The Harriers rode their luck today in gaining a 3-2 win over struggling Salisbury City yet only scored one goal in doing so. Two own goals from Salisbury sandwiched a Matt Barnes-Homer goal but in truth we could have scored a hat full ourselves if we had been a bit more lethal in front of goal. Justin Richards, back after injury, missed at least three with one of them an absolute sitter a few minutes before half time.
With Andy Ferrell missing through a one game suspension Dean Bennett took his place while on the bench was loan signing Chris Beardsley awaiting his comeback.
With the game kicking off in glorious, but cold, sunshine it took just a minute for us to see our first piece of action. A poor pass back by a City defender let in Matt Barnes-Homer but just in the nick of time the keeper, James Bittner, rushed out to kick the ball away to safety. Another few minutes further on and MBH was given another chance but sent his shot just wide of the post.
The Harriers were all over the visitors and it didn't take too long to open the scoring. The problem was we didn't score it because just as it avoided Justin Richards diving header Jon Bass tried to clear it but only succeeded in putting it beyond his own keeper.
Salisbury were looking a very poor side and were a mere shadow of the side they were last season with their defence continually at sixes and sevens and seeming to have no confidence in the keeper. With just the one striker up front, the overweight Charlie Griffin, they seemed to have no ideas.
We also seemed lacking in ideas too because in the twenty fifth minute Dean Bennett broke away and as Richards ran unmarked into the box he supplied him with a pin point ball. All Justin had to do was poke it home but he dithered too long over it and Bittner managed to get a hand to it and push it away.
City had by now started to gather themselves together and a fine volley from Griffin whistled just past the post only seconds before Barnes-Homer put us two goals up. A long kick forward from Adam Bartlett dropped just right for MBH who then took it on but saw his shot hit the post and come back to him. He didn't spurn the second chance and put the ball into the net for his ninth goal of the season.
We should then have gone on to increase the scoreline with further efforts going to waste and in an attempt to tighten up the defence the City manager took off Matthew Robinson in exchange for Scott Bartlett. It must have had some effect because they seemed to improve following that but were still capable of being caught out.
Just a minute before half time Justin Richards threw away the chance to send us into the break three goals to the good when he ran onto a great cross from Keith Lowe but, with MBH in a better shooting position, decided to go for it himself and shot straight at the keeper. We were to rue that mistake just seconds before the whistle went for the break when the Harriers defenders were caught napping and allowed the unmarked Griffin to drive the ball home from Rob Sinclair's cross.