Date: 13-05-20The season in review. Part 2By Harriershane

13-05-20 - Opinion - The season in review. Part 2

The 2020 part of the season began at Edgar Street with high hopes that Harriers could do the double over their rivals but it was the Bulls that took the spoils.

The first home game of the new decade was against Blyth Spartans who won the game with an unbelievable effort from Lewis Hawkins. It was also Keith Lowe’s first game back as the veteran centre back returned to Harriers for a third time from Bradford (Park Avenue). A hard fought home game with Spennymoor Town followed with the former West Brom youngster, and Pakistan international, Samir Nabi, signing for us permanently while Austin Samuels joined us on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Russ Penn
Russ Penn
It’s all in his hands now

The main talking point at Aggborough though were the revelations made by owners Richard Lane and Neil Male at a fans forum midweek, where, among other things they confirmed a transfer embargo had been in place for a significant period of time at the end of the Colin Gordon reign.

Towards the end of January it was announced that Richard Peniket was to retire from football due to personal issues and an accumulation of injuries. I said the season was a rollercoaster didn’t I!

Back to back away games followed as the Harriers fell to defeat at the end of January in freezing cold, windswept, Boston before they caused a shock at the start of February defeating title-chasing Kings Lynn Town 0-2 and so ending their excellent thirty four game unbeaten home run in the process.

The Darlington, Farsley Celtic and Gateshead games yielded a win at Farsley sandwiched between two draws as Harriers hauled themselves away from trouble. On the morning of the Farsley game came more backroom news. Jimmy Shan decided to up sticks and move, it was announced. It emerged later that Solihull Moors was to be his new destination following the shock sacking of Tim Flowers. Russ Penn would once more step into the breach.

Richard Forsyth
Richard Forsyth
Back at the club with a high flying rolé

The first home game of the second Penn reign of the season was against high-flying York City, who won by a single goal following an error from new signing Alex Penny on debut. What we didn’t know then, was that it would prove to be the final home game of the season. The final game was up at Southport where Ashley Hemmings struck from distance to see the season out with a 1-2 win.

The season was, of course, curtailed by the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, with the National League opting to end the season with immediate effect. At the time of writing we are still to hear about the fate of the season; will it be decided by Points Per Game or be declared Null and Void? In any case Harriers will end the season in 16th place, or 15th under the PPG model.

Just a bit of housekeeping to round this review off.

In the weeks following the end of the season the Harriers announced that Russ Penn had been given the manager’s job permanently, to be assisted by Jimmy O’Connor in a move that was widely supported.

The released/retained list was also published. We say thank you and goodbye to contracted players Harry Higginson, Brandon Diau, Declan Weeks, Samir Nabi, Ryan Johnson, Reiss Taylor-Randle, Correy Davidson, Lewis Miccio and Knory Scott. Also leaving the club were loanees Will Mannion, Rhys Williams, Ollie Shenton and Austin Samuels.

It was announced that Jaiden White, Milan Butterfield, Alex Prosser, Keith Lowe, Ashley Chambers, Ed Williams and Tom Palmer had all entered into discussions for next season with a view to joining Alex Penny, Sam Austin, Jim Kellermann, Ashley Hemmings, Ethan Freemantle and Harriers Online Player of the Season Cliff Moyo, who are already contracted for the new campaign.

It was also announced that club legend Richard Forsyth had returned to the club in a Director of Football role, providing a link between the first team and the Academy.

Now we just have to sit and wait to see if there will be 2020/21 review this time next year or if it will be just a 2021 review due to the season possibly not starting again until next January. Oh what a mess this is.

Photo © KHFC & BFC

Part 1 can be found here