Harriers 1 West Bromwich Albion 2
This, the second game of our pre-season friendlies, saw us up against a very strong West Brom side. The inclusion of Saido Berahino, Solomon Rondon, Darren Fletcher and Craig Gardner along with rising star Jonathon Leko and former Harriers loanee Ben Foster made it a worthwhile trip up to Aggborough. For the majority of the Albion fans it would also be their first sighting of new signing Matt Phillips from QPR. On the bench for them was another former loanee keeper with Alex Palmer occupying the bench.
None of the West Brom players that partook in the Euros 2016 were around so there was no James Chester, James McClean or Gareth McAuley.
Although we were beaten 2-1, and two good Berahino goals, we didn't look out of place against our illustrious Premiership opponents and matched them well throughout the first half. The second half we chose to field an almost different side comprised of mostly youngsters and we struggled manfully. Strangely our goal came during the weaker half.
The Albions opening goal came sixteen minutes in when Berahino slotted into the net following an earlier effort a few minutes previously that was saved by by new signing Sam Hornby in the Reds goal. Although we were trying hard to make the breakthrough we were up against a defence that were giving no quarter and Elton N'Gwatala, James McQuilkin and Andre Brown failed to threaten their goal.
We had the one change following the break with Triallist B coming out of the dressing room instead of Hornby. We had the first chance of the second period when N'Gwatala sent his shot just wide of the post and McQuilkin sent one blazing over.
The second Berahino goal came soon after and it was a mistake from Ashley Carter, who had been having a good game for us, mis-kicked and allowed the wantaway superstar the chance to run at it and send it too far from the reach of Triallist B and into the net. The keeper made up for that poor positioning towards the end of the game when he tipped a shot from Phillips around the post.
The closest we came to seeing the back of the net before that was when substitute Sam Austin slammed a shot against the foot of the post. We did get on the scoresheet a little later when two triallists combined to win a penalty after one of them was brought down in the area and duly got up to despatch an immaculate penalty past Ben Foster.
It was a good run out for the Harriers without really doing much threatening of the West Brom goal. For their part the visitors didn't need to raise their game beyond practice levels with possibly only Berahino trying hard. Maybe there were some scouts from the London clubs watching from the stand.
Hornby (Triallist B 46), Williams, Francis-Angol, Ousmane Fané, Lowe, Carter, Triallist A, McQuilkin, Brown, N'Gwatala, Gnahoua.
Subs: Triallist B, Hancocks, H Smith, Tunnicliffe, Forsyth, Austin, Taylor, Murphy, Triallist C, Triallist D, Triallist E, Triallist F, Triallist G.
Foster, Dawson, Fitzwater, Field, Yacob, Leko, Berahino, Gardner, Rondon, Phillips, Fletcher.
Subs: Palmer, Elbouzedi, J Smith, B Sweeney, McCourt.
Ref: Mr P Wright (Merseyside)