National North – Play off eliminator
Match report Vs Boston UtdVenue: AggboroughDate: 12-05-22Att: 3921 (away fans: 408)

12-05-22 - Report - Play off eliminator - Kidderminster Harriers 1 Boston Utd 2

Harriers fail at the play off stage again

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers history in the play-offs reared it’s head once again when we fell at the first hurdle once more. Following a brilliant season it ended up as we all feared that the legs, stamina and luck would eventually run out on us. Fair play to Boston Utd though because they deserved the win and will now travel to AFC Fylde on Sunday afternoon for the semi final game. At least we’ve been saved the ‘pleasure’ of going to that awful place.

Boston came with a plan, and a midfield, while we appeared to have neither plan or creativity in the centre of the park. That was probably down to the absence of the injured Sammy Austin and nobody in reserve that would be suitable to replace him. The rest of the line-up was all Harriers first choice and should really have been capable of achieving more from the game but it wasn’t to be.

In front of a packed, and noisy crowd, expectations were high that we would come out of the blocks and take the game by the scruff of the neck. We had a couple of early chances with the best one coming from Amari Morgan-Smith when his shot from the edge of the area landed on top of the Boston net.

It did look promising but instead it was Boston who then began to dominate with their pressing game, allowing us no room at all and then playing the ball skilfully upfield through the impressive Femi Siriki. We had no answer to it and found ourselves on the backfoot far to many times and resorting to hoofball tactics to clear the ball away. Only for it to come back at us again.

We were all at sixes and sevens and that showed with the lack of communication too. With Captain Sammy missing the armband had been given to Morgan-Smith and it’s never a good choice to give it to a striker. That communication showed when Nathan Cameron and Caleb Richards went for the same ball leaving Nathan on a heap on the floor. Following initial treatment he had to leave the field for further treatment leaving us down to ten men for five minutes.

We then had another collision when Luke Simpson went up to collect a ball on the edge of the area with Scott Duxberry racing in on him. Both went to the floor with Duxberry coming off worst and having to be substituted while Simpson had some attention to his facial injury.

Boston began to apply more pressure on us and Jake Wright Jnr fluffed a chance to score when his shot hit the ground and bounced over the bar while a few minutes later Danny Elliott should have also scored but his header from a Shane Byrne cross went wide of the mark.

Again Seriki surged forwards and this time he got a shot in but could only watch it go wide of Simpsons upright. A minute later and the goal came.

Boston launched another attack on our goal and Brad Abbott got himself into a good shooting position. Simpson stopped his shot but pushed it away to what he thought would be corner only for Keenan Ferguson to scoop it off the line into the path of Elliott who tumbled the ball into the net.

With seven minutes added on to the half because of the injuries we had the chance to get back into the game but failed to do so. Maybe the rollicking they were about to get would work wonders.

HT: 0 – 1

Sadly it was more of the same. We changed our formation slightly with three at the back while Ashley Hemmings went further forward and Joe Foulkes playing slightly higher up but there was no real improvement. Hoofing aimlessly was still the order of the day.

It took until seven minutes in for the first attempt on goal. It came the Harriers way when a deep cross from Foulkes was met by Hemmings at the far post. He headed the ball down but somehow the Pilgrims keeper, Marcus Dewhurst, managed to get a hand to it and clear it away.

That seemed to wake us, and the crowd, up a bit and Geraldo Bajrami then sent a header just wide. Hope was in the air.

A couple of minutes later and we drew level. A Boston defender made a rare mistake dithering in the middle of the park and Hemmings quickly dispossessed him of the ball and made his way towards goal, drawing Dewhurst off his line and then lifted the ball over him and into the corner of his goal. The outcome of the game was now in our hands.

We had a free kick, quite a way from goal so too far for an Omari Sterling-James special but he had a try anyway and the ball flew towards goal but just too wide, much to Dewhursts relief.

Then it was all over. The Harriers dream crumbled in a split second of two further mis-communications.

Bajrami played the ball out to Keziah Martin but he lost it too easily and Jake Wright Jnr swooped onto his error to take the ball into the area. His cross should have been easily saved by Simpson but instead Alex Penny tried to play it back to him and the ball looped into the air with Simpson trying to stop it from rolling over the line but failing.

Harriers heads dropped and so did the heads of the Harrier fans while the Boston fans had a disco. Boston could have increased the lead further through Seriki when his shot rolled across the front of the goal as did Hemmings chance for us soon after. Sterling had another free kick that went wide again. Seriki had another chance that Simpson saved and that was about it.

Time ran out and so did our season. One of so much hope up until those FA Cup games and then one of wondering what was going wrong, with our form since then being mid-table to relegation standard. We need to accept that we’ll now lose a few important players like Bajrami and Cameron now but we also have to chance to strengthen wisely. That means someone to play alongside, or support Morgan-Smith and also to increase the squad side with better quality player that could step in when injuries occur.

We’ve had some good moments and memories this season though and we almost made it. Truth is we’d only miss going to Farsley, Alfreton and Blyth if we had got promoted. Wouldn’t have missed Hereford though.

FT: 1 – 2

Goal for Harriers: Hemmings 65

Goals for Boston Utd: Elliott 45, Penny 76 (og)

The Harriers Online MotM is: Joe Foulkes

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Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Penny Own Goal      
Sterling-James   84  
Freemantle   84  
Boston Utd Goals Subs Time Cards
Duxberry   22
Wright Snr        
Wright Jnr   78  
Ferguson   22  
Massanka   78  
Mr Aaron Bannister