Harriers fans left the new Wembley Stadium broken hearted following the second half capitulation by their heroes today. With the team two goals up through the on fire James Constable we found ourselves on the racks from the very first minute of a second half in which Stevenage ruthlessly destroyed any hope of victory we had.
During a first half that had started nervously for both sides the Reds had built up their confidence to a level that found us cutting through the Stevenage defence at will but by the end of the game that situation had reversed and it was the Hertfordshire side that were doing the cutting. A goal from Steve Morison in the final few minutes was the destroyer that we did not want.
It had all looked so good before the game with the crowds flocking to the stadium, mixing together, looking at the new Bobby Moore statue and gazing in awe at the new showpiece of English football - the stadium.
Ok, the surroundings are still a disgrace with the rundown eyesores all around but I'm sure some will be dealt with in the future but some, like the blocks of decrepit flats may take longer. The chance was missed to build a landscaped stadium outside Birmingham, or even London itself, but we're stuck with it for the next fifty years now.
Once inside you couldn't help but be struck by the size of the place and also the redness of it all. The concourse outside was very drab in comparison and the lack of decent toilets also came as a surprise after being told that there were something like over 2,600 toilets available. Where were they then?
Another major problem was the poor tannoy. So much so that when it came to the team line-ups being read out that you couldn't hear it and it was easier to look at the screen behind you. Which also brings me to the next minor complaint of the lack of squad numbers in the programme so that you didn't know who was who, for Stevenage, once the game started.
As it was it was basically the usual line-up for us with Michael Blackwood filling in for the suspended Jonny Harkness at the back and Brian Smikle sitting in front of him on the left flank. The bench comprised of the usual suspects plus the return of Andy White following his loan spell at Stafford.
For Stevenage they had a far stronger bench than us and that was to prove the correct decision later in the game.
After a scrappy first fifteen minutes the Harriers started to gain the ascendancy and took control of the game. Our passing was better and we were running into spaces being left open by a static Borough defence. James Constable was having a field day and so it proved in the thirty fist minute when he opened the scoring.
Jeff Kenna sent a short free kick over to Iyseden Christie who then took the ball past Santos Gaia and then fired at the Stevenage goal. The ball went past the keeper, Alan Julian, but was cleared off the line by Barry Fuller but only as far as Constable who knocked the ball into the empty net via the keepers body.
A few minutes later and the former Walsall striker had put us two goals up when he struck again with the best goal of the game. The much vaunted, by Stevenage fans, Steve Guppy was easily robbed of the ball by Blackwood who then played the ball on for Christie to flick it into the path of Constable. His powerful shot from the corner of the area left Julian with no chance of stopping.
The Harriers were now fully in charge of the game, a game that looked to be wrapped up for us. It could have been made the more so just two minutes before the break when Simon Russell, having a very quiet game by his standards, saw his shot blocked on the line by John Nutter.
The feeling that we were on our way to victory was so high amongst the fans that Mexican Waves were the order of the day and when it got as far as the depressed Stevenage fans they were abruptly stopping to a good natured chorus of derision. That depression would be lifted soon after.