|FA Cup 1st round
|Venue: Aggborough Date: 05-11-23 Harriers 1 Fleetwood Town 2 Att: 2496 (away fans: 119)
Harriers exit the FA Cup with a whimper
Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers FA Cup journey came to an end against Fleetwood Town today when they gifted the visitors an equalising goal and then the team, as a whole, failed to turn up for the second half much to the annoyance of some of the home support. We had opened the scoring through Bailey Hobson just minutes before the break then a calamitous error from Christian Dibble allowed Fleetwood to draw level a minute later.
We had started the game strongly with just the one change to the starting eleven that was named for the Chesterfield game last Saturday. Reiss McNally was missing due to a red card so Hobson replaced him following the permission given by Chesterfield for him to play. Also allowed to play was Ryan McLean who was kindly given clearance to play by his club, AFC Wimbledon.
It was the Reds that started the strongest but Fleetwood weren’t easy to break down, showing their quality for a team two divisions above us. Amari Morgan-Smith had our first chance, his only chance, to score in the eighth minute but his shot was well wide of the mark.
Fleetwood also had their only chance early on when Phoenix Patterson did well to beat his man and pick out Josh Vela at the back post, but his header went across the goal and out at the other side of the far post.
Later on in the half, as they began to get on top, Promise Omochere (if only we could have signed Miracle Okafor from Halesowen Town) had a chance to open the scoring from only a couple of yards out but he was unable to find the back of the net, before Patterson had a chance of his own soon after, but that was dragged wide of the near post.
Then against the run of play we took an all to brief lead. Zak Brown played the ball out to McLean and the Wimbledon loanee picked out, the clear on goal, Bailey Hobson in the centre of the area to calmly slot the ball home to send the Harriers fans into raptures. Two minutes before the break was an ideal time to score. Or was it?
For some reason scoring the goal somehow saw us lose concentration and almost straightaway the visitors went up the other end and scored. Patterson sent in a corner onto the head of the tall Josh Earl in the box, he got the highest to guide his header downwards. Dibble got down there too but then fumbled his claim to the ball, not once but twice, as the ball rolled underneath him and into the net. The goal was met with a deathly silence from both sets of fans but that could be because their fans were deathly quiet anyway.
HT: 1 – 1
Within a minute of the re-start it was game and Cup journey over. Again we fell asleep as Fleetwood surged towards our goal and Patterson played the ball to Earl who lofted the ball over our defenders for the dangerous Shaun Rooney to head the ball home.
We weren’t seen as an attacking force following that and even the five substitutions made saw no difference in our approach to the game and we just stood by and watched the visitors control the remainder of the game.
The disappointing Jack Marriott fluffed a chance to score while Ben Heneghan came close to scoring but Dibble redeemed himself with an excellent save at the foot of the post. Marriott had a late effort saved and that, basically, was it.
In total we had just the one shot on goal that we scored and two other chances that sadly I’m failing to recall. AMS never got close to their goal following his early chance and to be honest if Russ Penn cannot see that he’s a spent force then maybe he should step aside and give someone else a chance to manage and hopefully bring a more mobile and more alert young striker in.
In midfield we look well off the pace and we can’t wait for the return of Shane Byrne and Joe Leesley to spark something to life in there. If something doesn’t happen soon then we can wave an early goodbye to our time back in the National League.
FT: 1 – 2
Goal for Harriers: Hobson 44
Goals for Fleetwood: Earl 45+1, Rooney 46
The Harriers Online MotM is: Bailey Hobson
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|Mr Matthew Corlett