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Kidderminster Harriers 2-0 Kingstonian

Any rumours that K's came to Aggborough looking for a draw were dispelled as soon as the teams were announced. Had they been after just one point, then they would surely have filled the team with defenders. As it was, they only named four centre-halves, two full-backs and a goalkeeper. Leaving at least four players to go all-out for the win.

But maybe Chapple can't really be blamed for this. Once again the K's squad had taken a beating prior to this game, with Colin Luckett suffering from a torn stomach muscle - which might still need an operation - and Geoff Pitcher sitting out with tonsillitis. Luke Basford was suspended after picking up bookings aplenty for the reserves, meaning that two more new players were drafted in. Gerard Little played in the number 8 shirt after coming in on loan from Peterborough, whilst Kenny Brown filled in at left-back. He has been signed on a non-contract basis.

On the back of two straight league defeats, this was probably not Chapple's first choice of venues, as Kidderminster have been having a good time of late. This was proved in the early stages when Hinton came within a whisker of opening the scoring. Luckily Mark Harris was on hand to flick the ball off for a corner. Had K's only had three centre-halves then Hinton would surely have scored.

Interestingly, K's best chance of the whole game came and went after just 12 minutes. Tarkan Mustafa crossed from the right and Eddie connected with a near-post header. The effort was on target but was well saved by Clarke leaving K's with just a corner for their efforts. Leworthy had a shot just after, following a good through ball by Patterson, but it was deflected off for a corner.

Bennett was looking dangerous for the home side and came close to opening the scoring three times in rapid succession. First he headed a right-wing Clarkson cross off for a throw, when he really should have done better seeing as he was totally unmarked in the centre-half position. Whoever said that there was safety in numbers? Just after, his cross struck Mark Harris and almost deceived Farrelly, who just managed to palm the ball over for a corner. Then Simon Stewart helpfully set him up on the edge of the area, but again Bennett wasted the opportunity.

Gary Patterson had started the game fairly well, and was coping with the lack of his sidekick. But then he decided to spoil that by getting out his handbag. Smith had fouled Patterson, and the referee had awarded K's the free-kick. Instead of getting up and getting on with the game, Patto decided to get up and get on with pushing/palming Smith in the stomach. Right in front of the referee. Somehow no yellow card was shown.

Farrelly decided to show off his undoubted on-field skills when he raced to the very perimeter of his area to collect a through ball. He caught the ball before Druce could collect, was probably fouled, and then spilled the ball towards the corner flag. No free-kick was given, so the goalkeeper collected the ball, quickly beat two men and played the ball down the line.

Although Patterson wasn't booked, Simon Stewart and Gerard Little were. Little's was the most entertaining though, as he sought revenge on Marsh after the number 11 had clearly fouled Eddie twice in a minute. The referee hadn't agreed and had allowed play to go on, but had no option but to show a card when Little charged in at waist height. At this point the game was threatening to boil over, and it was with some relief that the half-time whistle came.

Foster volleyed over early on, before K's second on-target shot of the game came about via Little. It was from 25 yards, it was poor, it was saved, yet it was on target. After that, the only reason that goalkeeper Clarke had to do any bending or stretching was when he wanted a drink from the back of his goal. But somehow, although K's were playing woefully, they were still on level terms. At least they were, until Patterson decided to intervene.

Now, most people who follow K's realise that they have a small squad, and that they can ill afford injuries, let alone suspensions. If only somebody had told Patterson. The first yellow card was picked up after yet another niggly foul in the centre of the pitch. He complained, as he always does, but the referee, Mr. S.Habgood, was quite right to show the card. Just three minutes later Patto produced another foul out on the left wing. This one probably didn't deserve a card, but coming so soon after the first what can he really expect? And the thing is, he's not really a dirty player. He's just a bit dim. With a depleted squad he should be doing all that he can to help out. Instead, he's walking around doing the same as usual, and ensuring that we'll be without him over the vital Christmas period.

After the red-card it was merely a matter of when, not if, Kidderminster would score. It didn't take long. In between Eddie headed over, but it was the home side who showed that they were the better in front of goal. A left-wing cross was met by Mark Druce, and his shot was perfectly sent into the top-right hand corner of the net. It was a superb finish, and you got the feeling that it had been slightly wasted against this K's team.

Leworthy got the ball in the net just after but the goal was always going to be wiped out with the striker standing about 5 yards offside when Brown played the ball through. Marsh then did the same thing at the other end, but was booked for his troubles - proving the referee's inconsistency. Foster then should have scored when he was played clean through by Bennett, but Farrelly did well to come out and block the shot.

On 77 minutes K's threw in the towel. Chapple had already made two substitutions when he decided to replace David Leworthy with Gary Drewett - a defender. With all 3 subs on, K's had 10 men: 1 goalkeeper, 6 defenders, 2 midfielders and just 1 striker, and that a winger. Unsurprisingly they failed to create any more chances.

The second goal came with a mistake by Farrelly. He'd played very well up to this point, and was the main reason that K's were (almost) still in with a shout. Dean Bennett had the ball out on the right, cut in past Brown and shot low at the near post. Farrelly should have saved but didn't and the points were lost. There was just time for Smith to execute a disgusting foul on Mustafa, which was far worse than either of Patterson's transgressions. The referee disagreed and waved play on, and got an earful from skipper Matt Crossley for his efforts.

At the whistle K's trooped off to receive a stern telling off from Chapple no doubt. But he shouldn't really blame them. Out of the ten who were left at the end, only 6 are anything like first-teamers. Brown, Drewett, Kadi and Wingfield are surely only there to make up the numbers. New signings are desperately needed before the next game. And the only consolation to all of this is that K's have probably got enough points in the bag to be safe from relegation.

Sat 4th Dec 1999
Football Conference
Kidderminster H2
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Kenny Brown
4Matt Crossley
5Simon StewartCautioned
6Derek Allan
7Gary PattersonSent Off
8Gerard LyttleCautioned12
9Eddie Akuamoah
10David Leworthy14
11Mark Harris15
12Phil Wingfield8
13Richard Hurst
14Gary Drewett10
15Junior Kadi11
Man of the Match
Simon Stewart
Simon Stewart
Match Report By
Gary Ekins