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Luton Town 3 Harriers 1

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Date: 16-03-10gif Venue: Kenilworth Roadgif att: 5908gif away fans: 79
Harriers fail to halt the slump

gifReport by Morgan Nock
On a mild evening in Luton, Kidderminster Harriers succumbed to their second defeat in four days.  Fans had been hoping for a backlash following Saturday's terrible showing at home to Stevenage but it wasn't to be as Harriers fell to eleventh place in the table after a 3-1 defeat away to the Hatters.

Manager Steve Burr had made or been forced to make a number of changes from the side that was thrashed so soundly by Stevenage on Saturday.  Out went Gavin Caines, Dean Bennett, Adam Boyes, Marcus Bignot and Darryl Knights to be replaced with two players being given debuts in Jack Byrne and James Lawrie with Tom Sharpe, Robbie Matthews and Marc Goodfellow returning to the starting line-up

Luton took the lead after twenty three minutes through defender Jake Howells and Kevin Gallen doubled their lead seven minutes   Harriers grabbed one back almost immediately through Lawrie but a second half winner from Gallen sealed the three points for Town.

The opening exchanges saw Harriers concede several corners and soak up lots of early pressure after Martin Riley coped poorly at the back.  Harriers did have a chance to take the lead though when sloppy defending let in Robbie Matthews who could only send a shot straight at keeper Mark Tyler.

Luton continued to pressure Kidderminster and Tom Craddock came close to opening the scoring from a Charles Gnapka cross but his header was straight at keeper, Ross Atkins.  The Hatters' efforts were soon repaid when Harriers failed to deal with a dangerous corner which eventually fell to Jake Howells on the edge of the area with the defender proceeding to loop a volley into the net off the post.

With the away side now clearly on the back foot Town continued to make life uncomfortable for Harriers.  After a flurry of half chances, falling notably to Gnapka and Simon Heslop, a confusing (but correct) decision was made to award a free kick to Luton twenty yards out when everyone expected one for the Harriers for offside.  A poorly positioned wall which blocked Atkins view did nothing to protect him from the kick which slid through the wall on the ground and somehow the Harriers goalkeeper could only paw the ball into the corner of the net.

Now 2-0 down Kidderminster had to wake up and Marc Goodfellow began taking on defenders and causing some real trouble in the Luton back line.  It was Brian Smikle though who supplied the ball for Harriers opening goal when he pushed the ball in field to James Lawrie who struck across the goal right into the bottom corner of Tyler's net to bag his first Harriers goal.

After some more scrappy play the Harriers were awarded a free kick thirty yards out and Robbie Matthews lined it up.  Despite putting immense power behind the ball he could only strike it straight at Tyler who dealt with it easily.

We rarely threatened the goal again before half time but Luton compiled a multitude of missed opportunities with some shaky defending saving the Harriers on numerable occasions.
  HT: 2 - 1
The second period began much like the first with more Luton pressure and scrappy play across the park.  A quiet opening few minutes saw the home side take much of the possession but Smikle managed to put a long distance shot wide for Kidderminster.

The first real action of the second half was Luton's third goal.  A Luton corner was cleared and the ball fell to Brian Smikle who attempted to hoof the ball forwards to Lawrie but unfortunately the ball was rubbish and Kevin Gallen intercepted it twenty five yards from goal.  He proceeded to stroll through Harriers players before thundering a shot across the face of goal into the net.

It was a really poor goal to concede and this underlined the defensive frailties we have at the moment.  The defence have very little confidence in themselves after Saturday's drubbing.

As Harriers tried (without much luck) to get back into the game they were awarded a free kick in a similar position to Matthews one in the first half.  In what looked like an action replay Robbie proceeded to copy his previous free kick exactly and drill it straight at Tyler - same outcome.

Kidderminster now looked a beaten side and, despite persistence from Goodfellow, they weren't getting any closer to any points.  On seventy one minutes Brian Smikle was replaced by Darryl Knights to give a fresh impetus.  Sadly Knights offered little and the game continued in its mediocre manner.

Late on Marc Goodfellow was switched for Kyle Hadley and the former Harriers Online sponsored Matthew Barnes-Homer came on for the home side.  As Harriers battled on Chris McPhee and Robbie Matthews were particular culprits for losing possession in good positions.  Duane Courtney did manage to pitch in a good run into the Luton penalty area but his shot was a poor one and it trickled into the side netting.

All in all a poor display from the Harriers as they were once again outmuscled, out-thought and generally outplayed by a decent outfit from the upper echelons of the division.  A trip to Stevenage on Saturday is hardly a favourable fixture to have next up.
  FT: 3 - 1

 Goals for Luton: Howells 23, Gallen 30, 57
 Goal for Harriers: Lawrie 32


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Marc Goodfellow
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Luton Town  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Tyler     Atkins  
Asafu-Adjaye     Courtney
Murray   Baker  
Keane gif   Sharpe  
Kovacs     Byrne  
Pilkington     Riley  
Gnakpa gif     McPhee
Heslop     Smikle gif  
Howells     Lawrie  
Craddock     Matthews  
Gallen     Goodfellow gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Gore     Singh  
Blackett     Knights gif  
Hall gif     Hadley gif  
Jarvis     Hayward  
Barnes-Homer gif     Bignot  

REFEREE:
Mr D Coote
Nottinghamshire





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