On an uncharacteristically baking hot October afternoon Kidderminster Harriers triumphed over Grimsby Town in a game of two halves. Harriers went in 3-1 up at the break and nearly lost the lead late on but resilient defending by Kidderminster saw the game out as they ran out 3-2 winners.
Lee Morris returned to the side at the expense of Marc Williams and Mark Albrighton started in the place of the injured Ollie Thorne in only two changes to the home side. The travelling squad saw in-form Robert Eagle starting the game after scoring two goals in mid-week against Forest Green Rovers as Grimsby came to Aggborough for the first time since 2005 where they relegated 'The Harriers' from the Football League.
In fact Kidderminsters goalkeeper Danny Lewis was on the bench that day and was the only player out of the thirty two that played today to have been involved on that fateful day five years ago.
Today's game had everything: atmosphere, goals, heart-in-mouth defending late on from the home side and bad tackles. Harriers took the lead after a mere five minutes, early goals being something that is something characteristic of this side, when Chris McPhee had the ball in the net after Morris had a shot inside the right hand side of the area. It was saved, but parried away, by the Grimsby goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell but rushing in for the rebound was McPhee who made no mistake in bundling the ball over the line with the help of the crossbar to give the home side the lead.
This was doubled six minutes later as the Harriers won a corner which was taken short on the left side by Callum Gittings to Mike Williams who crossed the ball over and missed a whole group of heads until it came to Matty Blair outside the area. He hooked a shot in across goal into the top right hand corner giving O'Donnell no chance and the Harriers a well deserved two goal lead. It could've been a cross or a shot, but either way it didn't matter as it was a well taken goal by the young winger and Kidderminster were two goals to the good.
Nine minutes later and the goalscorer could've been carried off on a stretcher as Blair burst forward again with real pace beating his man with ease and then looked to take it round Darren Kempson who must've known himself that he stood no chance of catching the speedy ex-Telford man. This didn't deter him though and he came rushing in like a steam train and ploughed straight through Blair, leaving the winger on the floor and the home fans baying for blood and what should have been a certain red card.
The referee didn't quite see it the same and Kempson only got a yellow card. Blair recovered quickly though as in the 22nd minute he helped produce a fantastic move by running down the right hand side and, with his trickery, gave the Mariners defence problems. He slipped the ball to Morris who in turn played it inside to Keith Briggs but the Harriers captain hoofed the ball straight out of the ground with an abysmal volley which was a shame as the move deserved a goal.
In the 31st minute Grimsby got a goal back when the Harriers defence suffered a severe lack of communication as Albrighton and Williams got in each others way in trying to tackle Peter Bore. Williams eventually got the tackle in that Lee Vaughan couldn't intercept and, as he slipped, Rob Eagle 'swooped' onto the ball and hit a sweet shot low to Danny Lewis' right leaving the Harriers keeper with no chance and giving Eagle two goals in three games.
This didn't dampen the Harriers spirits as Blair notched a second three minutes later and again the goal came from a corner. Gittings whipped the ball in deep to Jack Byrne who won his header and put the ball towards goal where it was met by the on-rushing Blair who nodded the ball past O'Donnell to quickly restore Kidderminsters two goal advantage.
The home side controlled the remainder of the half with the only other thing happening of note was Albrighton nearly pulling the shirt off Alan Connell's back inside the penalty area with it clear to a section of the North Stand what was going on. As usual the linesman saw nothing and Albrighton got away with it however he might not have been as lucky with a more eagle-eyed assistant.