Report by Sam Donovan
In association with:
Alan McLean FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Consultant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday September 23rd 2017
Kidderminster Harriers 5 – 4 Blyth Spartans
Blyth Spartans suffered defeat in a nine goal thriller at Aggborough on Saturday as Alun Armstrong’s men went down 5-4 at the hands of Kidderminster Harriers.
The hosts took the lead through Andre Brown, Dale Hopson restored parity before David McTiernan put the Spartans into the lead. James Pearson responded before McTiernan to put Blyth 3-2 ahead at the interval.
The second half was almost as entertaining, Emmanuel Sonupe, James Pearson and Andre Wright all added to Kidderminster’s tally. Dale Hopson pulled a goal back but it wasn’t enough to salvage a share of the points.
The Harriers started the game on the front foot and took the lead through the first attack after 4 minutes. Joe Ironside who was a menace from start to finish got away down the right and was able to pull the ball back for Andre Brown who was able to wrap his foot around the ball and find the far corner.
Rather than Blyth gaining a foothold in the game it looked like Kidderminster would extend their lead. Emmanuel Sonupe was allowed time to deliver a cross on 6 minutes but it was slightly too far ahead of the onrushing Brown at the back post.
A few minutes later and Sonupe who had started the game in a wide position looked to threaten again as he rampaged down the right wing. He delivered another ball into the box but this time it evaded Ironside who ended up fouling Cartwright as he looked to shepherd the ball out of play.
The Spartans were struggling to get any kind of momentum in the game and were grateful for Cartwright who got in a timely block to stop Brown from adding to his tally. Cartwright’s block saw the ball go behind for a corner. James McQuilkin served notice of his delivery as his corned was chipped in but cleared well by the Spartans backline.
On 15 minutes, Sonupe threatened to add another as he fired an effort from the corner of the box which took a deflection off Ironside. The deflection didn’t aid Jameson who went scrambling across the goal to keep the ball out.
Out of nothing, Blyth were level after 17 minutes. Dan Maguire collected the ball and was allowed to turn, he ran on before slipping the ball into the path of Dale Hopson who kept his composure to round Brandon Hall in the Kidderminster net and slot home.
Like buses, you wait for one and then another comes along and the same was true for Blyth goals. Two minutes later and Spartans were ahead. A corner from Robbie Dale was headed away by Kidderminster but it only reached the edge of the box where David McTiernan who volleyed it superbly into the far corner of the net.
Kidderminster were on the ropes as they looked to respond to falling behind. The Harriers won a corner on the left and McQuilkin delivered an inviting ball to the far post where James Pearson was able to meet it with a looping header. The header was directed back across goal and dipped just under the bar.
Weaker teams were had folded after being pegged but the Armstrong’s men are made of stern stuff these days. Instead of capitulating they responded in the best possible manner. Adam Wrightson scampered down the right and curled a beautiful ball in to the area where McTiernan stooped to head the ball home and restore the lead.
As the half drew to a close, Blyth looked to extend their lead. Sean Reid met a free kick from Dale Hopson but was unable to direct it towards goal and it cleared the ball. Michael Liddle was then put through and the left back drove an effort that was tipped behind by Hall.
The second half got underway in similar fashion to the first with the Harriers on the attack. The first chance fell only two minutes into the second half with Brown eventually getting a shot on goal after some slow motion pinaball in the penalty area.
Ironside should have drawn the home side level as a bit of good fortune fell in the way of the home side. Spartans tried to clear the ball but a ricochet send the ball spinning into the path of Ironside who was 1 v 1 with Peter Jameson. However, the custodian stood tall and blocked the effort for a corner. From the resultant corner Fraser Horsfall leapt highest but planted his header over the bar.
On 54 minutes, Joel Taylor who had been in a tremendous battle with Adam Wrightson cut in from the left and unleashed an effort from the edge of the area. The strike was always going wide but Jameson had got across well to cover just in case.
Two minutes later and the hosts were level. Sonupe was adjudged to have been brought down in the box by Nathan Buddle as the defender went to clear the ball. Sonupe stepped up and sent Jameson the wrong way from the spot.
As in the first half, one goal was quickly followed by another and it again went the way of the home team. A corner from the right was met by the head of the onrushing Pearson who doubled his tally.
Blyth threatened to get back on level terms when Robbie Dale was chopped down 20yds from goal. Dale picked himself up and dusted himself down to take the kick which was blocked by the wall.
Dan Bradley should have sealed the points for Kidderminster when twice in quick succession he found himself through on goal with only Jameson to beat. However, on both occasions Jameson came out on top and saved both efforts.
On 77 minutes the 5th goal arrived and it came from another corner. The ball was swung into the middle where Tyrone Williams sent the ball goalwards before Andre Wright guided the ball over Jameson and off the underside of the bar.
Dan Maguire who had been well marshalled by the Kidderminster defence got his first chance of the game on 83 minutes. Robbie Dale produced a sumptuous through ball for Maguire who got his shot away and forced Hall to parry it away.
With 5 minutes of the game remaining, Spartans grabbed a lifeline in the game. Lewis Horner who had replaced Adam Wrightson lifted the ball into the area where it was destined for Sean Reid but a vital interception cleared it away. The clearance came to the edge of the area where Hopson magnificently kept his head over the ball and smashed it home. It was amazing technique as the ball zipped across the turf and into the back of the net.
Entering added time, Spartans still had chances to level. Reid was found in the box but his header could only be directed straight at Hall in the Harriers goal. Even after that, there was still another chance; Maguire had his heels clipped 20yrds from goal giving Blyth one last chance. Dale stood over the ball but on this occasion the free kick was blocked by the wall.
The referee ended the game soon after as Blyth suffered their first defeat in 5 league games. Attention now turns to Nuneaton who visit Northumberland on Saturday 7th October with a traditional 3pm kick off.
Kidderminster Harriers: Hall, Williams, Taylor, Croasdale (c), Horsfall, Pearson, Sonupe, McQuilkin (Bradley, 46), Ironside, Ngwatala, Brown (Wright, 67).
Subs not used: Austin, Weeks, Digie
Blyth Spartans: Jameson, Cartwright, Liddle, Reid, Buddle, Hutchinson, Wrightson (Horner, 73), McTiernan, Maguire, Hopson (Lazzari, 86), Dale (c).
Subs not used: Murray, MacDonald.
Spartans Man of the Match: Dale Hopson