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Harriers 2 Woking 0

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Date: 25-02-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1448gif away fans: 34
Harriers respond in the best way possible

gif Report by Richard Cranium
Andy Thorn's Kidderminster Harriers team gained a much needed win tonight after they beat Woking 2-0.  Two changes were made to the team which drew against Braintree last Saturday, with Amari Morgan-Smith coming in for Freddie Ladapo and Jack Byrne replacing Santiago Aloi.

As the match kicked off there was an immediate impact on the scoreline, with the Harriers going a goal up within minutes when Adrian Cieslewicz hit a low cross across the Woking box and allowed Amari Morgan-Smith to add to his recent goals tally by placing a shot at the near post.  It was a goal which bewildered purely for the fact that the Woking defence and goalkeeper appeared to do little to prevent it, but it was a meaningful one which allowed both players and fans alike to calm any nerves and prevent too many hostile chants being aimed towards the under pressure manager.

The pattern of the first half, and indeed most of the match, showed both teams battling predominantly in the middle of the pitch to gain control of the ball from the air and take it down, in what was a fairly scrappy game punctuated by various chances for each team - although many of these failed to be clear-cut.  Woking soon had chances to equalise as the ball was failed to be cleared by Harriers' defenders, but in the resulting melee a shot from the edge of the box was well blocked by Josh O'Keefe.

Soon after the Woking winger, Kevin Betsy who looked a threat all game when running with the ball, managed to weave a mazy run through the Harriers defence before finally being tackled around fifteen yards out.  Perhaps Wokings greatest chance came as Jack Marriott found himself in behind the Harriers defence, although outside of the box, with goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan some way off his line he tried an audacious lob which looked to have the pace and dip correct but dropped wide of the target.

Harriers reply saw Cieslewicz, who had one of his better games since joining from Wrexham in January, get through on goal but have his 1-on-1 shot was saved well by the Woking 'keeper Aaron Howe, before later shooting straight at the goalkeeper once again after Anthony Malbon played him in well.

There were a few more half-chances which worried each defence, but the half time whistle soon came.
  HT: 1 - 0
The early periods of the second half were very scrappy and saw few real chances in the first ten to fifteen minutes, but Harriers slowly tightened their grip on the game as the confidence seemed to appear back in their play.

The first chances for the Reds came from free-kicks, with Amari Morgan-Smith blazing one over the bar, before another was awarded a few minutes later.  This time it was the captain, Kyle Storer, who stepped up to take it and it was an excellent kick he produced, whipping the ball from the left hand side around the wall and into the bottom right corner to double the lead.

Wokings efforts to get back into the game almost saw them claw one goal back minutes later when an excellent shot was hit from around twenty five yards out but matched superbly by Nathan Vaughan, who parried it away.  However he couldn't stop the rebound which was miraculously cleared only yards away from goal, before the ball was finally in the net, thankfully it was called offside.

Harriers finished the match strongly and were unlucky not to get a third goal; excellent link-up play between Morgan-Smith and Malbon saw 'Malbs' release Morgan-Smith through on goal, and although he was able to round the goalkeeper his shot was expertly saved.  He then squared the rebound to his strike partner, who desperately deserved a goal for his hard-work in only his second game since returning to the starting line-up, but Malbon was tackled before he managed to get his shot away.

Once again, Malbon almost turned provider when he slipped Cieslewicz into the box but yet again the winger's shot failed to go in due to a combination of a good save along with a shot which was slightly too close to the goalkeeper.  A late Callum Gittings (on for Jack Byrne) cross met Malbon behind the back post, and it was only this piece of woodwork which prevented the striker's header from crossing the line as he dropped to his knees, frustrated that his hard-work wasn't reaping the returns of a goal.

The last ten minutes played out with Woking attempting to put pressure on the Kidderminster goal, but failing to produce much other than a few long shots which Vaughan managed to save or parry, and eventually the final whistle was blown, providing Harriers with a vital win, and a rare clean sheet to boot.

My Man of the Match is going to be Anthony Malbon - he worked tremendously hard and, although he tired towards the end, seems to be battling fitness issues which have hindered him.  Unlucky not to score, and could have had a couple of assists from his excellent link-up play had finishing been better, although it has to be said that the Woking goalkeeper had a superb game.
  FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Morgan-Smith 1, Storer 69


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Anthony Malbon



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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Woking  goals   subs   cards 
N Vaughan     Howe  
Jackman     Cestor gif  
Demetriou     Nutter  
Storer gif     Ricketts  
Dunkley     McNerney gif  
Gowling   Goddard  
Byrne gif     Payne  
O'Keefe     Murtagh
Morgan-Smith gif     Marriott
Malbon     Rendell  
Cieslewicz     Betsy  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Lewis     Beasant  
Grimes     Sole gif - 10gif  
Gittings gif - 81     Brice gif - 85  
Rowe     McNamee  
Aloi     Beckles gif - 74  

REFEREE:
Mr R Wigglesworth
South Yorkshire





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