Harriers 0 Birmingham City 4
With this being the final friendly game of pre-season it would only be natural to expect a strong side made up of those players hoping to see their names down for the coach up to Curzon Ashton in four days time. How wrong could we be? What we saw was a weak Harriers side up against a strong line-up from the Blues. It was boys against bigger boys.
On the teamsheet were some new names to us that, I believe, were supposed to have been announced yesterday. Robert Stambolziev and Liam Truslove had already been on trial for us before but I'm not so sure about Michael Onovwigun and the rest were basically second stringers apart from Jared Hodgkiss. Ok, Ashley Carter and Sam Austin too.
As to the game itself then there was nothing to say that was ten pound well spent. From the very first minute we struggled to show any semblance of skill and the first two minutes it was basically mis-placed passes and suicidal back passes from the trialist. It took Birmingham just two minutes to open the scoring when a through ball let in Kyle Storers son Jack Storer to pounce and take the ball forward, with the Harriers defence at sixes and sevens, before shooting into the net beyond the rooted Jono Brown. The second Blues goal came in the eighth minute when again suspect defensive duties allowed Andrew Shinnie to break through and slot the ball home between the fumbling hands of the keeper.
That goal seemed to wake us up a bit and we began to try a little harder but everytime a Blues player bore down on goal it was heart in mouth time. We were trying our luck from distance with Carter having two strikes in two minutes that could have gone in if it hadn't been for opposition bodies in the way. Apart from that we looked unlikely to score.
The third goal for the visitors came on the half hour when James Vaughan broke through while Carter dithered on the ball and then capitalised on a parry from Brown after his initial shot was pushed back towards him.
The second period started with George Taylor replacing Andre Brown who had been having another poor game and at least Taylor did try to put himself about a bit. We still didn't seem able to build anything resembling a shot on goal though and the biggest cheer of the night came when ex Harrier Luke Maxwell came on midway for his new team but strangely he was getting booed by his own fans whenever he touched the ball.
The fourth goal was yet another defensive mistake when this time Jono Brown gave the ball to Onovwigun to clear but the number eight passed it straight to a Blues player who then gave the ball to Storer to wrap up his brace. In the final few minutes Wayne Thomas went off injured with all of our subs having been used.
Verdict? What was the point of it all? The team throughout the game were clueless and lost with the experience of Hodgkiss and Thomas not being used to help the kids through. Where was James McQuilkin? Where was Arthur Gnahoua? Where was Emmanuel Dieseruvwe? and Zaine Francis-Angol, Elton N'Gwatala. Ousmane Fané? has he gone to Oldham yet?
Someone by me said it was because the place was crawling with scouts (there was one sat next to me) and we didn't want to put our players in the shop window!! What nonsense. I can understand Elton being hidden from prying eyes but not McQuilkin, Keith Lowe and ZFA.
I wonder what I missed on the telly tonight?
J Brown, Hodgkiss (Millichamp), Hancocks (Smith), Carter (Clarke), Trialist, Thomas, Austin, Onovwigun (Forsyth), A Brown (Taylor), Truslove, Stambolziev.
Subs: Palmer, Taylor, Clarke, Forsyth, Millichamp, Smith.
Legzdins, Caddis, Bernard (McDonald), Cleary (Harding), Robinson, Cogley, R Brown, Cooper (Maxwell), Storer, Shinnie, Vaughan.
Subs: Weaver, McFarlane, Harding, McDonald, Maxwell.
Ref: Mr J Brooks (Leicestershire)