Match report Vs Blyth Spartans Venue: Aggborough Date: 21-08-21 Att: 1462 (away fans: 47)

21-08-21 - Report - Kidderminster Harriers 3 Blyth Spartans 0

Harriers find themselves at the top of the table

Report: Harriershane

Mansfield Town. Darlington. Then York City. Blyth Spartans. What do these four teams have in common? In order the first two sides were the sides dispatched the last time Harriers registered back to back opening league victories, back in the 2003/04 League Two campaign. A short wait then.

Blyth were a team unrecognisable in personnel terms from the last couple of seasons with the band being brought back together as it were. The Harriers would have to prevent them from playing the hits then but would have to do so without the ill Keith Lowe and the injured Lewis Montrose; pre season trialist and new signing Geraldo Bajrami coming in for a maiden start and Kai Lissimore getting a place on the bench, before being handed his first taste of senior football a few moments from the end of the game.

Otherwise, it was “as you were” for Harriers after the win up at York last week. Within the opening minute Ashley Hemmings and Omari Sterling James were already combining, with the former feeding the latter who fired across the face of the goal. Alex Mitchell would be called into action after ten minutes as more good play from Harriers had led to a free kick, which Sterling took. The delivery ricocheted into the path of Nathan Cameron but he could only fire it straight at the Blyth custodian.

Having hardly had time to catch his breath Mitchell was called into action again, this time producing a fine flying save to prevent Hemmings. A rare foray forward from Blyth didn’t last long as Cameron picked up a yellow card for what only could be described as a “reducer” to prevent a break away from halfway.

The Harriers were utterly dominant with the game almost exclusively taking place in the Blyth half of the field and the latest effort came from Sam Austin who tried an audacious lob from range which Mitchell backtracked to claim, before having an easier time five minutes later, with Austin combining with Hemmings before lifting it straight into the former Annan Athletic goalkeeper’s arms.

With ten minutes to play in the half Blyth managed a rare attack, with the mercurial and freshly unretired, Robbie Dale forcing Luke Simpson into an all too rare save. Harriers, as had been their wont in the first half, went straight up the other end to lay siege to Mitchell’s goal again; this time an almost comedic passage of play which saw an Austin shot block before a couple of sliced efforts and a penalty shout turned down for a – correct – offside decision.

The half ended with Keziah Martin dragging an effort wide from distance, leaving the Harriers faithful to dissect just how the hosts were still level over their half time burgers.

HT: 0 – 0

Seven minutes into the second half and the Harriers took the lead but, first, Connor Thomson’s shot took a wicked deflection which Simpson did well to claw away. It was from this claw that Harriers broke with Austin the driving force. Advancing towards the area he slipped a ball through to his right where Ethan Freemantle ran onto it and unleashed a fierce effort that flew past Mitchell and gave the ex Walsall man his first senior goal at Aggborough. Just desserts for his always exceptional work rate.

The scoreline now had a justified look about it as the Harriers had been the superior side throughout, and now it became a question of how many more we could score; Bajrami seeing a header drop wide on the hour.

With sixty six minutes played the protagonists of the first goal swapped roles with another flowing move seeing Freemantle pulling the ball back for Austin to finish coolly. Ten minutes later Harriers would net once again.

Out wide, Blyth’s Karl Byrne was going apoplectic wanting the ball and his cries were eventually heard. He didn’t receive the ball though because Hemmings read the intention and intercepted the ball with his chest on the halfway line. Moments later the ball was resting in the bottom corner of the Blyth goal after he drove at the backline and kept forcing them back, before going alone and firing past Mitchell.

If the celebration was anything to go by he flipping enjoyed that one, as did the 1400+ Harriers fans in attendance.

Harriers could have even added more goals with Joe Foulkes sending a long range strike just over before Bajrami tried to replicate Hemmings’ goal, bending the ball over this time. Substitute Nyal Bell looked impressive at York and was denied a debut goal last week but Blyth would also thwart him after a ball over the top set the front man in. His cut back onto his left foot set him up for an effort but also gave a covering defender the time to get his body in the way.

There appeared to be no injury time played as the Harriers ended Saturday night top of the embryonic National League North table amid a new wave of cautious optimism.

FT: 3 – 0

Goals for Harriers: Freemantle 51, Austin 65, Hemmings 74

The Harriers Online MotM is: Ethan Freemantle

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Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Austin 81  
Freemantle 75  
Hemmings 92  
Bell   75  
Lissimore   92  
White   81  
Blyth Spartans Goals Subs Time Cards
Thomson   57  
Hickey   72  
Reid   57  
McKeown   72  
Mr David McNamara