Date: 05-09-20The Harriers lose the first friendlyReport: Harriershane

05-09-20 - Friendly - The Harriers lose the first friendly

After nigh on seven months the Harriers were finally back in action as they travelled to local Step 6 side Bilston Town, who were well into their pre-season preparations.

Manager Russ Penn opted to field two separate sides in each halves, pre agreed, with Jaiden White playing both halves. Also in the first half side were three trialists, including a goalkeeper, plus new signings Luke Maxwell, Lewis Montrose and Amari Morgan-Smith.

Bilston’s Josh Thomas was the first to try and test the goalkeeper, as the trialist turned his shot over the bar. The first Harriers sighter was sent forth by Alex Prosser, following Morgan-Smith winning the ball back deep in Bilston territory.

The first fifteen minutes of the game saw some snap in some tackles, getting feisty at periods, culminating in the withdrawal of Koby Arthur following a late tackle that looked to cause an ankle injury. The word is that it’s ended up being more precautionary than anything, but he was certainly limping in the immediate aftermath.

Academy prospect James Dutton, pencilled in for the second half, came on in his place. The half began to peter out in a ten minute period with not a lot happening in truth, save for another Thomas effort that was dealt with. Just after the half hour mark Bilston took the lead and predictably, it was Thomas again as he bent an effort goalwards after cutting in. It appeared to take a deflection off Keith Lowe which took it past the trialist goalkeeper’s desperate dive.

HT: 1-0

The second half side saw the introduction of, among others, Ashley Hemmings, Tom Palmer and a couple more Academy prospects and trialists as Harriers looked to get back into the game. One player who seemed to always be in the thick of all things going forward for Harriers was Jaiden White, showcasing his repertoire of tricks. Just before the hour mark he drove forward again but his shot was wild on this occasion.

The home side weren’t to be overawed though and began to come back at Harriers again, almost doubling their lead from a corner before also being denied smartly by Tom Palmer moments later. Sandwiched between that was a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box for Harriers which was sadly bent over the left post by Hemmings.

With fifteen minutes to go the game was over as a contest. The old Harriers Achilles heel, set pieces, reared their ugly head again as Town lofted a free kick deep into the area which was nodded back across goal and turned in by Jordan Kaye.

The Bilston goal was never really threatened after the second goal, save for a stinging effort from Hemmings again which was palmed over by the home sub keeper. Once the corner had been dealt with the match referee called full time on the first game of Harriers’ 2020/21 season. Just three more Saturdays to go until competitive football returns then…

Harriers 1st half: Player A, Maxwell, Lowe, Player B, Player C, Austin, Prosser, Montrose, White, Arthur (Dutton), Morgan-Smith.

Harriers 2nd half: Palmer, Penny, Taylor, Dutton, Tolley, Stratford, Kellermann, White, Player B, Hemmings, Freemantle.

FT : 2 – 0