Venue: Aggborough Date: 23-12-23 Harriers 1 Southend Utd 2 Att: 3046 (away fans: 645)

23-12-23. Kidderminster Harriers 1 Southend Utd 2. Match report

Harriers fail to win again but the Southend keeper was the reason

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers somehow contrived to lose yet another game when, after having the bulk of the play, they lost at home to Southend Utd in a game that was a bit of a thriller. It could also be put down to the fact that the Southend keeper, Collin Andeng Ndi, played an absolute blinder to keep his side clutching onto the three points.

With Gold Omotayo starting his first game for us, and a first start for Shane Byrne in ages, it was the Harriers that started the game like an house on fire. True hundred mile an hour stuff saw us get three good chances to score within the first seven minutes of the game but, suddenly, out of the blue the Shrimpers went and scored the first of their two slightly flukey goals when Oli Coker scrambled the ball, off Christian Dibble, from a corner.

We came close to drawing level a few minutes later when Ryan McLean but his shot was blocked on the line by a defender and then came the stunning equaliser. Following intense pressure Byrne sent a header across the edge of the area for a lurking Ashley Hemming. Hemmo swivelled and volleyed an un-stoppable shot beyond through the outstretched arms on Adeng Ndi and into the net for his ninth goal of the season.

The referee, Dale Baines, gave us a sign of what was to come when Hemmings was taken out by Gus Scott-Morriss on the halfway line but the ref more or less waved play on until another foul was committed on the edge of the area then decided to go and check how he was only for him to call the physio on for three minutes of treatment to the un-injured player.

With the game now into the added on time he looked likely that we would be going into the break all square but we hadn’t accounted for yet another fluke of a goal. Yet another corner was poorly defended and went across the heads of everyone except Nathan Ralph whose head it skimmed off and past a static Dibble, off the post and into the goal.  

HT: 1 – 2

After the break Caleb Richards came on for Reiss McNally but we didn’t show the same intensity as we had in the first half. Instead we looked tired and slowly Southend began to control the game but still didn’t really test Dibble all that much. Brooklyn Kabongolo had a chance that was easily saved by Dibble in the first minute of the half but that was it.

Instead it was the referee who dominated the game more than either side did and some of his decisions were beyond bewildering. Hemmings was bundled over on the touchline and has the Southend offender got up he grabbed Ash around the throat but both the referee and his assistant decided to look the other way and didn’t even bother to talk to the offender.

Soon after that the visitors substitute, Henry Sandat, slightly offside ran into the area for a fifty/fifty ball. Dibble came out and, as the ball squirmed away, he bought the newly arrived that morning loan striker down but the man in black waved the calls for the penalty away much to the surprise of everyone in the ground, including Harriers fans, and instead gave us a free kick. I haven’t seen such a blatant penalty in years and this one wasn’t even in our favour.

It was the keeper that was to eventually decide the outcome of the game though and, as at the game earlier in the season at Roots Hall, he was the one that came to their rescue with three outstanding saves.

First a Caleb Richards speculative shot almost caught him out but he somehow scrambled back to flick the ball over the bar. Then Amari Morgan-Smith, on for McLean, sent in a downward header only for Ndi to again get a hand to the ball, this time on the line, and again scoop the ball away to safety.

The Harriers were now fully in charge of the game and for the final fifteen minutes dominated the game in search of the much needed equaliser. The final two chances came with time quickly running out when, again, AMS sent an header over bar and then forced the keeper into yet another great stop to push the ball away following a close range effort from the talisman striker.

The un-wanted defeat leaves us still at the bottom of the table and a Boxing Day battle looming at Boreham Wood. Our only consolation with that game is that they lost 6-0 at Barnet FC today and had a man sent off but he, Jack Payne, could still play against us. 

FT: 1 – 2

Goal for Harriers: Hemmings 27

Goals for Southend Utd: Coker 7, Ralph 48

The Harriers Online MotM is: Shane Byrne

Talk about the game here

Latest table and stats here

McLean 78 
McNally 46 
Richards 46 
Morgan-Smith 78 
Tollitt 64 
Southend UtdGoalsSubsTimeCards
Andeng Ndi    
Fonguck 62 
Sandat 62 
Mr Dale Baines