The Harriers took a further step towards relegation today with this, frankly, abysmal showing at home to play off chasing Tranmere Rovers. Granted we had a few injuries in the camp, and star player Ben Whitfield phoned in sick, but to hope to compete in this league with no back up players is shocking. Playing Kelvin Langmead as a make shift centre forward while leaving wide open spaces at the back was inexcusable and shows that we have no strength in depth and what we do have will never be good enough.
Next season in the Conference North half this team will no longer be with us due to the good ones wanting to better themselves and the bad ones not being good enough for that division either.
Other changes to the side at the start of the game was Tyrone Williams dropping to the back in place of the dropped Jared Hodgkiss. Arthur Gnahoua out injured giving Jordan Jones a start out wide - or was he defending?. Omari Patrick came in for Whitfield while Luke Maxwell also dropped to the bench to allow Jordan Tunnicliffe his first start in months as was Elton N'Gwatala.
We ended up with a dis-jointed looking team with players being played out of position and two of our better players stuck on the bench. I thought we were supposed to be saving ourselves from the drop but today was a recipe for relegation.
Tranmere arrived here at Aggborough for the first time ever bringing along with them a fair number of fans and Lee Vaughan at right back. Also on the bench for them was another former Harriers defender in Martin Riley but he was, eventually, to play no part in the game. Also in defence for them was Jon Parkins doppelganger, Steve McNulty and up front was the aged Gary Taylor-Fletcher who we first came up against playing for Leyton Orient in 2002. Also turning out for them was the self proclaimed Lord James Norwood of Forest Green and it was his Lordship that scored both goals but found himself offside more often than not.
It was us that had the first real chance of the game when a cross from Lewis Kinsella found the head of Langmead. He jumped, for the only time in the game, and sent a powerful downward header towards the keeper. Scott Davies dropped it down between his legs and somehow managed to stop it wriggling in under him. That was basically our last effort on goal.
Norwood was the first to show for Rovers with a shot that Max O'Leary, making his home debut, collected easily. He had no such luck with the opening goal ten minutes later though when poor defending allowed Michael Ihiekewes' lob to drop between them and the keeper leaving Norwood looking fractionally offside but clear on goal. He easily converted the chance to put his side into the driving seat.
He had numerous chances following that to increase the lead further but was either profligate in front of goal or getting caught offside. The best of his chances was a volley sent just over the bar with the best of ours falling to Langmead again when he sent another header just wide. Pity he isn't as useful with his feet and that's what a centre forward needs more than anything else.
We had another good effort falling the way of Kinsella that went over the bar but that was it for the first half and Rovers went into the break with the lead.