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Match Reports

Match Report : 18/08/2012

18 August 2012

Meikle double seals Stags win

Lindon Meikle grabbed two goals as magnificent Mansfield Town twice came from behind to defeat Kidderminster Harriers 3-2 and record their first win of the new campaign.
The Stags fell behind when Jack Byrne headed the hosts into an eighth-minute lead, before a strike from Matt Green levelled matters on the stroke of half-time.

Kidderminster went ahead early in the second period through a deflected effort from Marvin Johnson, but it was Meikle who stole the show with a superb brace.
Paul Cox made four changes to his side for the trip to Aggborough with Andy Todd, John Dempster, Matt Rhead and Ritchie Sutton all given their first starts of the season, as Cox lined up his side in an attacking 4-4-2 formation.
The Stags enjoyed plenty of early possession on a mild afternoon in Worcestershire, yet it was the hosts who created the first chance after eight minutes when Alan Marriott flung himself across goal in order to prevent a powerful low shot from James Vincent rippling the net.
From the resulting corner, Johnson delivered a marvellous out-swinging ball to the edge of the six-yard box and Byrne rose highest to plant a powerful header into the roof of the goal as the Harriers went ahead.
Buoyed by scoring the opener, Kidderminster continued to press forward as they sought to extend their early advantage and came close only six minutes later. Left-back Mike Williams advanced from the back and rifled a low shot wide of the woodwork from around 20-yards out.
Green then enjoyed a golden chance midway through the half. Gary Roberts played a delightful long ball over the top and the Stags talisman outpaced Ryan Austin to find himself clean through on goal. Nevertheless, Danny Lewis was quick from his line to deny Green a goal scoring opportunity before the danger was cleared.
Marriott also had to be quick off his line at the opposite end to foil Ryan Rowe, but it was the Stags who then enjoyed a flurry of chances and grew stronger as the half progressed.
Luke Jones headed wide of the target following a free-kick into the area from Roberts on 28 minutes, though Anthony Howell came much closer moments later when he headed straight at the Harriers shot-stopper from six yards out following an intricate flick on from Todd.
In the next attack, Junior Daniel found Rhead lurking dangerously in the area with a fantastic ball from the left flank. With Lewis rooted firmly to his line, Rhead connected perfectly with Daniel’s cross but saw his powerful downward header ultimately fall the wrong side of the post.
However, only one minute prior to the interval the Stags finally drew level. Rhead again connected well to a ball into the area, this time from Roberts, and Lewis was only able to palm the ball straight into the path of an unmarked Green, who tapped in from only two yards out.
Kidderminster began brightly after the re-start and almost regained the lead when a low right-wing cross from Johnson somehow evaded everyone in a crowded penalty area.
The Stags challenge to record their first points of the new campaign soon became much greater when the hosts grabbed a second goal on 52 minutes. Johnson, who was industrious in the vast majority of Harriers’ attacks throughout the afternoon, cut inside from the left flank and hit an arrowed left-foot shot from inside the area, which caught a deflection off and nestled in the net beyond a wrong-footed Marriott.
Exodus Geohaghon headed wide as the Harriers threatened to extend their advantage, but they were pegged on the hour mark when dominant Mansfield drew level for a second time.
Rhead played a precise low pass to Green inside the area and the former Oxford United man took a touch to spin away from his marker and create a shooting angle. With Meikle in a far better position to his right-hand side, Green unselfishly passed to him and the winger coolly slotted past an out-of-position Lewis to claim his first goal of the new campaign.
Keith Briggs tested Marriott’s reflexes with a tame low shot from an acute angle, though a resurgent Stags soon created several openings in quick succession.
A powerful attempt from Green was expertly tipped away by Lewis at his near post and Todd also came close when his rasping 25-yard attempt caught a deflection off Williams and landed only inches the wrong side of the Harriers woodwork.
Rhead headed wide from the resulting corner, before Mansfield then enjoyed two attempts on target in the space of as many minutes.
Firstly, Geohaghon was forced to clear a Howell attempt from the line after he was put through on goal by Green, before Meikle found space inside the area on 73 minutes and powered a low drive straight at the Harriers shot-stopper, with Briggs on hand to clear the danger away.
Nick Wright replaced Green, as manager Paul Cox sought to add height to his attack in the closing stages, and the tactical substitutions soon paid dividends as Mansfield grabbed what turned out to be the winner with 13 minutes remaining.
Wright played a direct ball towards Rhead and the bustling striker flicked the ball delightfully into the path of Meikle, who had beaten the offside trap to find himself in a one-on-one with Lewis. The wide man retained his composure to round the Harriers keeper and slot into an empty net, thus sending the 400 travelling supporters located behind the goal into wild celebration.
Johnson drilled a low shot straight down the throat of Marriott as the hosts pressed for an equaliser, whilst the resolve of the Stags defence was also tested with a long torpedo-like throw into the area from former defender Geohaghon in stoppage time.
But it was Mansfield who comfortably held on to record their first win of the new Blue Square Bet Premier campaign and leave the hosts buried firmly in the relegation zone.
Attendance: 1,770 (400 away supporters).

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