Match report Vs Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC Venue: Aggborough Date: 23-10-21 Att: 1515 (away fans: 37)

23-10-21 - Report - Kidderminster Harriers 5 Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC 1

Harriers clatter Bradford for five

Report: Harriershane

The Harriers went into today’s National League North encounter in the midst of a three game losing streak, punctuated by FA Cup success. Mark Bower’s patched up Bradford Park Avenue were the visitors as Russ Penn’s charges looked to get their season back on track, with Omari Sterling-James returning to the lineup at the expense of Amari Morgan-Smith.

For Avenue debuts were handed to their two loanees from Sheffield United, signed yesterday, with Oliver Arblaster in particular looking like a useful prospect.

For the first time in what seems like forever Harriers were defending the Town End, as is traditional, and it was that end that saw the first piece of action with Nathan Cameron thwarting a dangerous looking ball in from the visitors. Harriers’ first look at Johnny Saltmer’s goal was a successful one with the returning Sterling picking the ball up in striking range and sending a powerful effort goalwards, stinging the palms of the former Darlington goalkeeper.

Too hot to handle, Saltmer could only palm the ball into the direction of Ethan Freemantle who stumbled and slid the ball home to hand Harriers an early lead with his third goal of the campaign.

The half descended into what could only be described as a real midfield battle with both sides enjoying periods of possession without finding any penetration before intervening periods where head tennis appeared to be the order of the day.

With twenty minutes played though a Bradford free kick threatened to cause a problem but Luke Rawson – playing out wide – could only screw his effort wide, as did Keziah Martin from range ten minutes later. Just after the half hour mark Harriers managed to double their lead following some good play.

Geraldo Bajrami picked the ball up in midfield and fed Caleb Richards who sent a good cross into the area which was only partly cleared. Ashley Hemmings pounced onto the rebound about fifteen yards out and took a touch to control the ball before sending it goalwards with some venom, leaving Saltmer with no chance and in the process ending his personal goal drought with stretched back to the Gateshead game back on September 11th.

This seemed to momentarily knock the stuffing out of the visitors with the Harriers able to retain possession with ease, but a lax pass gave Avenue a sniff, with Nathan Cameron denying Adam Nowakowski. The visitors weren’t to be denied from the resulting corner though with the ball falling to Dylan Mottley-Henry six yards out after a period of pinball. Whilst there may have been a hint of handball from where I was sitting it certainly wasn’t intentional and the original corner probably should have been dealt with better anyway.

HT: 2 – 1

The first flashpoint of the second half saw Ethan Freemantle booked for a challenge moments after he was flattened by Luca Havern.

Avenue were getting slightly more loose at the back with this opportunity for Freemantle the first of a few for Harriers to get in behind as the half would progress. Just shy of the hour mark Sam Austin would try and get his name on the scoresheet, albeit unsuccessfully, as Saltmer held onto a deflected effort before being relieved that a stinging Hemmings effort flew just over his crossbar.

Harriers wouldn’t be denied for much longer though as they doubled their lead with sixty five minutes played through Sterling who lashed home from distance. Five minutes later he topped that effort with a goal that must surely rival Mark Carrington’s screamer against Chester FC in the early Goal of the Season running.

On the break Hemmings isolated and ran at Havern, who stuck out a lazy leg thirty yards from goal and got booked for his troubles. Clearly buoyed by his earlier goal Sterling, by his own admission, “fancied it” and went straight for goal with a knuckleball that Saltmer simply couldn’t get near. On your feet, indeed.

Harriers were purring in the second half and the high quality of the goals only spoke to that. Despite being 4-1 down the visitors opted to still keep coming and try and get themselves back in the game and sought to end the Harriers offensive onslaught and they couldn’t have come any closer than when Mitch Lund got on the end of a Mottley-Henry cross. Connect he certainly did, with a fierce effort just inside the box putting a dent into Luke Simpson’s post.

Harriers survived though and Morgan-Smith looked to grab his first league goal of the season but his header glanced wide. Speaking of headers there was still enough time for one more goal, this time from a more unlikely source, as Nathan Cameron planted a superb header into the top left hand corner via the woodwork to cap what had been an excellent second half display that saw three goals scored in the space of twenty minutes or so.

On a matchday which saw five draws from the nine games played it was a case of job done for Harriers and Russ Penn as they move onto a tough assignment in Lancashire on Tuesday night against fourth placed Chorley who, like Harriers, could only draw 0-0 away to Guiseley today.

FT: 5 – 1

Goals for Harriers: Freemantle 10,Hemmings 31, Sterling-James 64, 69, Cameron 87

Goal for Bradford (PA): Mottley-Henry 35

The Harriers Online MotM is: Omari Sterling-James

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Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Carrington   72  
Freemantle 62
Sterling-James 84  
Morgan-Smith   62  
White   84  
Bonds   72  
Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC Goals Subs Time Cards
Odunston   61  
Richman   72  
Nowakowski   67  
Lund   72  
Clee   61  
Dockerty   67  
Mr Dean Watson