April 5, 2015
(In their Last Time Out Kidderminster Harriers ended Telford’s VCP stay.)
AFC Telford 1. v. 1. Kidderminster Harriers
CALLUM Gittings earned a battling point as Harriers sealed Telford’s relegation fate in the Vanarama Conference.
Kidderminster’s opponents needed an improbable end to the season to avoid slipping down a level.
But the bottom side opened the scoring through Tony Gray to stoke hopes of delaying their fall for another day.
But Gittings, who was Harriers’ man of the match, pounced in the 78th minute and hand the Reds a deserved point.
Manager Gary Whild had to make two changes.
With Lee Hughes missing through illness, academy youngster Jordan Harrison was handed his senior first team debut.
The striker’s youth team cohort Luke Maxwell was also drafted as a replacement for the injured Jack Byrne.
It was the away side who made the brightest start, with the in-form Gittings pulling the strings.
His free-kick allowed Danny Wright to test keeper James Montgomery with a looping header in the sixth minute.
Gittings then saw a well-struck low 20-yard effort diverted wide by Montgomery‘s outstretched hand.
Good work by Maxwell then allowed Aman Verma to drive a shot straight at Telford’s busy keeper.
But relegation battling Telford worked their way into the game and striker Adam Farrell tested Harriers shot-stopper Danny Lewis with a well-struck free-kick in the 21st minute.
Telford hitman Gray also drew a good save from Lewis.
Harriers were forced into making a change in the 31st minute when youth team midfielder Kennedy Digie replaced the injured Verma.
Kidderminster came on strong in the final ten minutes and Harrison nearly marked his debut with a goal in the 40th.
The young striker forced home from close range from a Danny Wright flick but his celebrations were cut short when it was ruled out for offside.
The rampaging Wright dragged a decent left-footed effort across the face of goal as Harriers ended the first half encouragingly.
Kidderminster made their second change in the 50th minute when Akwasi Asante replaced Harrison.
Wright fired an effort from a difficult angle over the bar and Asante cut in from the left wing menacingly but tamely fired wide.
But it was the home side who opened the scoring in the 61st minute. Farrell drove down the right wing and produced a good cross, which Gray headed emphatically home at the near post.
The away team tried to respond and Asante blazed over the bar from 25-yards.
Gray nearly bagged a second goal in the 73rd minute but his close range effort was saved by Lewis.
Substitute Jamie Spencer won a free-kick in the 75th minute but centre back Jamie Grimes curled a left-footed effort over the bar.
But the Reds made it 1-1 in the 78th minute after an error by former Harriers man Sean Clancy missed Grimes’ long ball. Gittings raced down the right and beat the keeper with a coolly taken right-footed shot.
The goal spurred Harriers forward and Asante and Maxwell both had efforts blocked.
But with Telford needing a goal to stave off being relegated, the hosts pushed forward in one last desperate hope.
Danny Lewis did well to punch Danny Ventre’s powerfully hit free-kick away.
Maxwell could have won it for Harriers as he lead an injury time counter-attack but was stopped by defender Ian Sharps.
Harriers were reduced to ten men at the end when Digie went off with an injury but it was too late for Telford, who were relegated back to the Conference North.
Harriers: Lewis, Hodgkiss, Grimes, Fry, Kelly, Verma (Digie, 31), Gittings, Maxwell, Wright, Green (Spencer, 68), Harrison (Asante, 50).
Subs not used: Boyle, Nicholson.
Telford: Montgomery, Disney, Sharps, Byrne, Clancy, Ventre, Poku (Grogan, 92), Gray, Smith (Dyer, 78), Farrell, Reid (Matthews, 58).
Subs not used: Hall, McDonald.
Referee: Adrian Holmes.
(This report is adapted from the Kidderminster Shuttle with many thanks.)