Date: 20-07-21Harriers lose to last minute penalty decision against Cheltenham

20-07-21 - Friendly - Harriers lose to last minute penalty decision against Cheltenham

The Harriers lost out to a late Cheltenham Town penalty in this first home friendly of the season to end up 2-1 on the losing side.

With Harriers fans back at Aggy for the first time in seventeen months it was good to see a strong attendance of 979 fans there of which probably 50 were from Cheltenhamshire. It was also good to renew old acquaintances too on a hot July evening.

The Harriers first half team contained just the one trialist (Player H and we thing he might be named Dan). He also played at Evesham Utd last Saturday and looked very much at home playing a defensive midfield role.  We also had the handful of U23 lads and of course one of those was Jack Tolley and of course he scored.

Up against us was a Cheltenham side composed of mainly their U23’s and trialist Timmy Abraham ex of Fulham. Other trialists were Vince Harper and Isaac Currie formerly of Guiseley. Also in the side was Zack Guinan, son of former Harrier Steve.

The first action of note wasn’t good for us when Cliff Moyo picked up an injury early doors and had to be helped off the pitch. He was replaced by a very young looking Kai Lissimore. A few minutes later and we had taken the lead through Jack Tolley when his shot was deflected beyond the reach of Owen Evans in charge of the Robins goal.

We’re in for a goal fest we all thought but it didn’t turn out that way. Just four minutes later and Town had drawn level via a Luke Simpson mistake when he flapped at a cross and dropped the ball at the feet of Abraham who didn’t need a better invitation to tap the ball home.

The remainder of the half was one way traffic for the Harriers but failing to add to the goal. With chances dropping for Tolley, Keziah Martin and Omari Sterling-James we could have racked up that promised goalfest but profligacy in front of goal stopped that.

In the second period we put a slightly different team on with only Simpson, Tolley and Lissimore playing both halves. We started sharper this time and right from the off we almost scored when Ashley Hemmings sent a shot just wide. Again we were running the show and it was only the Robins keeper, Evans, that was keeping his side in the game.

A surprisingly confident shot from Lissimore on the edge of the area went just over the bar. Sammy Austin, Amari Morgan-Smith, Jaiden White and Hemmings all went close but then just as we thought we’d get the breakthrough and put a second goal past Evans it all went pear shaped. Tolley, playing a deeper role in the second half tripped Vince Harper to give away a penalty. Abrahams stepped up and didn’t miss.

Walsall at home on Saturday for another stern test for a side that has a very promising look about it.

Harriers 1st half: Simpson, Bastable, Player H, Penny, Richards, Moyo (Lissimore 16), Sterling, Martin, White, Freemantle, Tolley.

Harriers 2nd half: Simpson (Player A 65); Player I, Dutton, Lissimore, Lowe, Player C, Austin, Carrington, Morgan-Smith, Hemmings.

Cheltenham: Evans, Horton (Woodall 61), Armitage, Taylor, Hunt (Ramsey 84), Currie (Holland 73), Miles (Spencer 84), Aldridge, Harper, Abraham, Guinan (Denness-Barrett 77).

Att: 979