Venue: Kingfield Date: 05-03-24 Woking FC 2 Harriers 1 Att: 2115 (away fans: 175)

05-03-24. Woking FC 2 Kidderminster Harriers 1. Match report

19th to 23rd in the blink of an eye

Report: Phil Lench

A much changed Harriers defence couldn’t save us from defeat at Woking FC tonight. With Alex Penny out through injury, Krystian Pearce missing suspended and the long term injury to Matt Preston we were a bit thin on the ground in that department so it meant a first start for loanee Cole Kpekawa and a possibly too early return from injury for Nathaniel Knight-Percival. One has to feel for Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain left on the bench again while an injured player takes his hoped for chance.

As it was the game was played out on an almost perfect pitch that showed no signs of the rain saturation that saw the original game called off on Saturday morning.

Within three minutes of the start the hosts thought they had taken the lead when a scramble in the goalmouth ended with substitute Ricky Korboa forcing the ball over the line but then saw it ruled out for offside. Korboa had come on in the third minute of the game following a hamstring injury for Louis Walker.

From that moment on the Harriers pulled themselves together and took charge of the game. The reward came in the eleventh minute when we took the lead through Jack Lambert. We had already tested Will Jaaskelainen in the home goal a couple of times but he stood no chance with the curling shot from Jack direct from a Woking clearance following a corner that had pinged around the area. Most on the pitch had been expecting a cross back into the area but Jack fooled them all with his superb, well taken goal.

The goal shot us up the table to nineteenth place for the first time since early September when we drew 1-1 at home to Rochdale. He had a chance to double his tally minutes later but his shot from the edge of the area went over the bar while Zak Browns shot was on the weak side and Jaaskelainen collected easily.

We began to sit back a bit and worryingly allow Woking more of the ball but thankfully our ad hoc defence stood strong and kept any danger safely away. Ashley Hemmings had the last chance of the half for us when his shot across the box was watched by the keeper to safety.

HT: 0 – 1

To be honest the second half was rubbish from us and there’s very little of a positive slant to write about.

From the passing game employed by us in the first half we had reverted to the hoof it over the top tactics of the pre Phil Brown era. It wasn’t good to watch although Woking fans would probably say that they had come back out intent on winning the game and had forced us into such tactics but I got the impression it had been employed to protect our thin lead due to our already tiring defence.

Woking were still not capitalising on the chances they were being given though and it took until the seventieth minute for them to test Christian Dibble in the Harriers goal when he flew across goal to keep out Jayden Lukers fierce shot from just inside the area. We responded with a free kick taken by Lambert but, with it looking about to enter the net, Jaaskelainen somehow got down to it and pushed the ball away for a corner.

The warnings were now starting to come and we needed to be strong to keep the hosts from scoring. Sadly that wasn’t to be and instead it was a calamitous comedy error that gifted Woking the equalising goal. What should have been an easily defended free kick was curled around the two man wall by Curtis Edwards and headed straight to the waiting Dibble for what should have been an easy save. There was no power on the kick but Dibble fumbled the ball, dropped it and then allowed it to roll between his legs and into the goal.

Totally inexcusable for a professional goalkeeper at any level and not just this!  

A few minutes later Jack was subbed off for Regan Griffiths and that meant that our only attacking outlet had gone that could possibly have got us back into the lead. Amari Morgan-Smith and Hemmings had shown very little attacking intent and neither had Gold Omotayo when he had come on for Sam Bellis ten minutes previously. 

With the time now running down the best we could hope for was the draw and that would have been a fair reflection of the game but, no, we were about to throw it all away.

With the Harriers makeshift defence at sixes and sevens Korboa broke into the area and Knight-Percival naively decided to push him in the back for a very soft penalty. Do some of these footballers actually have a brain? At first the referee ignored the offence but his assistant kept flagging until he changed his mind and awarded the penalty. Charley Kendall stepped up to take the spot kick and struck it well but Dibble threw his arms up and steered the ball into the air right above him, not behind. The ball came back down and Kendall was the first there to nod it over the line for their winning goal.

We had gone from nineteenth in the table back down to twenty third in the blink of an eye.

FT: 2 – 1

Goals for Woking FC: Edwards 75, Kendall 90

Goal for Harriers: Lambert 11

The Harriers Online MotM is: Jack Lambert

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Woking FCGoalsSubsTimeCards
Akinola 56 
Walker 3 
Korboa 3
Kelly-Evans 92 
Luker 56 
Byrne 91
Bellis 68 
Griffiths 81 
Omotayo 68 
Emmanuel-Thomas 91 
Mr Aji Ajibola