Solihull Moors 3 Harriers 2 Report by Morgan Nock
A mild summer evening in suburban Birmingham saw Kidderminster Harriers succumb to a 3-2 defeat by Solihull Moors. Julian English opened the scoring for Moors before a free kick from Ryan Beswick doubled the lead before half time. Harriers bounced back after the break with goals from James McPike and Kristian Dennis before Ross Dempster wrapped up a victory for the home side from the penalty spot.
After a slow start it was Solihull who were on top, but despite good spells of possession they produced little end product. The first chance of the game actually fell to Harriers with a long range effort from Jack Byrne flying high and wide. Suddenly Harriers moved up a gear with Lee Vaughan particularly impressing with incisive runs down the right flank and frequently beating the Moors' left back and delivering some quality balls. Mike Williams - playing at centre back in the first half - played an incisive ball out wide which Vaughan managed to get on the end of and whip in a cross that Paul Connor missed but Matty Blair hit a half volley into the side-netting.
Shortly afterwards the same situation occurred on the left flank as Stuart Giddings crossed for Dennis, who could only head straight into the ground.
With Solihull looking dangerous on the break it was important for the Harriers to open the scoring and Nathan Hayward came close on thirty five minutes, hitting the post after a pull back from Blair. Unfortunately, as Harriers' chances were foiled, the Moors' luck was in. Dean Lea intercepted a pass in the centre circle and slipped a ball past Michael Briscoe and Julian English sent Andrew Stephens the wrong way to open the scoring.
Moments later the lead was doubled. Ryan Beswick was brought down cynically by Briscoe and he took the free kick straight at Stephens, who made a Rob Green-esque error to allow the ball to slip into the corner of the net.
HT: Solihull Moors 2 Harriers 0:
Seven substitutes were introduced after the break for Harriers; Dave Hankin, Danny Lewis, Mark Albrighton, Tom Shaw, Keith Briggs, James McPike and Tom Sharpe replacing Stephens, Vaughan, Giddings, Byrne, Hayward, Paul Connor and Matty Blair. It was the fresh face of Dave Hankin which made an immediate impact, beating the opposition left back frequently, he managed to square to ex-Birmingham City youth team player James McPike to flick past Moors' replacement goalkeeper Tom Overfield.
After a long spell of possession and some good passing play between all of the Harriers players, equilibrium was restored. Pressure was mounting and as one cross was cleared away it was picked up by Kristian Dennis who turned quickly to get a shot away. The shot was deflected and left keeper Overfield flat footed and the ball flew into the net far away from any flapping hands.
Despite several half chances for Kidderminster it was to be Solihull Moors who prevailed as winners. Ross Dempster ran at Mark Albrighton, who slipped, and as the forward progressed towards the penalty spot Albrighton yanked him back giving away a stone-wall penalty. Dempster stepped up and buried a sublime penalty right into the corner of the goal, just away from the grasp of a full-stretch Danny Lewis.
FT: Solihull Moors 3 Harriers 2:
Stevens (Lewis, 46); Vaughan (Sharpe, 46); Giddings (Albrighton, 46); Williams; Byrne (Briggs, 46); Briscoe (Caines, 71); Hayward ( Shaw, 46); Gittings (Hadley, 59); Connor (McPike, 46); Dennis; Blair (Hankin, 46).
Unused subs: Hull; Thompson-Brown.
Singh (Atkins, 46); Midworth (Coe, 46); Langdon; Clarke; Streete; Tiernan; Lea (Garvey, 46); English; West (Cunnington, 27); Price (Dempster, 46); Beswick (Overfield, 72).
Referee: M Howes.