The Harriers FA Cup dreams ended too early again this year after they went crashing out at a windswept, rainy Morecambe today. It was always going to be a tough game but when the Yorkshire based referee is trying to atone for his ancestors mis-demeanours in the Wars of the Roses by acting in a biased manner towards his Lancastrian hosts then we always knew that there would be nothing gained from this game.
Missing from the starting line-up for this game was the in form Simon Russell - it appears that he came down with a virus before the start of the game, the same ailment that is affecting Jake Sedgemore. Brian Smikle played out wide in place of Scholesy. Paul Bignot has gone back to Crewe and Jeff Kenna stepped back into his shoes at full back and Reuben Reid was again out due to his club, Plymouth, not wanting him cup tied.
A quiet first five minutes for us saw Morecambe gain a host of corners that they could do nothing with but after that the first half was all Harriers. Andy White was in hot form as he twice had a hand in setting up scoring chances.
The first when he robbed the Morecambe defender Chris Blackburn on the bye line but to his dismay there was nobody in the area when he played the ball into the area. Soon after he supplied Craig Nelthorpe with the ball in the area but the home keeper managed to get a hand to the cross before anyone in a Harriers shirt could get to it.
Minutes later came the terrible refereeing decision when Andy White was bought down in the area by the keeper.
Iyseden Christie fed White with the ball and as he ran into the area Drench came out to meet him. As Andy tried to take the ball around him the keeper bought down the tall striker just as he was about to shoot. The referee awarded a goal kick but first was approached by the linesman who was obviously telling him that he had made the wrong decision. The man in black ignored the advice and the goal kick stood with the Harriers robbed of a valid penalty.
After the ructions from the Harriers players had died down heads dropped slightly and Morecambe slowly got into the game. Adrian Rigoglioso had a free kick pushed over the bar by Scott Bevan and the defence stood firm to stop the home side getting in any more shots on goal.
After a while we regained control with Gavin Hurren and Russ Penn getting chances to open the scoring but then our Cup dreams came crashing down when, in almost a mirror image of the dis-allowed penalty, the referee handed Morecambe a penalty of their own.
Gary Thompson managed to get into the Harriers area as he chased a ball down. Scott Bevan dived at his feet and collected the ball but Thompson went for the Oscar and dived over Bevans outstretched arms. The referee pointed straight to the spot and once the protests had died down he booked Bevan and allowed Wayne Curtis to take the kick.
With Morecambe now in an undeserved lead the whistle went for half time and the teams trooped off with the officials surrounded by security behind them.