It took a wonderfully struck free kick from James McQuilkin to decide this eagerly awaited game between to sides pencilled in for honours at the end of the season. It was the first ever meeting between the Harriers and the darlings of the BBC - Salford City. Just think if the BBC hadn't upped sticks and gone to Manchester but to Birmingham instead it could have been Tamworth as the TV darlings instead. No, we'll stick with Salford.
With McQuilkin back in the starting eleven following his one match ban Ashley Carter dropped to the bench at the expense of Robert Stambolziev. Actually I would have let Stam keep his place because he has more to offer the team.
We started the game cautiously and allowed the Mancunians to dictate the early passages of play. They had come with the intention of not letting us have the ball from the off and hoping to get an early goal but that all came to an end in the ninth minute when we were handed a free kick on the edge of their area. As usual we decided to allow four player to line up around the ball and leave the minimal amount waiting for the ball to come in. Elton N'Gwatala stepped up to take it as another player - I think it was Waite - jumped over it as it rolled to McQuilkin and he lashed it home on the end of the pin-point from twenty five yards out.
They responded with a shot from Craig King that went over the bar but that goal had changed the format of the game as we began to put our passes together and rip Salford to shreds. They weren't having any of that so resorted to the strong arm tactics that they have become known for this season. As usual the timid referee was lenient enough to let some of the tackles pass him by.
We should have gone on to at least double our lead just before the half hour when a melee in front of the Salford goal saw the ball go up and over the bar as Tyrone Williams tried a back heel that went slightly wrong. We then had another open goal chance spurned when, just before the break, Mani Dieseruvwe headed way over the bar from all of two yards out following a fine cross in from Tyrell Waite.