An eagerly anticipated game at a sunny Aggborough today was ruined by a disastrous refereeing decision that changed the course of the game. Both teams before kick-off were just outside the play-offs and the winner could have theoretically gone third in the league at this important stage in the season.
Harriers kept the same line-up for the second game in a row as talismanic midfielder Chris McPhee was put in central defence for the third game running with Gavin Caines relegated to the bench.
Luton lined up strongly with the likes of Adam Newton, Kevin Nicholls and Rossi Jarvis starting and depth on the substitutes bench with tricky winger Claude Gnapka waiting for his turn to come on.
A bumper crowd for Harriers, just a smidgen over 2000 home fans backing Kidderminster, created a rapturous atmosphere as the game kicked off. Luton were first to try and take the lead with Ben Wright taking a shot which went straight at the Kidderminster keeper Dean Coleman who comfortably saved it. They continued to try and press the initiative with a cross but the Harriers stand in centre back McPhee stood firm and headed the ball away before Luton could capitalise.
Luton had another chance on twelve minutes from Rossi Jarvis who curled a shot from outside the area which Dean Coleman held well. Then came the goal for Kidderminster as right back Duane Courtney put the ball through to Matt Barnes-Homer who controlled the ball wonderfully on his chest before shooting the ball past the slightly out of place Mark Tyler in the Luton goal to put the Harriers 1-0 up.
The game then stopped being as scrappy as Luton started to retain possession far more than the home team, and despite not looking like scoring, Craddock had a header which went well wide of the goal in front of the noisy Harriers fans.
Tyler then made up for his earlier mistake when he made a miraculous save down low when Brian Smikle hit a fantastic header towards the goal which would've given Harriers breathing space if not for Tylers reactions.
Shortly after this Rossi Jarvis cleared a shot off the line and then in the space of a few minutes was walking down the tunnel for an early bath after a cynical and malicious challenge on Chris McPhee with seemingly little intent of winning the ball. McPhee was then forced off as a result of the challenge and was replaced by the natural centre back Gavin Caines. The change surely proving that it was worth a red card.
Then just mere minutes later it was down to ten men each in the most controversial moment of the game.
A ball was played towards the Luton goal in front of the seven hundred strong Luton support and Mark Tyler went down to save as Robbie Matthews appeared to jump over the Luton keeper. A second had passed where it appeared nothing had happened then the Luton fans began baying for blood for an apparent stamp with the goalkeeper Tyler making the most of the so called challenge. The man in black then marched over and gave a red card to Robbie Matthews to even up the game in surely one of the most controversial decisions made by a referee this season.
The decision was surely spurred on by the Luton fans wanting the game evened up and pressuring the referee into the decision. Kidderminster now have the chance to appeal and surely will at this arguably irrational and wrong decision by the Referee.
Harriers then hung onto the lead for the little time that was left in the half and went into half time being a goal to the good. During the break Tyler came down to the Harriers end to do a bit of training and this resulted in shouts of 'Cheat' throughout half time and well into the second half.