FA Trophy 4th round
Venue: Aggborough Date: 13-01-24 Harriers 0 Altrincham 0 (4-2 pens) Att: 1658 (away fans: 250)

13-01-24. FA Trophy 4th rd. Kidderminster Harriers 0 Altrincham 0 (4-2 pens). Match report

Christian Dibble. The penalty maestro

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers progressed into the next (5th) round of the FA Trophy today but at times it was looking very unlikely that would happen. A last gasp penalty for Altrincham in added on time looked to make it all over for us but a great save by Christian Dibble from Chris Conn-Clarke saved our blushes. Dibs then went on in the penalty shoot out to save twice more (including a second Con-Clarke effort) to put us through 4-2 on penalties.

It was Jimmy O’Connors final game as assistant manager for us as he follows Russ Penn out of the door on Monday. He went with a typical Penn/O’Connor lineup with a lone striker up front and one hopes that will change with the arrival of the new manager Phil Brown. We’ll see when his first choice team lineup against Aldershot Town next Saturday.

It was Gold Omotayo as the chosen lone striker but to be honest he’s going to have to do more than he did today if he hopes to impress Brown who was watching his new charges from the stand. The remainder of the lineup was much as we’ve seen in past weeks apart from a surprise inclusion of Kai Lissimore.

The first half of the game was poor servings for those in attendance with very little goalmouth action or any sign of cohesion in midfield for us. Alty on the other hand seemed to be well drilled with far better passing and pressurising than us. It showed the gap between their fifth place in the table and our twenty fourth and we weren’t seeing much of the confidence or impressing that we had hoped for.

Matters weren’t helped in the sixth minute when Sam Robinson went off with a suspected hamstring injury and we had to undergo an early change when Reiss McNally came on for him and moved into the full back position whereas we were expecting Alex Penny to drop back into there with McNally going into central defence giving us a better balance.

Two chances fell our way with Jack Lambert and Ashley Hemmings both testing Ethan Ross in the Alty goal but not testing him too much. Hemming’s had a second chance soon after with a better effort, but again, Ross saved well. The visitors had their chance through Matty Kosylo when he tried his luck from distance but Dibble saved easily enough. 

The closest chance for either side came when Alex Newby sent in a powerful distance strike but for some reason known only to himself Dibble ducked as the ball smashed against the crossbar and over. Bizarre and one that we’ll have to see again on the highlights video.

Justin Amaluzor had a late chance to score just before the break but his header went well over the bar.

HT: 0 – 0

The second half was by far better for us as we came out with a little more purpose than seen in the first half. We still didn’t look too great in front of the goal but the passing was better if not so much the pressuring. Hemmings seemed more up for it too although he did waste three good chances to score. 

Shane Byrne saw an early header go wide while Newby saw his shot on the angle go into the side netting. The second change for us came soon after when the home fans had their first sighting of Owen Hesketh, our new loan signing from Wolves. He started well but faded a little towards the end of the game although it was his pass into the box that eventually set up Hemmings to try his luck only for Ross to save his weak shot easily.

Dibble atoned for his laxness earlier when his double save from Dior Angus’s piledriver saw him go down to smother the ball but it rolled away and he then kicked it away with his feet for McNally to clear the danger but give a corner away.

With time trickling away and penalties looking likely Altrincham thought they had come early when they were awarded a penalty. Dibble had gone out to clear a ball away from the feet of Conn-Clarke but went to ground outside the area and pushed the ball away with his hands when it would have made more sense to clear with his feet. It was Conn-Clarke that stepped up to take to spot kick but his Hemmings like run up ended with a week shot that Dibble saved easily.

The inevitable penalties ensued and with the visitors winning the toss they elected to have them taken at their fans end. Shane Byrne stepped up to take ours and converted well but with Conn-Clarke deciding on a confidence boosting first kick for them he failed miserably again, and again, Dibble saved easily. Amari Morgan-Smith stepped up for us next and scored while Newby took the honours for them and converted his too. 2-1 up

The next taker for us was Caleb Richards somewhat surprisingly but took his well and smashed it home followed by Elliott Osborne who did likewise. Our first miss came from Gold who fired in weakly to allow Ross to save equally easily. 3-2 up

The last Altrincham taker was Lewis Banks and again Dibble saved so it was all down to the next Harriers taker. That would be Lambert and, with the good luck back pats from his colleagues he stepped up to take a perfect penalty to put his side through to the next round and give Alty an early exit. 4-2 win

FT: 0 – 0

Penalties for Harriers: Byrne , Morgan-Smith , Richards , Omotayo , Lambert

Penalties for Altrincham: Conn-Clarke , Newby , Osborne , Banks

The Harriers Online MotM is: Christian Dibble

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Robinson 6 
Lissimore 60 
Hemmings 81 
McNally 6 
Morgan-Smith 81 
Hesketh 60 
Brockbank 65 
Kosylo 72 
Angus 79 
E Jones 65 
Linney 79 
Conn-Clarke 72 
Mr Farai Hallam