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Harriers 0 Salisbury City 1

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Date: 27-03-10gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1201gif away fans: 40
The Steve Burr honeymoon is well and truly over

gifPrologue by Philip Lench
Since Steve Burr arrived at Aggborough we had been turning in some very good performances and that culminated in him winning the Manager of the Month award for February.  His results were that good and had taken us to the edge of the play-offs and a brilliant Trophy win at Oxford.

The very evening that he was handed his trophy the rot set in and we could only manage draws against lowly Ebbsfleet Utd at Aggborough and away at Eastbourne a few days later.  Then came that terrible, terrible 5-1 defeat at home to Stevenage and since then it has gotten worse.  Our last three League games have all ended in defeat with, admittedly, a credible draw at Stevenage in a lost cause for the second leg of the Trophy.

Steve Burr may still get us back into winning ways but on today's showing, and the poor quality players that he has bought in, it looks like the honeymoon period is well and truly over.  It could be likened to a long, intense romance between a couple that ends in marriage but on the wedding night the groom finds out that his bride farts in bed and realises she's not really as good as he thought she was.

He now has the remaining nine games to convince us that he really is the man for the job and that the honeymoon may still last for ever.


gifReport by Harry Taylor
Harriers winless run continued today at home to a poor Salisbury side that were only made to look good and were gifted a goal by the home side.

Kidderminster started with an untried striking partnership of winger Brian Smikle and the team captain Chris McPhee.  Lloyd Kerry and Luke Prosser also made their debuts for the Harriers with Prosser taking Tom Sharpe's centre back slot as the latter moved to replace Lee Baker who was out through injury.  Robbie Matthews started from the bench against his former side who boasted one of the leagues best strikers in Matt Tubbs.

The Harriers started brightly, holding the majority of possession against the southern side, but they lacked the final incisive ball to break down the Salisbury side that weren't looking too good.  McPhee was the first to fire a shot at goal but his volley from side on hit a defender sending the ball spinning over the bar and from the following corner Kidderminster couldn't capitalise.

Following a complete lapse in defence Salisbury took the lead in the twenty fourth minute.  A ball was played over the top of the defence onto the dangerous Tubbs who was running neck and neck with Prosser for the   Out of the goal came Ross Atkins but instead of communicating with his defender, and visa versa, Prosser headed the ball back towards the on-rushing goalie who missed the ball completely and collided with the new guy leaving Matt Tubbs to race onto the ball.  A rash challenge in the area from Riley took Tubbs legs from under and the ball trickled into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.

A silence fell around the ground and even the City followers didn't celebrate the goal because they couldn't believe it either.  Riley was unlucky not to get booked for the challenge which was from behind and if the ball hadn't gone over the line then the former Wolverhampton Wanderers trainee would've certainly been heading for an early bath.

We tried to get back into the game via winger Smikle who ran onto goal and a one-on-one with goalkeeper Ryan Pryce but his shot was far too weak and looked more of a pass straight at the goalkeeper.  After this chance the Harriers failed to create any others in this half with the side turning to long ball tactics instead of the passing football that we had become accustomed to so far under Steve Burrs reign.

The forward partnership of McPhee and Smikle wasn't paying any dividends despite the latter being the Harriers top-scorer so far this season and the midfield apart from bright spark Jack Byrne were absolutely dire.  Something needed to be done.
  HT: 0 - 1
The move that Steve Burr decided could change the game was the introduction of James Lawrie from the bench in place of Dean Bennett.  Deano seems increasingly exhausted and it could be asked how much of a toll this season has taken on the Harriers fans favourite midfielder.

Immediately Kidderminster nearly got back into the game after they won a corner but Marc Goodfellow made little of it and there was no threat to Pryce's goal.  Debutant Lloyd Kerry then was lucky to stay on the pitch after launching his studs dangerously into the chest of Luke Ruddick and caused the player to be down on the floor for a minute or so.

After this there was little action in front of goal and the overall performance was becoming worryingly worse against a side whose highlight of the second half before the sixtieth minute was a skewed shot from Ruddick which was more of a threat to the stewards guarding the away end than Ross Atkins' goal.  As a result Burr decided to bring David McDermott – back from Halesowen – on in place of the ineffective Goodfellow who just previously had showed the work rate of a sloth after having a through ball played onto him.  He stood there complaining about being his shirt being pulled instead of running to the ball when he could've perhaps got there before the Salisbury defender.

It was perhaps this attitude that caused some sections of the North Stand to cheer the announcement that the right midfielder would be leaving the field to be replaced by McDermott.

Soon after this Harriers could have and perhaps should have been level.  James Lawrie worked his way into the area and, with his back to goal, flicked a through ball behind him to McPhee whose shot from a perhaps tight angle missed the far post and was a chance that the captain should've put away.

This wasn't to be the last chance that Harriers clearly had and definitely could've profited from as Jack Byrne, who has recently joined from Redditch United, ran through and perhaps got over-excited at the thought of scoring his first Harriers goal as whilst the ball was running away from him he swung his left foot at the ball and it spun massively high and wide.  It was a low point for the midfielder who until then had passed well, shown good vision and was eventually given the sponsors man of the match.

This was followed with the exceedingly late introduction of Matthews for Duane Courtney and we switched to a 3-4-3 formation in an effort to get an equaliser.  However this wasn't to be and the Harriers created no more chances after this substitution and even after four minutes of added time the home side couldn't get anywhere near goal.

The game ended 1-0 to Salisbury to cap off back-to-back losses for Steve Burr's side at home and questions will have to be asked about many things.

Firstly the introduction of the loanees, Prosser and Kerry, had no effect and the latter had a poor game being bullied out of it by bigger players.  Also the tactic that presided over most of the second half to just lump the ball forward to McPhee, Lawrie, Smikle and eventually Matthews when only the latter ever really had much chance of winning any of them.

People will rightly be wondering what happened to the passing side that started this game off and has been a hallmark of Steve Burr's short reign at the club thus far.  Perhaps the omission of Finnegan due to injury has been the downfall of this style of football but there is no reason to say that we can't try it without him.

We'll have to see if any of this changes for the visit of Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
  FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Salisbury: Tubbs 24


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Jack Byrne
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Harriers  subs   cards      Salisbury City  subs   cards 
Atkins     Pryce
Courtney gif     Clohessy  
Sharpe     Ruddick  
Byrne     Giles
Prosser     Martin  
Riley     Adelsbury gif  
McPhee     Connolly  
Bennett gif     Clarke
Goodfellow gif     Flood  
Kerry   Tubbs  
Smikle     Shephard gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Singh     Bush  
Bignot     Webb  
Matthews gif     Anderson gif  
Lawrie gif   Reid gif  
McDermott gif        

REFEREE:
Mr R Fletcher
Derbyshire





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