Venue: Aggborough Date: 20-02-24 Harriers 0 Gateshead 2 Att: 2212 (away fans: 48)

20-02-24. Kidderminster Harriers 0 Gateshead 2. Match report

Outplayed for Phil Browns first defeat

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers fell to their first defeat under the leadership of Phil Brown in a game that, once again, we were given a footballing lesson by Gateshead. This is the third time now that we’ve been played off the park by them and the third time that we’ve failed to put the ball in the net against them. In fact we haven’t scored since we beat Oxford City 3-2 at the start of February.

Tonight we just didn’t look like scoring and in fact I think we only had one shot on target the whole game. That was down to not being given a real sight of goal by the well marshalled Heed defence. We did start the game well but this is where I have to own up and apologising for singing the praises of tonights referee in previous games that we’ve had him.

Tonight Farai Hallam was atrocious in his blinkered handling of the game where shirt pulling and off the ball incidents were also un-needed parts of Gatesheads game. In one incident Amari Morgan-Smith was callously chopped down behind the refs back and neither the assistant on the East Stand side or the fourth official bought it to his attention but as soon as Shane Byrne caught his opponent carelessly he was in the book with AMS still prone on the floor behind him. 

This continued throughout the first half with Gateshead basically getting away with murder. We didn’t help matters by small episodes of retaliation though that got penalised every time.

As said we started ok, if at 100mph, while the visitors just calmly waited for us to tire. A Christian Dibble moment bought disbelief to the watching fans when he fumbled the ball instead of collecting it cleanly and almost fumbled it over the line as he pushed it against the upright. Those watching the game on TV said later that it had crossed the line and it should have been given.

Our best chance of the first half went the way of Ashley Hemmings but, with the goal at his mercy, he failed to get his effort even on target when it would have possibly gone in if it his aim had been true.

Dibbles second mistake led to their opening goal in the thirtieth minute. Another fumble from a shot by the former Harriers loanee Marcus Dinanga fell kindly for Callum Whelan to force the ball home through a ruck of players. 

Phil Brown gave it a further ten minutes before making an early change by taking off Aaron Harper-Bailey who was struggling to cope and took the chance to throw on another striker in Gold Omotayo with Zak Brown dropping further back into midfield. The change had to be made but it didn’t work as, once again, Gold received no service for him to do anything with.

With halftime approaching Gateshead had another chance to score when Ed Francis tried his luck from distance. Dibble stopped the shot but you know what happened next and he just about managed to clear the ball away to safety.

HT: 0 – 1

There had obviously been a halftime ‘briefing’ with the team coming out early for the second half but it was hard to tell if it had any benefit. In fact Gateshead seemed to be more in control of the game now and we were just feeding on scraps unable to get a proper hold of the ball or the game.

Early on in the half we had our only shot on target when Hemmings found some space to get a shot away but it was straight at James Montgomery, back on loan from Spennymoor Town, due to injuries to their existing goalkeepers.

A few minutes later and it was game over. A corner was flighted in and with our defence playing statues party games the ball was bundled over the line by Mamadou Jobe although it looked to most watching like an own goal. For reasons known only to himself Dibble decided to join in with their celebrations by the corner flag until he was pushed over, then retaliated. He was lucky not to have been sent off. After that he began to see sense and actually started to make some decent saves.

We huffed and puffed to try and get back into the game but were kept at arms length by the far superior Heed side. They zipped the ball around sharply finding team mates and breaking through our back line with ease and all we could muster was balls launched over the top to no one in particular.

Sam Bellis and Regan Griffiths both came on but achieved little and eventually the game ended with Gateshead still in complete control and Harriers looking spent and drifting further from safety by the day. With three tough away games now coming up: Oldham Athletic, Solihull Moors and Woking one wonders where the points will come from.  

FT: 0 – 2

Goals for Gateshead: Whelan 30, Jobe 61

The Harriers Online MotM is: Zak Brown

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Harper-Bailey 40 
Byrne 73
Z Brown    
Morgan-Smith 73 
Omotayo 40 
Griffiths 73
Bellis 73 
Hannant 86 
Dinanga 80 
Adom 80 
D Brown 80 
Hasani 86 
Scott 80 
Mr Farai Hallam