The Harriers got the first stage of the FA Trophy semi finals over with today when they finished the game with a two nil lead to take to Northwich next Saturday. Thanks to first half goals from Gavin Hurren and James Constable the path to the final looks a bit more certain now.
Certain because, to be honest, Northwich looked a very poor team and didn't really offer too much of a threat. I can't recall a single save that Scott Bevan had to make from them during the entire game.
In front of the largest crowd at Aggborough so far this season, 2383, the Harriers started the game tentatively at first and allowed the visitors to come onto them but slowly we started to exert our authority and, with a bit more pace and passing than they have in recent weeks, took the game by the scruff. Christie was the first to make an attempt on goal when his volley across the face of the goal was only just cleared by a waiting Vics defender.
We could have easily gone down to ten men soon after that when Stuart Whitehead went two footed into an opposition player on the touchline but just got a booking for his carelessness. A few minutes later there was another clash with Gareth Griffiths going in hard on Christie but this time the cards stayed in the refs pocket.
Although there was plenty of midfield action nothing much seemed to be happening up front for us with Northwich defending in numbers every time we mounted an attack. A couple of shots from outside of the area came in from Russ Penn and Gav Hurren but both were either high or wide.
The first real strike on goal also came from Hurren and if it had gone in it could have been one of the goals of the season. From twenty yards out he saw a gap in the defence and sent in a rasping shot that flew over heads and onto the roof of the net.
A few minutes later he went that important bit closer and we went into the lead. Simon Russell fed Mark Creighton with the ball and his shot from outside the area struck a defender and fell just right for Hurren who managed to place his shot past the rotund keeper and into the left side of the goal.
The Harriers continued to dominate the game and could have gone further ahead when Christie found himself facing an open goal but he somehow sent his shot way over the bar. On the stroke of half time we notched up the clinching goal when Michael Blackwood sent in a speculative cross that was collected by Russell and then played to one side for James Constable to stab home.