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Harriers 1 Luton Town 2


Date: 10-10-09gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2927gif away fans: 925
Dubious sending off does for the Harriers

gifReport by Harry Taylor
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.
HT: 1 - 0
Luton came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and started to press the Harriers from the word go with Craddock being the first player to test the Kidderminster keeper, Dean Coleman, with a shot that he saved comfortably.

Luton then appeared to settle into the game and relax.  Nicholls was spraying passes about and Gnapka, who had just come on, was making very dangerous runs down the right wing and making a mockery of the Harriers defence at times.  The Reds then nearly got themselves a cushion of another goal in the second half with a Smikle shot against the run of play that unluckily flew over the bar.

Kidderminster had another chance minutes later as substitute Nathan Hayward had a perfect chance to notch his first professional goal for the club as he raced away on the counter attack.  All he had to do was place the ball towards the goal but, instead, he tried to play a pass and slipped as he did so and in losing possession the chance passed.

Luton still had a very strong foothold in the game though with crosses coming thick and fast, especially from the tricky Gnapka on the right, with mixed success.

Finally Luton then got their deserved equaliser.  Following a deep corner on seventy six minutes the ball pinged around in the box until it was played out to the Saint Kitts and Nevis international Adam Newton who hit a rasping drive off the crossbar and into the goal leaving goalkeeper Dean Coleman grappling for thin air.

Luton continued to press the Harriers as the home side started to defend deeper and deeper.  Crosses continued to fly over and Kidderminster started to edge less and less forward.

Kyle Hadley came on for the last five minutes of the game as the Harriers tried to get some kind of outlet up front.  Even when the ball did get into the Luton half Barnes-Homer lacked the initiative and desire to make a go of getting the ball.

Just as Kidderminster thought the game was safely drawn Ryan Charles, on as a sub for Ben Wright, scored a belter of a goal with a volley from a tight angle to give Luton the lead and Harriers the feeling that they had thrown the game away.

Four minutes of added time were given but despite the Harriers fans willing their team on they couldn't get the goal they needed to rescue a point.
FT: 1 - 2

 Goal for Harriers: Barnes-Homer 13
 Goals for Luton: Newton 76, Charles 90

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Harriers  subs   cards      Luton Town  subs   cards 
Coleman     Tyler  
Courtney     Asafu-Adjaye gif  
Baker     Murray gif  
Finnigan     Hall  
McPhee gif     White  
Riley     Pilkington  
Smikle     Newton  
Bennett gif     Nicholls  
Barnes-Homer     Wright gif  
Knights gif     Craddock  
Matthews   Jarvis
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Caines gif     Gore  
Dolman     Blackett  
Farrell     Charles gif  
Hayward gif     Howells gif  
Hadley gif     Gnakpa gif  

Mr R Wigglesworth
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