Match report Vs York City Venue: LNER Community Stadium Date: 14-08-21 Att: 2019 (away fans: 105)

14-08-21 - Report - York City 1 Kidderminster Harriers 2

Harriers spoil the City fans Big Day Out

Report: Harriershane

The new National League North season began in earnest on Saturday with the Harriers making the trip to York City’s new LNER Community Stadium in what was the first game with fans at the venue. Steve Watson’s men had had an impressive pre-season, albeit tempered by a couple of long term injuries and had plenty of cause for optimism having been installed as title favourites by the bookmakers.

For this game a Harriers win was priced as wide as 4/1 so Russ Penn’s side, backed by a healthy away following, would be expected to be up against it. With Amari Morgan-Smith carrying over a five game ban from last season, which was null and voided by the way, the conversation turned to who would lead the line. That honour was bestowed upon Ethan Freemantle, with the other talking point being Keziah Martin preferred to Lewis Montrose.

For York the Harrogate Town loanee Mark Beck was joined up top by fellow giant and golden oldie, Clayton Donaldson, as well as Kurt Willoughby.

The game was barely two minutes old when Harriers, attacking the home fans first half, had the first sighter of goal when Freemantle glanced a teasing Ashley Hemmings cross wide of the post. York’s first shot of the campaign came from another one of their experienced squad members, the seemingly evergreen Paddy McLaughlin, who fired well over.

As the game settled down it was Harriers who were arguably on top, with Keith Lowe and especially Nathan Cameron dealing with the hosts’ aerial assault well. With twenty two minutes played the deadlock was broken in destructive fashion. Sam Austin was released in behind the York defence and fired across a perfect low ball towards the back post where Hemmings was arriving to fire home from close range and spark celebrations amongst the travelling faithful.

The setback seemed to wake York up somewhat and they should have been on level terms after half an hour but Donaldson’s header, which was destined for the bottom corner, was somehow clawed away at full stretch by Luke Simpson, himself a former Minsterman. Two minutes later Simpson reprised his role as Superman again denying Donaldson against the odds.

Beck would be the next to try his luck, meeting a cross from the right with some real force, but fortunately his header flashed wide of the post. Having weathered the storm the Harriers were presented with a great chance as Omari Sterling-James was released, but his low effort was denied by the outstretched leg of Pete Jameson.

HT: 0 – 1

The second half was barely a minute old when York found their equaliser; Michael Duckworths expert cross field ball finding debutant Mackenzie Heaney, who fired a half volley past Simpson into the far corner.

The opening quarter of an hour of the second half belonged exclusively to the hosts who were getting a lot more joy after Beck had looked to target young Joe Foulkes, having not had much joy from Cameron and Lowe in the first half.

One of many balls played forward aerially dropped towards the far post in the fifty third minute, and with a home shirt having turned it goalwards, the turnaround looked like it would be complete. Enter Keith Lowe who somehow got something on it from practically underneath his crossbar. The resulting corner saw a scramble, finishing with Donaldson’s close range effort which missed the target.

In an attempt to help his young right back out and nullify the threat of Beck, Alex Penny replaced Sterling-James. This would be a key change with the former Boston man helping to regain a bit of control for Harriers.

A rare foray forward for the Harriers saw a corner awarded on the hour and to the surprise of everyone it was Foulkes on the edge of the box who it was played to but his attempt was high, wide and not at all handsome. Genius had it worked though.

Next to try his luck was Sam Austin who forced a save at his near post from Jameson. Moments later Ethan Freemantle found himself in a great position but the ball was taken away from him just as he was about to pull the trigger, much to the youngster’s frustration. That would be his last action as Nyal Bell came on to make his debut and almost make the most immediate of impacts as his cross found Caleb Richards but the effort was somewhat tame and straight at Jameson.

Perhaps looking to see the game out Lewis Montrose replaced Hemmings with around fifteen minutes to go, slotting in alongside Mark Carrington and Keziah Martin. Again the changes seemed to be working as Harriers were back in the game despite the seemingly frantic tempo that a desperate York side were playing at.

Bell had a great chance to win it, six yards out, but could only fire straight at Jameson after showing excellent composure and technique to perform a dragback that took two defenders out of the game. Had he have finished it, it would have been a worthy winner. Talking of winners step up Sam Austin.

Everyone of a Harriers persuasion knows the threat he possesses from range but we won’t complain at the help he received in this case; his effort from around twenty five yards out taking a huge deflection that sent Jameson the wrong way and eventually found the corner after what seemed like an eternity played out in slow motion. Cue pandemonium in the away end.

Harriers were stout defensively despite what seemed like a never ending amount of stoppage time played by the match referee, who eventually called for full time after roughly six minutes of extra time.

The first road trip since that goalless draw with Gateshead on a stormy February afternoon in 2019 and what a win against the odds this was. It may only be the first game of the season but Harriers showed plenty of steel which has been sorely lacking in recent years.

To a man it would be difficult to rate anybody beneath a 7/10 but I have to reserve praise for Nathan Cameron. In Beck and Donaldson this should’ve been a baptism of fire but the former Bury et al man was imperious, either winning his duels or doing enough in a losing duel to prevent the attacker from taking advantage of it, and it is for that reason that he is my Harriers Online Man of the Match.

FT: 1 – 2

Goal for York City: Heaney 46

Goals for Harriers: Hemmings 21, Austin 86

The Harriers Online MotM is: Nathan Cameron

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

York City Goals Subs Time Cards
Dyson   63  
Heaney 88  
Woods   63  
Hopper   88  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Freemantle   72  
Hemmings 78  
Sterling-James   54  
Penny   54  
Montrose   78  
Bell   72  
Mr Michael Barlow