FA Trophy 2nd qualifying round
Match report Vs Stamford AFCVenue: Zeeco StadiumDate: 15-12-20Att: 0000 (away fans: 000)

15-12-20 - Report - Stamford AFC 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0

Awful Harriers exit the FA Trophy

Report: Harriershane

With the National League North season placed on a seven day hiatus the FA Trophy journey began in earnest on Tuesday night against Step 4 side Stamford AFC, most famed perhaps for their unique nickname of “The Daniels”.

The former Manchester United veteran goalkeeper Luke Steele signed for them in time to be eligible for this game, and he would make his bow for the hosts. For Harriers the former Trophy finalist Russ Penn named an unchanged side from Saturday’s hard-fought win up at Gateshead, understandable with a bye into the Fourth Round and a total prize pot of £8000 available on this ninety minute game of football.

Perhaps in keeping with the Harriers’ recent cup history there was a link with Stourbridge in this game; Stamford beating them convincingly in an earlier round. A reminder, then, that this was not going to be an easy game despite the difference in levels.

The opening ten minutes passed largely without incident barring an innocuous injury to Jordon Cooke, a victim, perhaps, to the prolonged game-less period that has been enforced on those beneath the National League North.

Harriers had a sighter of Steele’s goal when Ashley Hemmings fired a low effort in but the journeyman goalkeeper was never unduly threatened. For Stamford the dangerous Tendai Chitiza forced a corner from a deflected effort. Long the Harriers’ Achilles Heel, it would be from that corner that the game was settled. A Daniels head directed the ball goalwards where Rob Morgan forced it home.

It would go from bad to worse when, midway through the half, Sam Austin fell victim to a challenge. Forced off, he was replaced by Ethan Freemantle.

As the game approached the final minutes of the half the Harriers forced a golden chance of an equaliser. A better corner delivered by Hemmings found Luke Maxwell at the back post where the former Birmingham City man had two pokes at it but, somehow, Steele managed to keep it out and preserve Stamford’s lead.

HT: 1 – 0

The watching Harriers fans on the stream provided by the hosts would be hoping that they would have been woken up at half time but it would be Stamford, and Chitiza, again with the first action of the second period; his cross found Morgan who’s header was up and ultimately over.

What followed was forty three minutes of almost exclusively Harriers pressure. Some sportspeople may utter the phrase “pressure is for tyres” but if that was the case then the Harriers would hope for a puncture for Stamford along their journey. Alas, that puncture never came.

Amari Morgan-Smith had the first Harriers effort of the half, firing wide, before Steele claimed Omari Sterling-James’ header from an Alex Penny cross. Morgan-Smith again would look to trouble Steele, this time though his effort was blocked as he was put in over the top.

As the game approached the hour mark the poor Keith Lowe was replaced by Max Taylor.

The hour came and went, Morgan-Smith linked up with Freemantle, who was beaten to the ball. Only cleared for a corner it would present Harriers with a chance that Cliff Moyo spurned, heading down into the ground before the ball bounced over Steele’s bar.

The home backline certainly had nerves of Steele, although they jangled rather loudly, in keeping with the time of year when he went off injured, replaced by Max Peverall, a seventeen year old Academy product. Even more frustratingly he was never tested within the first twenty five minutes of his arrival between the sticks.

Shots off target and wayward crosses seemed to be the order of the day with the youngster called into action only to deny Hemmings low at the front post from eight yards. Even with the injured Morgan shunted up front, and out of the way, Stamford continued to protect their goalkeeper and deal with any balls into the box up until the final whistle was sounded.

With £8000 down the drain and at first glance, the biggest shock of tonight’s FA Trophy games, Harriers fans could be forgiven for feeling more like Scrooge than Santa but as is always proper after results like these we must be gracious in defeat and congratulate the dogged and determined Stamford side who progress directly to the Fourth Round.

We now face a break until the congested festive period truly begins with a Boxing Day game at Hereford FC and then what is hopefully a return to Aggborough for fans on the 28th December against AFC Telford who put 10 (TEN) past Coleshill in their FA Trophy tie tonight.

FT: 1 – 0

Goal for Stamford: Morgan 19

The Harriers Online MotM is: Alex Penny

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Stamford AFC Goals Subs Time Cards
Steele   65  
Cooke   7  
Hicks   72  
Peverall   65  
Wright   7  
Vince   72  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Lowe   58  
Austin   24  
Sterling-James   78  
Taylor   58  
Arthur   78  
Freemantle   24  
Mr Richard Holmes