Kidderminster Harriers secured a fantastic Boxing Day derby win against Hereford United at Edgar Street this afternoon. The Harriers, backed by 755 festive inspired fans who were in fine voice, could've had more than the eventual one goal although Danny Lewis made some superb saves to keep a clean sheet at the other end.
In a surprise to all, Harriers defender Josh Gowling kept his place in the starting line-up, despite going off injured against Dartford in the 5-1 win at the weekend. Whether this was a calculated measure to confuse their opposition this afternoon, or a late fitness test is unknown, but Gowling played his part in the win by being solid at the back.
With the close proximity of the clubs it's no surprise that Hereford's line-up featured a few ex-Harriers players, with Brian Smikle starting up front for the Bulls, and James McQuilkin on the bench. The non-league journeyman forward also helped lead the line for Hereford, with little to show for it.
Harriers started the game brightly and within six minutes they had snatched a lead they wouldn't relinquish. A corner was worked into the box and, after it bobbled around the area, the ball fell to Jamille Matt and, in his fine form, it was no surprise when the ball found its way past James Bittner in the Hereford goal to send the Harriers fans into raptures at the other end of the, er, stadium.
It was then Hereford who attacked for the rest of the half, with Harriers chances sparse. Marley Watkins and lanky midfielder Sam Clucas were a thorn in the side of the Harriers midfield, with them attempting to carve out chances for Kyle Perry and Smikle who couldn't make the most of them The latter drawing a superb save from Lewis who tipped his shot over the bar.
Then came the biggest chance for Hereford of the game, and it came from one of the Harriers defenders. Watkins worked a ball into the box and, in an attempt to block it, the ball came off Cheyenne Dunkley with power and Lewis had to have sharp reactions to keep the ball out.
It was mainly through free-kicks and corners that Hereford threatened from but failed to make the most of them and with thick black clouds looming the Harriers went into the break leading by that solitary Matt opener.