Match report Vs Brackley TownVenue: St James ParkDate: 23-03-19Att: 845 (away fans: 150)

23-03-19 - Report - Brackley Town 3 Kidderminster Harriers 1

Hapless Harriers fall to a disappointing defeat at St James’ Park (not that one!)

Report: Harriershane

Harriers made the short trip to Brackley in the hope of preserving their faint, but credible, chance of a play off position against a Brackley Town side who sat in fourth place.

In the home side’s ranks were former Harriers Dan Nti, who came off the bench late on and popular goalkeeper Danny Lewis. For Harriers, it was a veritable hodge-podge of a side; Josh Heaton played for the Under 23’s in the morning, whilst Harry Higginson and Harry Stratford warmed the substitutes bench alongside the returning Declan Weeks.

The shape of the starting XI took those in attendance a while to figure out with the travelling support settling on Fraser Horsfall being employed at right back, with Sam Austin pushed forward into midfield, joined by Liam McAlinden, Russ Penn and bizarrely, Ashley Chambers. Kwame Thomas started up front. As for the absentees Ed Williams was out injured following his England C excursions whilst we found out shortly before kick off that Milan Butterfield was on international duty for Bermuda, who play on Sunday as they attempt to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In the shadow of the Mercedes-AMG Formula One Team headquarters it was Brackley who made a fast start. Unconvincing defending to say the least saw the ball spiral into the air and fall invitingly for James Armson who watched it down onto his boot to dispatch a fantastic volley with which Brandon Hall had no chance.

The tone was set as The Saints continued to pour forward and put Harriers to the sword as early as possible. Frantic defending, usually in the direction of their own goal, saw Harriers gift chance after chance to their hosts; Carl Baker, Ellis Myles and Lee Ndlovu all guilty of spurning opportunities that came their way. Harriers were consistently unable to clear their lines with Thomas playing in a wide forward role, and Chambers playing in midfield, it was left to Joe Ironside to hold off the attentions of multiple defenders in bitter isolation.

It took until the twentieth minute for Harriers to set foot in Brackley territory, winning a corner which was taken by Chambers; Horsfall’s header was dealt with comfortably. Following this Thomas teed up McAlinden for an effort which was well taken by Danny Lewis. With less than ten until the break, after yet more Brackley pressure, Harriers won a penalty against the run of play.

Again the ball was played into Ironside, who held it up for McAlinden to drive onto. He gave it back to Ironside who was now in the box and was unceremoniously tripped by one of the two Brackley centre backs whose attention was on him. Dusting himself down he took the penalty and smashed it low to Lewis’ right and into the back of the net with a helping hand from the inside of the post.

Half time came and Harriers were undeservedly level but the 150 or so travelling supporters would take it.

HT: 1 – 1

The opening ten minutes of the second half saw not a lot going on in terms of chances created which was an improvement on the first half from a Harriers point of view. Mark Yates was then forced into a change following a hefty challenge on Sam Austin which signalled the end of his game and a return for Declan Weeks.

Following the change Brackley began to grow into the half and retake the upper hand with the Harriers only offering up a speculative Ironside chip as a response. One felt a goal was coming and, with twenty to play, Ndlovu bundled home from close range following a corner for the hosts which was headed down into the area where the hitman was lurking.

Ryan Johnson and Brandon Hall immediately went to accost the linesman and referee for a decision that was not forthcoming, alleging an offside against the goalscorer.

Five minutes later it should’ve been three as another corner caused Harriers no end of trouble with Shane Byrne getting up well and connecting with a header that thumped the post. As the cliche goes a one goal lead is a dangerous scoreline but you always felt that it would be Brackley netting again.

With twelve to play they duly obliged from the spot after substitute Luke Fairlamb committed McAlinden who tripped him inside the box. A clearer penalty you will never see.

Byrne, who was unfortunate not to score a few minutes prior, took responsibility and found the top corner of the goal with an excellent penalty. With the game won, Brackley saw out the remainder of the half with consummate ease as Harriers looked listless and defeated.

Harriers pay a visit to another play off hopeful, Altrincham, next week and it is difficult to foresee a different outcome.

FT: 3 – 1

Goals for Brackley Town: Armson 4, Ndlovu 70, Byrne 78 (pen)

Goal for Harriers: Ironside 38 (pen)

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Brackley Town Goals Subs Time Cards
C Hall        
Lowe   90  
Armson 76  
Baker   85  
A Walker        
Fairlamb   76  
Nti   90  
Prosser   85  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
B Hall        
Austin   57  
Ironside 83  
Weeks   57  
Richards   83  
Mr Barry Lamb