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Archived News from March 2005

30th March 2005 22:20

As part of the post-match media interviews, I asked Carlton Palmer whether he was able to say whether Rhys Day would be at the club next season.
Carlton said: Well he's under contract next season. Whether he is with us or whether he isn't, like one or two others, I don't know. But he's under contract so that's how it stands. I won't be going to press on any other players that I've told can go or not, cos' I don't think that's fair. If they want to speak to the press that's up to them. But as far as I'm concerned that's a private conversation between the club and the players.

Meanwhile, Stuart Watkiss after the game on Monday to the Harriers media (not reported in press):
Mark Jackson has done well since he's come in; he has been (if you like) one of the differences between the old Harriers that made mistakes and the new Harriers that have been much more competitive. He is a leader that why we've bought him. I enquired about him when I was manager at Mansfield; at the time Scunthorpe wouldn't let him go. It's a bit ironic, maybe if I'd been successful in getting him, you never know, I may still be in charge of Mansfield. Because ultimately when I was there I was maybe just two centre halves away from having a really competitive team in the league above. But it's water under the bridge now.

Stuart Watkiss after the game on Monday to Jason Harrison Mansfield 103.2: Yes I was bitter when I left. I'd be lying if I said anything diffrerent. But in football (if you like) it was part of my learning curve being out of work.


harriers-online match report
Missed penalty and poor defending cost us

This little un-beaten had to come to an end sooner or later but not in the way that this one came about.

To go one goal up then to see a player clean through on goal get upended by the keeper was bad enough but for the incompetent referee to give a penalty and then only brandish a yellow card for the offence was un-believable. For our penalty taker in chief to then go and miss said penalty was equally disastrous.

To top it off, last seasons Player of the Year getting rings run round him by a former Harrier was depressing. Ok, Stuart Watkiss probably didn't know much about Simon Brown but Hatswell did and still allowed himself to be chosen to mark him.

There were two changes to the win at Darlington with Blair Sturrock being given the day off to do some DIY and gardening, Mark Rawle took his place, and Lee Jenkins serving the first bit of his two game ban, Tom Bennett returned in his place from his enforced exile.

We almost, well not quite, got a goal with our first move of the game when John McGrath ran wide onto a pass from Chris Beardsley and then fired a shot across the face of the goal. We thought it was close but the fact that it went out for a throw in to Mansfield proved how wrong we were.

The majority of the half was quiet from our point of view with us un-able to find a way through their packed midfield and resorting to continual long balls over the top. Mansfield did have one chance on goal when Simon Brown managed to evade the off side trap and all of our defence to swoop onto a through ball. With him clear on to a certain goal John Danby performed an excellent stop with his knees to deflect the ball out for a corner.

Our goal came out of the blue although we were starting to gain control of the game. Tom Bennett played a great ball over the top of the Stags defence to Mark Rawle and he made no mistake sending the ball into the top of the net for his second goal in three days.

We should have gone further ahead just a minute later and Mansfield should have been down to ten men.

The ball came into the area and took a bounce, a bounce that was just right for Beardo. He went up for it and the keeper Pilkington came crashing in to send the former Mansfield youngster crashing to the ground.

The referee didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot, and rightfully so, but the officials next decision defied belief. Instead of showing Pilkington an instant red card he merely brandished the yellow one and the guilty keeper stayed on the pitch to be given the chance to save face by saving the penalty.

Dean Keates stepped up to take it and after his two clinical takes at Notts County you would have bet your life on him to slot this one home. No, he missed it completely and almost knocked the corner flag over.

You had the feeling then that this was not to be our day.

HT. 1 - 0

Mansfield started the second half by coming out twenty minutes too early and making two substitutions. We started by going into all out attack but then found ourselves suckered by a punch.

The former Macclesfield veteran, Richie Barker, picked up on a long clearance and ploughed his way towards Wayne Hatswell. Hats did his usual and backed off until it was too late and Barker whipped past him to put himself into a 'one on one' with John Danby. Danbs tried to narrow the gap but Barker was too wise for that and put the ball round him and into the net.

1 - 1 and we could live with that but not to have the same mistake from the same player again just a few minutes later.

An almost identical move developed but this time it was former Harrier Simon Brown taking Hats to the cleaners. The Harriers defender let him get past him to make his way at speed towards goal and fire the ball past Danby for the second Mansfield goal.

2 - 1 and we can claw it back, there's plenty of time.

It was just after that that the keeper again found himself lucky to stay on the pitch when Beardo and McNiven became embroiled in a conflict on the edge of the area. A bit of nose rubbing took place but was nothing compared to Pilkingtons behaviour. He squared up to Beardo and grabbed him around the neck with a load of players rushing in to get themselves invited to the party. Mark Rawle managed to make the peace but Pilkingtons dad just had a word with Beardo and McNiven and totally ignored the second sending off offence from the keeper.

Stuart Watkiss decided a overhaul of the team would help us get something from the game and sent on the former Stags hero, Iyseden Christie, in place of Mark Rawle. It worked for the first five minutes with Issey getting a couple of shots in and a few nice turns but he soon ran out of steam and looked totally unfit for the task.

Simon Russell was sent on to help out in place of Cozic but, as with the one he replaced, a lack of service made him a passenger in the game.

We had a half chance from McGrath to get a goal back but the fierce shot was blocked on the line and then Christie had a goal dis-allowed after the ref said that Beardo handled the ball before it went in. Agreed it hit his arm but there wasn't much that he could do about that.

Five minutes from the end and the game, and our unbeaten run, came to a close with Barkers second goal but this time you couldn't blame Hatswell because he had been replaced by Gary Birch to enforce our attacking options.

Adam Rundle, Mansfields Man of the Match according to their fans on StagsNet (comment from Martin - err, I don't think so...) although I thought he was non descript, sent over a corner for a unmarked Barker to crash home past a rooted Danby.

A defeat, and our first one since the aftermath of the Shrewsbury game, did nothing to improve our precarious position at the bottom of the table. Lets stop losing these games once we're above Rushden, not before please.

FT. 1 - 3

The Harriers-Online
Man of the Match is : Chris Beardsley

Played his guts out with little service. Some of his play may not be entirely legal but he's effective gets the crowd going.
Kidderminster Shuttle, thisiskhfc.co.uk

KIDDERMINSTER Harriers failed to move out of the Coca-Cola League Two relegation zone when a missed penalty and a poor second half display contributed to a 3-1 home defeat against Mansfield Town yesterday.

The bitterly disappointing outcome ended weary Harriers' timely run of six matches without defeat and leaves them three points away from safety.

Hopes of extending their precious sequence looked rosy when they took the lead through Mark Rawle in the 41st minute.

Within a couple of minutes, however, they missed a great opportunity to go 2-0 ahead when Dean Keates fluffed a penalty, awarded when Stags 'keeper Kevin Pilkington brought down Chris Beardsley.

The spot-kick failure prove costly, particularly when Mansfield snatched two goals in three minutes shortly after half-time through Richie Barker and former Harriers loan signing Simon Brown.

Barker then notched another in the closing stages to allow the Stags to register their first Football League victory at Aggborough at the fifth attempt.

It also ended Mansfield's run of six games without victory as well as enabling them to complete the double over Harriers, who lost 2-1 at Field Mill in August.

Yesterday's reversal was particularly disappointing for Aggborough chief Stuart Watkiss who had been hoping to mastermind a win against his former club.

He said: "We didn't play anywhere near as well as we have been. We got the goal which was great and then we get a penalty within a minute. Even Pilkington said afterwards that he should have been sent off for it.

"I think everybody on the ground thought he should've been sent off apart from one man. I'm still trying to fathom what's going through the ref's mind in order not to send him off.

"We miss a great opportunity to go 2-0 up and within two minutes of the restart we are 2-1 down.

"I'm still trying to fathom why a team that defended so well in the previous five games could defend like they did.

"But, hand on heart, I thought it was impossible for the lads to carry on performing at the level that they have been. I half expected this.

"It's difficult for a team to carry on playing consistently well without having a tired performance."

Mansfield missed a couple chances before Rawle put Harriers ahead with an angled shot from 15 yards after good work by Tom Bennett.

Keates, who hammered two perfectly placed penalties in his side's recent 3-1 win at Notts County, was nowhere near as lethal this time and scuffed the ball harmlessly wide.

Mansfield made the most of the let-off when a poor pass by Wayne Hatswell allowed Brown to release Barker, who fired past 'keeper John Danby.

Barker then turned provider for Brown to make it 2-1 and, soon after, Harriers' Simon Weaver cleared off the line from Andrew Barrowman.

Iyseden Christie was drafted into the Aggborough attack to face his former club but, despite having a couple of efforts blocked, failed to break through before Barker sealed Mansfield's victory with five minutes left.

Kidderminster: Danby 6; Hatswell 5 (Birch, 83), Jackson 6, Mullins 6, Weaver 6; McGrath 6, Keates 6, *Bennett 7, Cozic 5 (Russell, 70, 5); Beardsley 6, Rawle 6 (Christie, 58, 6). Subs not used: Lewis, Jones.

Attendance: 3,237 (345 away fans).

Watkiss: Now for another good run
Kidderminster Shuttle, thisiskhfc.co.uk

BOSS Stuart Watkiss is still optimistic about Kidderminster Harriers' chances of escaping relegation from the Coca-Cola League Two, despite yesterday's disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Mansfield Town.

The setback kept Harriers in second-from-bottom spot, two points behind Rushden & Diamonds who earned a valuable goalless draw at Grimsby Town.

Watkiss said: "We've just got to make sure this defeat is a one-off and put it behind us.

"We've got six massive games left to play and the other results haven't gone disastrously against us, so ultimately we're one win behind Rushden.

"We've still got it all to play for but it's certainly an opportunity we've missed out on."

The former Mansfield manager added: "Obviously, I'm disappointed because I was against my old team but we'll go into the last six games being optimistic.

"It's a setback. There's no getting away from that and everybody is disappointed.

"We had gone six matches unbeaten and if we can now go six matches unbeaten between now and the end of the season then that should see us to safety. That's what we've got to strive for."

Harriers now prepare to head to Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday but will still be out without the versatile Lee Jenkins.

The Welsh right-back or midfielder is serving a two-game ban for his red card in Saturday's 2-0 win at Darlington.

Match Report by St@tto's Harriers' site

Harriers' charge towards safety was brought to a shuddering halt by three second half goals from visiting Mansfield after the home team had been cruising at 1-0 up going into the break.

A typical game of two halves saw Harriers, showing Tom Bennett in for the suspended Lee Jenkins as the only change from the side that won at Darlington at the weekend, dominate the first half but come to regret missed opportunities and then indiscipline after the break saw them hand the advantage to the visitors.

A dour first half started brightly, John McGrath flashed a shot across the Town goal in the first minute and soon afterwards the Harriers defence was caught out by a long ball over the top, former Harrier Simon Brown raced clear but fired his shot straight at John Danby in the Harriers goal. The game soon became scrappy; perhaps the pressure of knowing that they could climb out of the relegation zone with a victory got to the home team and affected their performance. It was not until four minutes before the interval, when Harriers took the lead, that the match came back to life. Bennett intercepted a pass in midfield and carried the ball forward before sliding a pass into the path of Mark Rawle on the left who lashed a shot into the top corner of the net for his second goal in as many games.

With the home support still celebrating the goal, Harriers had the opportunity to take complete control of the game; chasing a long ball Chris Beardsley was brought down by Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington, winning a penalty. Dean Keates stepped forward to take the kick and even though he sent Pilkington the wrong way he screwed his shot horribly wide of the keeper's left-hand post. In stoppage time there was a scare for the home team when Richie Barker flicked on a right-wing throw to Brown who shot wide of the near post.

After the break the game came to life; a mistake by Pilkington let in Beardsley, his cross was half cleared but his second attempt found Bertrand Cozic who headed straight at the keeper. Moments later Harriers began to fall apart; chasing another long ball Beardsley clashed with Pilkington which sparked a minor contretemps, Beardsley fired up against one of hid former clubs. From the free kick Mansfield switched play quickly to the other end, Barker beat the offside trap and rifled a low shot inside the near post. Three minutes later another quick attack gave Mansfield the lead; Brown taking the ball round Danby and rolling it into the empty net. There was almost a third goal in six minutes for Mansfield; Brown got away on the right and crossed low to the near post where sub Andrew Barrowman, on loan from Birmingham, chipped it over Danby but Simon Weaver was on the line to clear.

Harriers tried to get back into the game; Jackson had a header blocked and when the ball was played back into the danger area Alex John-Baptiste made a crucial last ditch tackle to deny Iyseden Christie. A Weaver pass through the inside-right channel was dummied by Christie but just evaded the run of Keates into the penalty area. McGrath also went close with a 25-yard volley that went narrowly wide of Pilkington's right-hand post.

As Harriers' attempts became more frantic they finally had the ball in the net; a high ball into the penalty area was dropped by Pilkington under pressure from Beardsley and Christie turned it in from close range but the goal was ruled out because Beardsley had used his hand to knock the ball away from the keeper. At the death Jackson needlessly handled the ball near the corner flag and from the resultant free kick Adam Rundle floated the ball to the far post where Barker rose unchallenged to head in the third, and final, goal.


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