FA Cup 1st round
Match report Vs Grimsby Town Venue: Aggborough Date: 06-11-21 Att: 2799 (away fans: 921)

06-11-21 - Report - FA Cup 1st Rd - Kidderminster Harriers 1 Grimsby Town 0

The Harriers taste FA Cup Magic

Report: Harriershane

Take That once sung “Could It Be Magic?” {Ed: Barry Manilow had a hit with it first. Just saying} Whether it was in relation to the FA Cup only the gentlemen involved could tell us but to paraphrase another musical giant, there was something in the air tonight as Harriers put Grimsby Town of the National League to the sword in front of a rocking Aggborough.

Paul Hurst’s men featured a few of the standout players from the last game we saw of them, against Bromsgrove Sporting; Sebastian Revan and Will Bapaga amongst them. For Harriers, as expected, Keith Lowe came in for the suspended Geraldo Bajrami and promptly showed everybody that he has, in fact, still got it with a top draw performance.

With the wind in Grimsby’s favour in the first half you would expect the higher graded visitors to grab the early initiative but, aside from a couple of promising situations that faded out, it was actually Harriers who had the first chance of the game with keeper Max Crocombe saving smartly from an Amari Morgan-Smith header. The forward was at it again a couple of minutes later lashing a vicious effort into the side netting after a Sam Austin ball over the top.

As expected, The Mariners would create a couple of chances and with a quarter of an hour gone Ben Fox sent an effort straight at Luke Simpson before Will Bapaga saw a low effort saved.

Halfway through the first half Alex Penny found himself in an advanced position looking for his second goal in as many games but he wasn’t able to connect with a fine cross from the left hand side. Even so the Harriers seemed to start to grow in confidence, as did the fans in the stands who started to sense that Harriers could spring an upset.

The game descended into a scrappy affair with half an hour played but Harriers’ desire and application was faultless throughout, rarely giving their opponents a moment’s rest. Grimsby did end the half on the front foot, with Fox again failing to test Simpson with a couple of efforts from range whilst a Revan free kick wouldn’t cause any undue hassle for Harriers and their fans.

HT: 0 – 0

It wouldn’t be a shock to suggest that The Mariners would start quickly on the assumption that Hurst would have read his side the riot act at half time and, true to form, the Harriers were placed firmly on the back foot. A Michael Efete low, fired cross was claimed by Simpson before Luke Waterfall, formerly of Shrewsbury Town, snatched an effort wide from close range following a corner. A centre half’s finish, indeed.

The visitors’ momentum was quelled somewhat by their own players with a couple of players going down after rather innocuous looking situations at a time where they were firmly on top. The Harriers took advantage of this and began to fire back in a game that, despite being goalless at this stage, was an entertaining affair throughout with equal measures of tension, scrappiness and quality.

With an hour played Omari Sterling-James lined up a free kick from thirty five yards out after a foul on Ashley Hemmings. He tried to recreate his Cristiano Ronaldo-esque free kick from last week, against Spennymoor Town, but this time Crocombe was equal to it.

Back up the other end, in front of the 900+ travelling fans, substitute Lenell John-Lewis saw a shot blocked from a corner. The delivery was dangerous again, with Waterfall its intended target, but again the defender couldn’t find the target. Was it to be Harriers day?

Almost immediately it was nearly 1-0 as Caleb Richards, Sam Austin, Mark Carrington and Morgan-Smith all had efforts on goal blocked one after the other. Perhaps waking the visitors up again the ex-Hereford FC striker John-Lewis saw another chance come his way, this time Simpson was swiftly out to make a save before Michael Efete struck the post after a swift breakaway.

With seventy two minutes played though it happened. On as a sub, Ethan Freemantle brought down a ball superbly under pressure from two defenders. His touch was true, before a sharp turn forced Waterfall into a decision; let him shoot or try and get something on it? He got something on Freemantle instead and referee Garreth Rhodes showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. It felt like he hesitated though!

Talking of hesitation we know that’s how Hemmings loves to take his penalties. Harriers fans can be forgiven for having a sky high heart rate as he ambled up to the ball but there really was nothing to worry about as he sent Crocombe the wrong way to spark delirium inside Aggborough. It just had to be in front of the North Stand, didn’t it?

So far then we’ve had a first half wind and a “plucky underdog”. Clearly the FA Cup Cliche Machine hadn’t been duly satisfied so the final fifteen minutes or so of the game was played out in a strong wind which played havoc with the ball in the air.

The Harriers did a great job of defending resolutely, again limiting Town to very few chances. Keith Lowe, Nathan Cameron and Alex Penny getting everything and anything on the ball, whilst Elliott Bonds showed why Russ Penn brought him in as he battled nonstop throughout.

With a couple of minutes to play there were some appeals for a penalty by Grimsby, more out of hope than expectation. There was enough time left for some more heart murmurs as the fourth official indicated five minutes of injury time but Harriers settled those nerves as they saw the extra time off professionally to spark wild scenes on the full time whistle.

That result sends Harriers into Monday night’s draw on a day where there appeared to have been very few upsets. With no new teams entering the competition until the Third Round attention now turns to the question of who we want in the Second Round.

It’s an interesting one, but let’s enjoy tonight.

FT: 1 – 0

Goal for Harriers: Hemmings 71 (pen)

The Harriers Online MotM is: Keith Lowe

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Morgan-Smith   64
Hemmings 79  
Martin   79  
Freemantle   64  
Grimsby Town Goals Subs Time Cards
Waterfall   74  
Bapaga   60  
John-Lewis   60  
Grant   74  
Mr Garreth Rhodes