sending offs in six visits!
Another curious feature of today's double sending off is that, Alty completed 24 league games this season without any red cards being received; yet, in the five matches since then, they have had four players dismissed.
|Full-Time: KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|