Venue: Aggborough Date: 13-04-24 Harriers 0 Eastleigh FC 1 Att: 3189 (away fans: 157)

13-04-24. Kidderminster Harriers 0 Eastleigh FC 1. Match report

A valiant effort but we’re back down to the armpit of non-league football

Report: Phil Lench

We’ve all lived in hope that we’ll avoid the dreaded relegation since the arrival of Phil Brown back in January but that hope ended today with this defeat at home, once again, to Eastleigh FC. Just the one chance for them was enough and it’s no shame that it was scored by the best striker in non-league football, Paul McCallum.

If only we had a striker like him we could still be here to fight another day but instead we have strikers that have failed continually in finding the back of the net and today was no different. A howler of a miss from Gold Omotayo that if it had gone in could have been the inspiration that we need to go and grab a winner but it wasn’t to be. Next week in our final game at Barnet FC we might, hopefully, see a couple of goals but it’s doubtful.

In front of another good sized crowd we kicked off with the intention of going for it. We had an early chance but Ashley Hemmings took his usual decision to try and scored from the bye line and the ball ended up in the side netting. A better chance came the way of Charlie Weston when the ball was recycled to him and his powerful shot back in swerved narrowly the wrong side of the upright.

We really were going for it but the Spitfires defenders were standing up well and also doubling up on Jack Lambert and Amari Morgan-Smith to deny them the chance to cross and the finish. Lambert was still finding room to put some telling crosses in though but they came to nothing.

Our effort and possession came to nothing though when on the half hour Eastleigh scored with their first chance of the game. Jake Vokins made his way down the left wing and sent in a cross straight onto an undefended McCallum’s head. He rose high above everyone and he powered in a goal of Premier quality beyond Christian Dibble and into the top left corner of the goal.

Undeterred we tried to find a way back into the game but, as usual, came painfully short without a further chance on goal. the only real action came from Eastleighs Ludwig Francillette who saw his shot go just wide of the goal.  

HT: 0 – 1

The second half was more intense for us as we came out of the dressing room with an obviously stern talking to. The only problem was that the Eastleigh manager Kelvin Davies must have given his men a similar talking too that would have included a memo to snuff out the danger from Lambert. He rarely got a look in early on in the half and it wasn’t until later he shook the attention off. He did get one chance to score but his shot five minutes into the half was easily saved by Joe McDonnell.

With the first of the substitutions underway it was Oscar Rutherford who came on first for Eastleigh and almost scored with his first touch of the ball when his shot from range forced Christian Dibble into a blocked save.

Our raft of changes involved the removal of  Weston, Sam Robinson and Regan Griffiths from the field of play in exchange for Zak Brown, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Omotayo as we moved into a more attacking mode. AMS had a decent chance to score from a corner but messed up as the ball got stuck under his feet.

It didn’t help our cause as the Spitfires keeper then began to play out of his skin to deny us chance after chance. First another Lambert shot was pushed out for a corner. Three of which we failed to take advantage of. Then came the shocking season defining miss from Gold that he somehow scooped over the bar from a yard out and only the keeper to beat. A superb, and strong shot, from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was parried away to be cleared upfield soon after.

Zak Brown had a couple of weak shots that would cause the visitors little distress and then, with the relegation timebomb ticking down came a goalmouth scramble that looked almost certain to produce a goal for us but somehow it failed to go in and was eventually cleared away to safety once again. In the final seconds we finally got the ball into the net when, again, a bit of a scramble from a corner ended up in the net but the linesman had already spotted an offside and the life saving goal was ruled out.

The final whistle blew and that was the sign that our short and less than sweet time back in the highest echelons of non league football was over no sooner than it had began. The hints have been coming from Phil Brown that he wants to stay with us to get us back up again. I’m all for that because he’s sure to clear out most of the inherited dross from this club and, hopefully, bring some far better players in to achieve that. 

We now have to chance to finish the season on a high next week at Barnet and with them having a guaranteed second place finish they now have nothing to play for and might even roll over foor us. Fat chance of that but you never know how good it would be to go out with a win. 

FT: 0 – 1

Goal for Eastleigh: McCallum 32

The Harriers Online MotM is: Jack Lambert

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Robinson 65
Griffiths 63 
Weston 71
Oxlade-Chamberlain 65 
Brown 71 
Omotayo 63 
Eastleigh FCGoalsSubsTimeCards
Reeves 60 
Quigley 87 
Martin 87 
Rutherford 60 
Mr Callum Walchester