|FA Cup 4th qualifying round
|Venue: Aggborough Date: 14-10-23 Harriers 2 Ashton Utd 0 Att: 2064 (away fans: 121)
Harriers in the hat for the next round of the cup
Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers progressed to the 1st round proper of the FA Cup today when they were victorious against an Ashton Utd side that had former Harriers keeper, Luke Simpson, to thank for keeping us down to just two goals. Truth said we were still profligate in front of goal but a lesser keeper would have stood less of a chance keeping the score down.
The two second half goals from Ashley Hemmings came in quick succession and broke the hearts of the visitors but it was no more than we deserved in giving us the dubious distinction of being our biggest win of the season.
In addition to Simpson Ashton also bought another former Harrier with them but he was less welcome than Luke. Nathan Lowe was their captain for the game and seemed to be on a bit of a personal mission of retribution. Within a few minutes of the game starting he got himself booked for a reckless tackle and warned again a few minutes later for another, similar, challenge. He then got injured twenty minutes later and the Ashton manager used that as an excuse to drag him off.
With Keiran Phillips starting his first game in ages and Reiss McNally back from injury it was the Harriers that took the game to our guests. Apart from an early tester from Marcus Cusani it was the Harriers in full control. Amari Morgan-Smith had a shot blocked while Phillips tested Simpson twice in a short space of time when he got onto the end of an excellent Sam Robinson cross to try and bundle the ball over the line only to see it smothered by our former keeper and then a few minutes later he got a proper shot off that Luke, somehow, flipped over the bar.
He made an error soon after though when he miskicked the ball with AMS lurking but Dan Cowan was in quickly to clean up the error. Simpson was in action again soon after when Barry Maguire found acres of space on the right of the area to fire in a volley back from the deep cross that Simpson had pushed away. Hemmings was next up but his left footed shot was wayward and Simpson had the easy task of watching it go out wide.
Phillips had a couple more chances towards the end of the forty five but Simpson was there again to keep his side in contention.
In the final minute of the half Sean Newton, formerly of York City, tried his luck in beating Christian Dibble but Maguire was there to clear the ball off the line.
HT: 0 – 0
The second half got underway with a warm welcome to Simpson from the Harriers fans in the North Stand. Bit of a shame that welcome got ruined by the idiots later on treating him with dis-respect.
It was a quiet ten minutes for both sides that lead to Zak Brown becoming our first change of the day when he replaced the disappointing Gerry McDonagh out wide. He bought a little more life to the game but it took a further ten minutes for the Harriers to reap the benefit from the change. Hemmings managed to find space for himself while being crowded by Ashton defenders and, seeing a slight gap to aim for, he sent in a swerving, curving chip into the top left corner of the goal giving Simpson no chance of saving.
His first goal of the season became his second soon after when he met Caleb Richards teasing cross at the far post to flick the ball home with his head and in doing so put us into the next round of the FA Cup.
We could have added to the scoreline through AMS but the two goals was enough. There was a late scare towards the end when Louis Potts put a header onto the bar while our substitute Kobe Hall should have done better with a shot that went into the side netting seconds from the end of added on time.
The draw for the next round is tomorrow afternoon and we could be lucky and draw a big side like Derby County or Portsmouth or just be equally lucky and get a minnow we’ve never played before at a ground we’ve never played at before. Knowing us we’ll get either Hereford of AFC Fylde away.
FT: 2 – 0
Goals for Harriers: Hemmings 66, 72
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