Venue: Grosvenor Vale Date: 23-03-24 Wealdstone FC 1 Harriers 1 Att: 2102 (away fans: 389)

23-03-24. Wealdstone FC 1 Kidderminster Harriers 1. Match report

Harriers still searching for that season saving win

Report: Harry211

It was a case of another crunch game, another draw, for Kidderminster Harriers as they couldn’t beat fellow strugglers Wealdstone in North West London on Saturday. A torrid first half saw Phil Brown’s men lucky to go into the break just a goal down but Ashley Hemmings’ equaliser seven minutes from time was enough to restore parity – but leave Harriers still without a win in five games.

The fourth draw in a row leaves them needing three wins from their remaining five games, with games against high fliers Barnet, Altrincham and FC Halifax Town to come as well as a trip to champions Chesterfield who secured promotion with two goals from ex-Harriers player Jamie Grimes yesterday.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Gold Omotayo dropped to the bench for Harriers for this game, with Jack Lambert and Sam Bellis replacing them. There was no place for Sam Robinson, who had made his come back from injury in the last game against Bromley FC, and debutant loanee Charlie Weston took his place on the bench.

The home side took the game to Harriers in the first half, with Phil Brown’s side spending forty five minutes chasing shadows and enduring the downpouring of hail. The Wealdstone striker Sean Adarkwa was heavily involved in the best of play, with Max Kretzschmar running the show from midfield in an imperious performance. It meant that Christian Dibble in the Harriers goal had a lively first half, starting with tipping a freekick from Kretzschmar over the top just a few minutes in.

The Stones nearly took the lead after a typically fluid move on seventeen minutes. A smart corner was sent goalwards by Kretzschmar and saved by Dibble at his near post. From the clearance the home side stuck some slick passes together which led to debutant Kallum Cesay hitting the bar from thirty yards. The panic continued as another poor clearance led to the ball being recycled back into the area and Adarkwa hitting the post with the ball going wide, Dibble left helpless.

A disallowed goal from Charlie Barker gave further cause for concern before Wealdstone took a deserved lead before half time. The ball broke into the area and that man again, Kretzschmar, finished comfortably past Dibble from the right side of the box.

All Harriers had to give them joy was a well-worked Amari Morgan-Smith chance midway through the half which dragged just past Marcus Dewhurst’s far post. For Harriers fans, a pretty dreadful half.

HT: 1 – 0

Things could only get better, and Brown revealed after the game that he unsurprisingly gave the side a verbal lashing during the break.

Promisingly, almost immediately, Harriers were in with Morgan-Smith battling his way into the area and forcing Dewhurst into a strong save. The attacks continued, with Hemmings and Caleb Richards combining to see a ball put across the face of goal. Emmanuel-Thomas, on for an underwhelming Bellis met it, but his effort was straight at the Wealdstone goalkeeper.

Then came a big moment for Harriers. Hemmings, who hasn’t scored since the side’s win over Aldershot in January, was sent through one-on-one with Dewhurst. However whether through a lack of confidence or trying to dupe the goalkeeper, he paused, and tried to take it around Dewhurst who was equal to the effort, however, and blocked the ball.

You could be forgiven for wondering whether this would be the death knell for Harriers’ Conference status, with just ten minutes to go. There was still hope, however.

Hemmings was sent through on goal, by Lambert, in an almost identical position to his missed chance moments before. This time he didn’t hesitate and thrashed the ball into the bottom corner, across Dewhurst. Salvation.

The away side ploughed on in hope of a winner. It nearly came just into stoppage time when Emmanuel-Thomas’ corner was met by Alex Penny who flicked the ball on to Krystian Pearce, who in turn sent it towards goal. As Harriers fans readied to punch the air, however, it flicked onto the bar and sailed over. So close. The goalscoring equivalent of being two points from safety, you might say.

The path to survival has narrowed significantly over the last few weeks, with those four draws in five games that Harriers sorely needed to get a win or two from. The important thing, however, is that we have kept touch with the sides above.

A win on Good Friday against Altrincham could put the club as high as 19th, and thanks to Harriers rock-solid defence, their goal difference is better than the four sides ahead of them. The idea is that the club normally perform better against better sides and that will be put to the test back at Aggborough, which could see the Harriers start to produce an apt resurrection of almost biblical proportion.

FT: 1 – 1

Goal for Wealdstone: Kretzschmar 45 +1

Goal for Harriers: Hemmings 82

The Harriers Online MotM is: Jack Lambert

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

Wealdstone FCGoalsSubsTimeCards
Adarkwa 41
Duku  41/85 
Barratt 85 
Henry 74 
McNally 58 
Griffiths 81
Bellis 59 
Preston 58 
Weston 81
Emmanuel-Thomas 59 
Mr John Mulligan