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05:30 5th July 2014

Kidderminster Harriers 0 Grimsby Town 1

RHYS Oates scored on his debut to earn Grimsby Town a hard-fought away victory against Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough.


The Barnsley loanee came off the bench to score the only goal with five minutes to go and break a run of three games without a win.


Kidderminster had created good chances, the best of which fell for striker Michael Gash, while Toto Nsiala saw a header from a corner hit the top of the bar with the game goalless.


The Mariners were forced to do plenty of defending but they got their reward, with Oates’s goal sealing three points to add to the one picked up at Halifax in midweek.


One change was made to the Town side that began that draw at The Shay, with new loan signing Danny Parslow coming into the defence in place of Chris Doig.


That meant fellow new boy Oates had to be content with a place among the substitutes.


James McKeown started in goal, with Parslow, Shaun Pearson, Nsiala and Carl Magnay forming the back four.


Jack Mackreth, Craig Disley, Scott Brown and Craig Clay and Scott Neilson were the midfielders, with Neilson also supporting lone striker Ross Hannah.


Oates and Doig were joined on the bench by Paul Bignot, Caine Winfarrah and Patrick McLaughlin.


Kidderminster would look to former Forest Green striker Reece Styche and fellow attacker Gash to get the goals and fire the hosts to victory.


Neilson had to chase back to prevent Marvin Johnson creating an opportunity in the early stages of the game.


The hosts won a free kick on six minutes but left-back Kevin Nicholson’s low ball from the right was cleared by Clay.


Another set piece in a similar position came soon afterwards for a foul by Neilson on Styche and this time, it was Mackreth who dealt with the danger.


A shot from Styche bounced through to McKeown, before Hannah shot wide from Grimsby’s first attempt at goal after cutting in from the left.


The Mariners then won a corner when a long-range shot from Brown took a deflection and went behind.


Another Kidderminster free kick from the right for a foul by Pearson on Styche came on the quarter-hour but Kyle Storer’s delivery was too long and the ball went out for a goal kick.


Defender Jared Hodgkiss was the next to take a free kick for the hosts and his chipped ball led to a cross coming into the Town box that was put out for a corner, which caused no problems.


The game stopped briefly for Clay to receive some treatment after taking a knock to the head but he was passed fit to play on.


A cross from Johnson was cleared for a throw by Pearson on 23 minutes, before an effort from Clay was blocked by Storer.


A cross from Parslow on the right was then met by Hannah but his header flew wide of the goal guarded by home keeper Daniel Lewis.


A Nicholson free kick from the right was saved by McKeown on 27 minutes, before a follow-up effort from Gash was cleared off the line by Pearson.


A Grimsby break seconds later led to a corner but Brown’s ball sailed over everybody and out for a throw.


Former Lincoln defender Josh Gowling cleared a cross from Hannah, before a run from Johnson saw him beat three defenders and force McKeown into making a save.  The ball broke for Gash but he could not make the rebound count, instead firing over the bar.


Styche shot wide for the home side on 35 minutes, then pressure from Hodgkiss proved enough for Mackreth to miss the target after Neilson had found Hannah on the right.


Pearson and Styche were spoken to by the referee after an off-the ball incident, before a Neilson shot was blocked by Gowling for a Town corner four minutes from half-time.


The hosts won a corner on 45 minutes but Nicholson’s delivery was headed away by Clay.  Johnson sent the ball back into the Town box but Styche was caught offside.


Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and another Town corner came in the first of them, although it was headed away at the near post and Neilson’s follow-up cross was caught by keeper Lewis.


No further chances came before the referee’s half-time whistle blew, meaning the game remained goalless at the break.


No changes were made before the restart and the first opportunity of the second half came from a Kidderminster free kick, although McKeown was able to gather after Parslow headed Nicholson’s ball across the face of his own goal.


Clay was fouled to bring about a free kick in the other direction three minutes in but Gowling got to the ball ahead of Pearson.


Another set piece chance for the home side came when Nsiala fouled Gash but after the ball was played short, Nicholson fired well over the bar.


A run and cross from Styche led to a Kidderminster corner after Mackreth hacked the ball over his own bar and from the flag, a header from Chey Dunkley was cleared off the line by Pearson.


Johnson then sent a shot wide, before Neilson also missed the target with a curling shot at the other end.


The hosts had done most of the attacking since the interval  but a Grimsby break through Mackreth and Hannah led to a free kick just before the hour when Magnay was fouled.  Again, they were unable to create anything from the set piece, as the ball was cleared at the near post.


Parslow did well to deny Gash on 63 minutes, before Barnsley loanee Oates replaced Mackreth as Town boss Paul Hurst made his first change, opting for an additional striker alongside Hannah.


Johnson beat Parslow to get a cross in two minutes later but the ball came back off the near post.


Nsiala was booked for a mistimed challenge on Styche midway through the half and the hosts won a corner soon afterwards when Parslow and Brown both failed to clear their lines.  Parslow headed it away for another flag-kick, beating Jamie Grimes to the ball.


At the other end, Hannah won a Town corner on 70 minutes and this time, Brown’s delivery found Nsiala but the centre-back’s header hit the top of the bar.


Another good Grimsby move involving Clay and Brown led to Magnay crossing for Oates but he could not hit the target.


Nathan Blisset replaced Gash for the hosts, before Styche was swapped for Craig Reid in Kidderminster’s second change.


Hannah dragged a shot wide after latching onto a through-ball from Brown, before the home side had the ball in the net after a floated cross from Nicholson but substitute Blisset was penalised for pushing Pearson before he headed the ball past McKeown.


Johnson missed the target with a shot on 82 minutes after a header from Storer was cleared by Disley.


Kidderminster were doing most of the attacking but when the deadlock was eventually broken with five minutes to go, it was the Mariners who snatched the opening goal.  Brown got the ball on the left and after his cross found OATES, the teenager turned and smashed a right-footed shot into the net from 20 yards.


McLaughlin replaced Neilson after the goal and Town were forced to defend again for much of the remainder of the game, as Kidderminster looked to salvage a point.


But despite having to endure four minutes of stoppage time, the Mariners held firm to send their 373 travelling supporters home happy and secure a return of four points from two tough-looking away games in the last week.


Town now return to home turf for their next game, with Chester the visitors to Blundell Park on Saturday.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.