Harriers Online. The wonderful world of Kidderminster Harriers

A fans view. 13

End of season review - 06-07....
..by Harry211...23-05-07

The 2006/2007 season for us was the season of ultimate contrast with extreme lows at the start of the season with relegation starting to creep into everybodies heads, then onto the latter part of the season amazing highs at Wembley and the unbeaten run.

Scott Bevan The season started dreadfully at home to newly promoted St Albans.    Expectations were high and many people thought it may even be a walkover, but how wrong we were as it took them just nine minutes to silence the Aggborough faithful with a Paul Hasim goal after Dwaine Lee had made an awful defensive mistake to allowed them to pass a through ball to Hasim who slotted it past Scott Bevan (left).

The goals continued to fly past Bevan and the stupendously bad Harriers defence.    In the final minute of stoppage time Jeff Kenna scored with a beautiful free kick.

The Harriers following were then served up a bore draw at Burton but finally after two shoddy games we got our first win of the season away at Northwich courtesy of a Luke Reynolds goal.    We then went on a bad spell of 360 minutes (4 games or 6 hours) until Simon Russell scored his first goal of the campaign and a goal which probably saved Mark Yates' job.

During that time we signed former player Iyseden Christie (right) back on loan, Harriers later made the move permanent in January following his release from Rochdale.    We then went and lost to York away and the following Tuesday was the game which was the make or break night of Mark Yates' young managerial career.

Iyseden Christie Most fans felt that he had to win against Southport to keep his job.    The game attracted the lowest attendance of all season which surely must have said something.    The game was quiet until just after half time when Christie broke away through the Southport defence and placed a cross onto Andy White's head to give us a precarious one goal lead.

In the 74th minute Gavin Hurren received the ball 20 yards out and let fly with a rip roaring shot that flew straight past the Southport keeper into the net.    Finally after 10 games the Harriers had won at home.

We built on that win with another fine victory at Morecambe the Saturday after and we moved away from the lower reaches of the table.    Sadly those wins were then followed by two straight defeats and the fans were again starting to think that we were going to return to old ways.

By then the defensive loan signing Gavin Cowan and liability Dwayne Lee had left, Dean Sturridge had picked up an injury that would keep him out for the remainder of his time here but Reuben Reid had joined us on a month loan from Plymouth Argyle along with Paul Bignot (below), brother of former Harrier Marcus, from Crewe Alexandra.

Paul Bignot Harriers were back to winning ways as they entered October with a fine 2-1 win against play-off favourites Grays Athletic; Reuben Reid got a debut goal and Iyseden Christie scored a re-taken penalty.    We then picked up a point against top of the league Oxford, despite having Bignot sent off.    Another loan signing, Craig Nelthorpe from Doncaster came in.

This good run of result was followed by a bizarre loss to Aldershot.    Even though we were 2-1 up at half time Marcus Gayle came on to score a whirlwind hat trick to give the Shots a 4-2 win.    Harriers then thrashed eventual champions Dagenham and Redbridge 3-1 at their place.

A 5-1 trouncing of top of Conference North, Droylesden followed in a FA Cup qualifier, but we were eliminated two weeks later by Morecambe who were later knocked out by Swindon.

The Harriers then drew 2-2 at home to our bogey side Forest Green with Issy getting a late penalty equaliser and then the Harriers drew away at Exeter with Russ Penn getting the goal and Reuben Reid getting sent off.

Then started one of the most marvellous run of results I have ever seen in my five years as a Harriers fan as we went unbeaten for thirteen games beating the likes of Gravesend, Southport and York City.    The run lasted two months and we scored twenty four goals in total for all of our matches (including the FA Trophy) but again our achillies heel, Forest Green ended the run with a 2-1 win at the rain sodden New Lawn.

The run earned Mark Yates the Manager of the Month award for December.

We were then comprehensively beaten 2-0 by Exeter at home with the infamous headbutting incident by Mark Yates on Lee Elam happening at the final whistle.

During these two months we had signed James Constable on loan, then eventually signed him for £20,000, and progressed to the Quarter Finals of the FA Trophy with the final being held at the new Wembley Stadium if it was finished.

On the 20th of February we were thrashed by Dagenham who got their revenge for us beating them earlier in the season.    They won 4-1 thanks to a superb Paul Benson goal and a Jeff Kenna own goal.    We then had a FA Trophy Quarter final to play against Halifax and after going 1-0 down at half time thanks to a header just before the interval, we then showed our resilience and staged an amazing comeback to win 3-1 including a bewildering goal from Russell Penn as Craig Mawson allowed a rolling shot to bounce under his body and in from about 35 yards out.

March started badly for the Harriers with a 2-1 defeat at Gravesend with Luke Reynolds scoring a sublime overhead kick.    We then won 1-0 against Halifax in a poor game on a cold Tuesday night at Aggborough.

Harriers kick off at Northwich The following Saturday we had the first leg of our semi final of the FA Trophy against Northwich Victoria.    The actual Trophy was at the ground for that game to inspire the players to a great Harriers performance that saw us win 2-0 with Gavin Hurren and James Constable scoring to give us a aggregate advantage.

The following Tuesday night at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford saw the so called big boys fall victim to a superb volleyed goal from Simon Russell.    It silenced the Oxford fans apart from an angry motorcyclist who roared away from the ground with a spinning of tyres and a plume of smoke.

Then came the game that everybody in Kidderminster had been waiting for, the 2nd leg of the semi final.    In front of a massive following of Harriers fans we went down to two early goals from Carlos Roca and Matt Shaw that put us on equal footing with an aggregate 2-2 scoreline.    Luckily for us Mark Creighton scored his first goal for the club to put us back in command at half time as went in winning 3-2 on aggregate but losing 2-1 on the day which was a contrast of emotions.

The second half killed off Northwich's chances of going to Wembley thanks to a Russ Penn goal slotting the ball past Connett, even a dubious Michael Carr penalty couldn't stop the result which meant that we were going to Wembley!    This was brilliant for our status as a club meaning that we would be the first club to play there and maybe the first club to win a trophy there but it had a disastrous effect on our league form.

We drew three out of the next four games, the other one we lost 1-0 to Northwich! but the Harriers got back on the, sort of, play-off track with a 2-1 win at our final opponents Stevenage.

We then went on an awful spell and won just one game out of the next seven with the players and fans alike having one eye on date of the final, 12th May.    A reason for this poor spell could have been put down to the loan arrivals of Glenn Wilson and Jon Brady, who joined us from Rushden and Cambridge, but it was our own players that let us down in the end.

With Wembley fast approaching disaster stuck for full back Jonny Harkness when he was sent off against Aldershot and then two games later in our penultimate game of the season at Grays he got sent off again.    He was to miss what could be the biggest ever game of his life.

We finally ended the season in a respectable tenth place with a goal less bore draw at Crawley Town.

When the big day eventually came around we all packed sandwiches and jumped onto the coaches, leaving Kidderminster totally deserted.    Most people were two or so hours early (or was it just me) and were taken aback by the breathtaking stadium.    There was a party atmosphere in the home end for most of the match that day.

With Johnny Harkness suspended Michael Blackwood slotted in at left back and Brian Smikle played left midfield.    We exploited the shaky Stevenage defence in the first half with constant threatening from Simon Russell's runs down the wing and Christie and Constable our striking pair consistently causing havoc in the Stevenage defence.

After some warning shots the breakthrough for us came in the 31st minute with James Constable tapping in a blocked Christie shot.    They combined again for the second with a deft flick on by Christie sending Constable on a run and he slotted the ball past the opposing keeper Alan Julian.    At half time it was 2-0 and most fans thought we were home and dry and the Mexican Waves were regularly circulating around the Harriers end.

The Cup belongs at Aggborough In the second half we turned out a shocking contrast to the first half - it was the story of our season.

Stevenage scored three goals, the winner coming not so far from the end, and this broke Harriers fans and players hearts to send us home wondering how we had lost the lead.    That match summed up our season, one great big contrast.

In the close season we have now released Luke Reynolds, Andy White, Scott Eaton, Jake Sedgemore and Gary Hay.    Scott Bevan, Brian Smikle, Michael Blackwood, Russell Penn, Jeff Kenna, Gavin Hurren and Michael Mcgrath have all signed new contracts.

Yates has got his building blocks and the foundations are right, but can he build a good enough team to withstand next season?

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