The Harriers progressed to the next round of the FA Cup today after eventually seeing off a strong challenge from visitors Vauxhall Motors. Second half goals from Matt Barnes-Homer, Justin Richards and 2nd half substitute Michael McGrath gave us the right for a long trip to Hertfordshire to play Ware FC in the 1st rd proper.
That game will be in just two weeks time with a tough game at Burton Albion in between and we're going to have to start showing an improvement on today's game if we want three points at Burton and a chance to go into the draw for the following round of the Cup.
Missing one of the bigger clubs away - Leeds, Forest, Bradford or Millwall - in the next round was not what the clubs board wanted moneywise but at least we do have a good chance of going further by playing a side three divisions below us.
For today's game against Vauxhall we had a few changes to the side that lost against Weymouth last Saturday with probably the biggest surprise being the total exclusion of Iyseden Christie from the side. He came on as a late sub in last weeks game and seemed to be clear of injury but obviously he either wasn't or he has picked up yet another injury during the week.
Into the side came Brian Smikle in place of Dean Bennett, who was on the bench, and Mark Creighton back from his one game suspension. Jon Munday went to the bench to make way for the big man.
Following the first rain for a while during the night the pitch looked to be a bit slippy. The visitors keeper, Lake, fell over twice and Michael Blackwood also had a problem keeping on his feet but eventually the pitch improved and became more sure underfoot.
It still led to an awful first half for us with countless missed chances to take the lead. Most of this was down to yet more hesitation in front of goal and it took until the twenty second minute before we had a meaningful shot on goal.
That came from the head of Mark Creighton when he got the highest to meet a corner to send a header thudding goalwards only for Sean Lake to pull out a great save to tip the ball against his upright.
Soon after that close effort came a moment of sheer comedy when we were awarded a throw-in on the right and Justin Richards took it by throwing it to Jonny Harkness. Harkness, thinking he had been given the ball to throw in then caught it and the referee - poor by the way - gave a free kick against us.
Vauxhall were looking dangerous and were exposing our slow backline throughout. Dave Roberts was the dangerman for them and he managed to get his first attempt on goal midway through the half when he bought a good save out of Chris MacKenzie and then went and scored a few minutes later.
Paul Bignot gave the ball away on the halfway line and the striker raced down the left wing to slot the ball under and past MacKenzie.
We should really have pulled that goal back almost from the re-start when Barnes-Homer in turn broke free of the visitors defence to send in a shot from the edge of the area that Lake made another great save from. With time running down to the break Russ Penn got the ball into the net but it was ruled out following a push by Justin Richards on a Motor man.
The half ended with some un-warranted booing from the home fans for what they thought was a poor display but in my mind we had tried to score but probably tried too hard.