Kidderminster Harriers 3 Woking 0
21 March 2009
Hopes that the Cards could build on their recent improved form by getting at least a point at Aggborough proved sadly misplaced as they left the field this afternoon well beaten by a Kidderminster side who look a good bet for the play-offs on this showing.
Woking defended well ? indeed, largely comfortably ? till just before half-time when a defensive mix-up allowed Harriers to score a soft goal from a long-range free-kick. Once behind, Phil Gilchrist?s side never looked like getting back in the game, creating next to nothing in front of goal.
Woking?s injury woes continued with the news that, after one appearance, new signing Alex Rhodes had been added to the list of Kingfield crocks. Paolo Vernazza, though, returned in midfield, as did Colin Miles in defence, although once again he didn?t last the course, having to be replaced by Dan Sintim.
On a sunny but eventually chilly afternoon the momentum soon lay with the home side, with Justin Richards and Matthew Barnes-Homer looking dangerous up front and Russ Penn prompting well from midfield. But the Cards were defending well, with Paul Lorraine prominent as usual, and there was some determined harrying in midfield by Oliver Bozanic in particular.
The Harriers? first real attempt on goal came in the 18th minute when Richards swivelled to hit a long throw over the bar. The pressure continued temporarily as Lorraine made a vital interception to cut out a cross and Knowles punched clear.
Shortly afterwards the Cards managed their first real attack of the game, with bodies flying in as they attempted to get on the end of a Bozanic free-kick. Then another promising foray forwards ended with a disappointing cross by Konan behind the goal.
Cards fans? hopes were raised still further as Domoraud seized on an excellent ball down the left flank from Anderson but his shot was blocked, from a tight angle, as he homed in on goal.
More fine defending followed as Miles made a superb block ? at the cost of injuring himself ? and Anderson coolly headed a cross out for a corner after the influential Penn had put in another dangerous ball.
Woking got forward again, winning a second corner, but a back header fell easily for Bartlett in the home goal.
Konan unnecessarily risked a penalty as he tugged at Richards?s shirt but, fortunately, it was on the blind side of the assistant referee. Kidderminster had a great chance to take the lead in the 38th minute when a cross looped over Konan to Penn near the far post, left unmarked by Bossman, but his first-time volley went over the bar.
You felt that if the Cards could make it safely to half-time at 0-0 they might be able to make more headway in the second half, with a fresh-ish breeze at their backs. But all the good work was undone just before half-time when a long free-kick from Riley produced confusion in the hitherto sound Woking defence. Knowles didn?t come for it. Lorraine looked as though he might. And before you knew it, with one bounce, the ball was in the back of the net.
Half-time: Kidderminster Harriers 1 Woking 0
The Cards? second half display was, frankly, very disappointing. They simply didn?t get going, rarely getting anywhere near the Harriers? goal, and by the end they looked well beaten.
In contrast, the home side came out clearly very intent on grabbing a second goal to wrap the game up, putting some flowing moves together. The Cards survived an early, vociferous, appeal for a penalty and increased the pressure on themselves as they gave away several free-kicks around the box. About the only threat at the other end came from a Bozanic corner which flew low right across the face of the goal.
The Cards? defence began to look a little rattled as Lorraine and Knowles exchanged sharp words and there was an increasing reliance on pumping the ball clear.
The decisive second goal came in the 68th minute ? from Justin Richards, of course. Penn broke quickly out of defence on the left. The play was switched to Richards in plenty of space out on the right. From 25 or 30 yards out he hit a magnificent dipping shot over Knowles and into the far corner to make it 2-0 ? and game over ? to the home side.
Barnes-Homer was foiled by Knowles before Phil Gilchrist threw on Liam Marum but it was a good ten minutes before he got into the game and then it was in defensive mode.
With a quarter of an hour to go, the game was becoming virtually one-way traffic as the Harriers began to turn on a bit of a display. Richards nearly grabbed his second of the afternoon but his far post header was brilliantly parried by Knowles before being gathered safely.
The Cards rallied briefly as Joel Ledgister, now added to the fray, headed on into the area but he was easily blocked off. There were ironic cheers from the home fans when Bossman unleashed what was probably Woking?s first shot of the second half ? but it was well off target. Ledgister went closer with a free-kick but, though well directed, it was a comfortable save for Bartlett. A third shot followed, this time from Bozanic.
But Kidderminster went closer, hitting the post at the end of a great move before making it 3-0 as McPhee headed in a cross from the right, which Knowles could only get his fingertips to.
By now Cards? heads seemed to have sunk and it wouldn?t have been a surprise to see further damage inflicted on their goal difference. The afternoon was summed up as Marum?s cross sailed way behind the goal.
It is hard to take much comfort from this afternoon?s display. Defensively solid until we conceded, we were unable to dictate play in midfield, rarely got the ball down properly and looked toothless up front.
With some more, very tough, games to come, including a return encounter against the Harriers on 1 April, Phil Gilchrist will need to use the nine-day break to get his players fit and raring to go again after this setback.
Woking: Danny Knowles, Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Colin Miles (Dan Sintim, 60), Joe Anderson, Kelvin Bossman, Matt Pattison (Joel Ledgister, 78), Oliver Bozanic, Paolo Vernazza, Kelvin Bossman, Rob Elvins (Liam Marum,72), Wilfried Domoraud
Unused subs: Ross Worner, Goma Lambu
Booked: Paul Lorraine, Paolo Vernazza
My MOTM: Joe Anderson (pictured)