Match report Vs Blyth SpartansVenue: Croft ParkDate: 23-02-19Att: 705 (away fans: 50)

23-02-19 - Report - Blyth Spartans 3 Kidderminster Harriers 3

Harriers cruise to a crucial point away at Blyth

Report: Phil Lench

How the Harriers threw three points away at Blyth Spartans today is anyones guess. Going a goal behind in the first minute and then pulling the goal back soon after showed that there’s fight within the team but then what happened after defied belief.

Blyth had their keeper sent off twenty minutes in and Joe Ironside put us in front from the spot. Now up against ten men, and and part timers at that, we then failed to put away our chances until finally in the seventy first minute Ed Williams gave us a comfortable 3-1 lead and the points looked to be in the bag.

Well they were until we switched off totally and gifted them a share of the spoils in the final few minutes of the game leaving us with just ten points from a possible twenty seven in 2019 and egg on our face.

It had taken the Spartans a minute to open the scoring when Kieran Green had sent in a speculative shot that took a deflection off Dan Maguire to leave the Harriers keeper Brandon Hall wrong footed and us one down. We fought back though and Fraser Horsfall managed to get his head to a Nick Clayton-Phillips cross and send the ball looping over Peter Jamesons head for the equaliser.

The game settled down for a while until in the twentieth minute Joe Ironside broke free and burst into the area and tried to round the keeper only to find himself tumbled to the floor. The referee had no choice that to send the keeper, Jameson, off and award the Harriers a penalty. Joe brushed himself down and dispatched it past the replacement keeper, midfielder Robbie Dale.

Now with us in the ascendancy against ten men we should have gone on to really pressurise the stand-in keeper but we didn’t. In fact it was the hosts that went in search of a comeback goal as Maguire shot at goal and forced Hall into a good save and the Green went in search of a second goal as he headed the ball narrowly over a minute later.

We had a chance for NCP that swerved away from the goal and then soon after Blyth should have had a second man sent off when Maguire tackled Ryan Johnson from behind and leaving the Reds defender in agony on the floor. The referee opted to be lenient and only gave Maguire a yellow card.

With the end of the half approaching Jamie Holmes almost scored for his side with an sharp strike that Hall just about managed to get down to and then we came even closer. Another NCP cross was floated in and, as before, it was Horsfall well placed to send his header downwards only for Dale to also get down and push it away. The ball hit Nathan Buddle and went back towards the goal and this time Dale kept hold of the ball.

With a minute to go we lost Clayton-Phillips to injury and for some reason we sent on Billy Daniels in his place although it might have made more sense to assess the injury during the break and then, if needed, make the change.

HT: 1 – 2

Now with a fresh briefing the Harriers could come out from the dressing room with a plan in mind to take the game by the scruff and put the home team to the sword. Well that should have been the plan!

Although it was all Harriers we huffed and puffed. Early chances came the way of Daniels, Williams, Sam Austin and Ashley Chambers but the ball never looked like going in. We may have been pressing the stand in keeper but he was looking too worried about it.

It took until the sixtieth minute for the Reds to really test Dale and he reacted brilliantly to tip a shot from Williams over the bar. Ten minutes later and finally Williams beat his man when he got onto a low cross into the area from Daniels and sidefooted the ball beyond Dale.

With us now well in command we should have turned the screw and followed the example of Altrincham who were knocking six goals past Curzon Ashton down the road in Manchester but we didn’t. Instead we sat back and allowed a dead and buried team to rise from the grave.

Chances were being created by the Spartans with substitute Sean Reid heading just wide from a Holmes cross and then a minute later Maguire just failed to connect with a ball into the area that could have seen them claw a goal back. In fact that’s just what he did do two minutes from the end of normal time when Alex Nicholson back heeled the ball for the waiting Maguire to bury in the back of the net.

You just knew what was going to happen next.

With four minutes of added time rampant Blyth sent men surging forward, including defender Nathan Buddle. First Adam Wrightson brushed off the Harriers defence to lay the ball in for Reid to fire in – Hall saved – and then a poorly defended ball rolled free just outside the area that Buddle ran on to and fired beyond the clutches of Hall to give his ten man and a rookie keeper team a well deserved point and the Harriers to reflect on what they had just thrown away. And not for the first time.

Play-offs? Forget it.

FT: 3 – 3

Goals for Blyth Spartans: Green 1, Maguire 88, Buddle 91

Goals for Harriers: Horsfall 6, Ironside 22 (pen), Williams 71 

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Blyth Spartans Goals Subs Time Cards
Green 78  
Mullen   66  
Holmes   83
Reid   66  
Oliver   78  
Wrightson   83  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Clayton-Phillips   45  
Chambers   78  
Williams 83  
Truslove   83  
Richards   78  
Daniels   45  
Mr Paul Brown
Newcastle upon Tyne