Harriers 2 Walsall 3
How do you go from a comfortable 2-0 lead to a 3-2 defeat in the space of thirty second half minutes? You throw on a keeper that got rejected by us for not being good enough last season. That's how.
We had started the game somewhat nervously as Walsall tried hard for an early goal but confident keeping from Danny Lewis had kept the Saddlers out. Danny was making his first appearance for us since his return from a finger injury in an earlier friendly at Wulfrunians and looked as if he'd never been away. In goal for the visitors was the legendary Jimmy Walker, a true one club man.
After weathering the early storm we settled down and started to put some good moves together and that culminated in a peach of a goal for defender Ryan Austin. Walsall failed to clear their lines from a corner and the ball set up nicely for Austin to volley into the roof of the net.
We had a forced change to the team soon after when Anthony Malbon went off with a slight injury and Marvin Johnson came on in his place. Lucky for him because a few minutes later a fine solo run reaped it's reward when he jinked past a couple of Walsall defenders to fire the ball low under Walkers diving body for our second goal.
It could have been three just before the break but Walker did well to stop Ryan Rowe from scoring.
HT: Harriers 2 Walsall 0
1st half team:
Lewis, Dunkley, Geohaghon, Austin, Williams, Shakes, Vincent, Briggs, Pilkington, Rowe, Malbon (Johnson).
The second period started with a change to the keeper when Nathan Vaughan came on. Within a minute Walsall had pulled a goal back when James Paterson half struck the ball goalwards and Vaughan half fell on it. Too late.
Minutes later and Paterson had pulled them level when he waltzed past the Harriers defence and slipped the ball inside the far post and Vaughan too slow to react.
A slew of substitutions were made by Steve Burr following the goal and six players changed places. That change seemed to unsettle the side and it was obvious that Walsall would punish us for it. That happened soon after when Will Grigg struck the winning goal from twelve yards out.
The Harriers struggled following that and even two more subs, Paul McCone for Exodus Geohaghon and Justin Naisbitt for Danny Pilkington, didn't help matters and the game fizzled out to a home defeat for the Reds.
FT: Harriers 2 Walsall 3
2nd half team:
N Vaughan, Dunkley (Storer), Geohaghon (McCone), Austin (L Vaughan), Williams, Shakes (Demetriou), Vincent (Gittings), Briggs (Byrne), Pilkington (Naisbitt), Rowe (Guinan), Johnson.
Breaking bad news: It's just been announced we've signed Nathan Vaughan for next season. We cannot be serious?