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Harriers 0 Luton Town 2


Date: 14-08-12gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2275gif away fans: 542
Harriers crash to two first half goals

gif Report by Harry Taylor
Kidderminster Harriers fell to their second defeat of the season when they were soundly beaten by Luton Town at Aggborough.  Following the 1-0 loss at Lincoln on Saturday, Steve Burr rang the changes with Kyle Storer, Anthony Malbon, Marvin Johnson and Jack Byrne coming into the side, with Ricky Shakes, Danny Pilkington, Callum Gittings and Mickey Demetriou making way for them.

The Hatters, who fell at the play-off final last season in their bid to regain their football league status, looked impressive and their forward line packed a punch with Jon Shaw, Scott Rendell and Stuart Fleetwood all part of a potent strikeforce.

Jack Byrne had the first chance of the game when he burst through on goal but, under pressure from defenders, put his shot wide.  Luton then started to get a stranglehold on the game which they never really relinquished, Rendell hitting the bar with a header after he was unmarked inside the area.

Minutes later the first goal of Fleetwood's brace came.  JJ O'Donnell played a tentative through ball that Briggs attempted to claim was offside, Stuart Fleetwood advanced on goal and slotted the ball between a prone Danny Lewis who was too slow in coming off his line.

Their lead was then doubled soon after, Fleetwood getting the ball completely unmarked twenty yards from goal and curled a low shot past Lewis into the bottom left corner.  A complete defensive failure, leaving a prolific striker like Fleetwood unmarked is a fatal error and one that proved costly for Harriers tonight.

The defensive errors continued after a free-kick was floated into the area.  Janos Kovács challenged with Exodus Geohaghon and the former coming out on top, forcing Lewis to dive low to keep the header out.

In truth the first half was a far cry from the play-off chasing side of last season; no inventiveness, no real goal threat and defensively we were awful.  Geohaghon looked like a Sunday League defender, constantly being caught out of position and was hardly leading by example.

Considering that Luton will be a side that we will be challenging come the end of the season, if we are to secure that illusive play-off spot, we looked light years away from them.
  HT: 0 - 2
The aforementioned improvement came with an improved spell in the early stages of the second half with some more, better, possession and pressure on the Luton goal but nothing in the way of shots on goal.  The Harriers were being guilty of trying to walk the ball into the goal.

Marvin Johnson was played through on goal, with a counter-attack that looked promising, but he stuttered when receiving the ball and failed to capitalise on his position.  Ryan Austin then had a chance when he got the ball unmarked from a free-kick but it came onto his weaker foot and he could only put his shot into the side-netting.

Changes were made soon after, Danny Pilkington looking promising after his introduction and Ricky Shakes looking ineffectual after getting little of the ball.  The final whistle went and we move on to playing another side still to get off the mark, Mansfield Town, on Saturday.

An improvement needs to be made in performance if we are to get any points.  Mansfield, despite their form at the start of the season, have made some good signings in the close-season, including the former Luton centre-back George Pilkington and Harriers' top-scorer last season, Nick Wright.  We need a better defence and to be more resolute and composed with Geohaghon not racing out of the defensive line every five minutes.  The midfield needs to be more creative and all round better performance is needed.
  FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Luton: Fleetwood 22, 30

Harrys MotM is:

gif Anthony Malbon

gif Report by Arno Bryant & Steve Williams
The first home game for the Harriers was a frustrating one when they lost to a seemingly better prepared Luton side thanks to two goals from Stuart Fleetwood.

It was a shaky start for the Harriers who couldn't gel anything together before Luton had the first clear cut chance inside ten minutes.  After confusion at the back Scott Rendell fired a header against the crossbar.

It wasn't long before Luton did get the opener.  Stuart Fleetwood, who was allowed lots of room by big central defender Exodus Geohaghon, fired a curling effort right around Danny Lewis to put the visitors up after twenty two minutes.

This seemed to knock some fight out of the Reds and inevitably soon after Fleetwood doubled Lutons' lead.  It was one similar to the first, room was there for him to compose, shoot and curl another past Lewis.  This left the carpet men running out of ideas going into half time.

The Harriers were lucky not to be three goals down after Jan Kovács aimed for the same corner where Fleetwood had his success, but his effort was met by the Harriers stopper and turned away.  Marvin Johnson had a chance to half the lead with a header but it was no problem for Mark Tyler, the Luton goalie.
  HT: 0 - 2
Steve Burr looked to have fired some enthusiasm into his side at half time and the midfield three of Kyle Storer, Jack Byrne and JamesVincent were seeing more of the ball, and helping put some decent pressure on the Luton goal, although without return.  There were a number of corners although they were all either over or under hit leaving the Luton goal relatively untested.

Anthony Malbon kept working hard to try and create some chances for himself but, although Harriers were competent at keeping the ball around the half way mark, they lacked creativity in the final third.

This lead to Luton having another chance and the Reds had to rely once more on Lewis to keep out the Hatters. This time it was from JJ O'Donnell's shot.

Malbon had a chance to score after that though when it was worked through to him after he made a smart run down the right hand side.  He then fired across goal and it beat Tyler, but sadly the post too.

The game started to fizzle out with fifteen minutes to go and it became more 'end-to-end'.  Once more our play in the final third let the Harriers down, relying on long range efforts from Vincent, and a tame shot from substitute Danny Pilkington.

Luton created the better chances though and it almost saw a hat-trick for Fleetwood, but his powerful shot from inside the box came back off the upright.

Malbon had the last of the chances with a header that went into the ground and wide and that summed up a disappointing night for the Harriers who will be hoping for better this Saturday afternoon against Mansfield who again had four goals put past them in two games.  It will still need a solid defence, with communication, and more invention going forward.  It'll be another chance to see the first Harriers goal of the season and hopefully the first point as well.
  FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Luton: Fleetwood 22, 30

Arno & Steves MotM is:

gif Jack Byrne

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Luton Town  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Tyler  
Briggs     Rowe-Turner  
Williams     Taylor  
Storer     Henry  
Geohaghon     O'Donnell  
Austin     Kovács
Byrne     Lawless  
Vincent   Kasim  
Rowe gif     Shaw gif  
Malbon     Fleetwood gif gif  
Johnson gif     Rendell
SUBS:         SUBS:      
N Vaughan     Brill  
Demetriou     Beckwith  
Pilkington gif     Robinson gif  
Dunkley     Gray gif
Shakes gif     Walker  

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