A change in fortunes wanted
2:52pm, Thu 29th Oct 2015
Kidderminster Harriers v Woking
3pm on Saturday 31 October 2015
Both the Cards and the Harriers will be hoping that Saturdayâ€™s game will mark a turning point in troubled times. The Harriers havenâ€™t won all season and sit bottom of the table, while the Cards, after a bright start to the campaign, have won only once in the last eight games. In addition, both clubs suffered comprehensive defeats to lower league opposition in last weekendâ€™s FA Cup games. For neutrals there will be at least a ghoulish interest in seeing who comes off worst on Saturday.
Garry Hillâ€™s decision to make the whole squad available for possible loans has made the headlines this week, attesting to the fact that this is the worst spell heâ€™s had to endure in what has otherwise been a markedly successful four and a half years in charge of the Club. The 3-0 defeat at Maidenhead United â€“ and its manner â€“ last weekend was clearly the final straw, leading to this eye-catching move. Presumably, the hope is that this will bring home to the squad just how unsatisfactory their performances have been of late and inspire a reaction. Of course, several of the current squad, including new arrival, striker Adam Cunnington, are on loan from other clubs and therefore not Wokingâ€™s to send out on loan, while no club will presumably be interested in signing the long-term injured and badly-missed Scott Rendell and Ismail Yakubu. But Woking fans will be fervently hoping that the message will get through to all the squad.
Although Woking have slipped to 16th place in the table, it is worth noting that they are only six points behind fifth-placed Tranmere Rovers with a game in hand â€“ but bridging that gap would certainly require a huge improvement over recent performances. At present the main concern is not to be dragged into a relegation fight.
The Harriersâ€™ underlying financial difficulties became very apparent last season as they were forced to allow a number of talented players to leave for pastures new, resulting in an over-reliance on young and inexperienced players and a fall down the table. Further substantial budget reductions over the summer left manager Gary Whild with an unenviable task and he lasted only eight games before it was announced that he would be leaving the club. After a good deal of confusion former Forest Green Rovers (and, very briefly, Leeds) manager Dave Hockaday was appointed as Whildâ€™s successor earlier this month. He had the misfortune of presiding over Kiddyâ€™s 3-0 FA Cup defeat at Stourbridge last weekend. He was quoted afterwards as saying: â€˜We cannot get any lower than that â€“ over my dead body. This club is too big to suffer that without a reactionâ€™, adding, â€˜That has to be the watershed moment. We cannot have three players performing and the rest showing no bravery or match-managementâ€™. Sentiments that Garry Hill might easily echo.
Kidderminster have drawn three and lost six league games at home this season, scoring six goals and conceding fifteen.
Hockaday has brought in seven players since taking over the reins at Aggborough but they are mainly young players on loan from League clubs and are, not surprisingly, struggling in a side lacking in confidence and experience. A few well-known names remain at the club, including striker Reece Styche and defender Jared Hodgkiss.
Official website: www.harriers.co.uk
The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 11.00am. The cost is Â£22 for members and Â£27 for non-members, with accompanied U16s at Â£11/Â£14. Ring (01483 772470) or email the Club Shop (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book your place.
Leave M5 at junction 4 (signposted A491 Stourbridge). After approximately five miles, turn left onto A456 and follow towards Kidderminster. At roundabout on Kidderminster Ring Road, take first exit (signposted A451 Stourport). At next roundabout, take first exit (signposted A448 Bromsgrove), then take first turning on right into Hoo Road for the ground. There is a car park (charge Â£5) behind the away section of the ground (the South Stand) and also at the Stadium Close car park (free).
The ground is only a very short walk from Kidderminster Station. You would need to get a train up to Birmingham New Street, via Basingstoke or from Euston, and then walk across to Birmingham Moor Street to pick up a train to Kidderminster. Look up www.trainline.com or www.nationalrail.co.uk for some options.
Kidderminsterâ€™s website gives the following directions from the station: â€œWalk down Comberton Hill towards the town centre and take the left turning just before Motorway Tyres near the bottom of the hill. Walk up Hoo Road for approximately half a mile to the Aggborough Stadium.â€� But there is a shortcut if you take the first turning on the left after leaving the station entrance on Comberton Hill; this leads to the public car park in Stadium Close.
Over 60s, Under 18s & Students: Â£8
Under 16s: Â£5
Under 8s: Free (standing or sitting)
Â£3 extra to sit for all but Under 8s.
Away supporters can stand in the South Stand or sit in Blocks L and M in the East Stand.
Aggborough is renowned for its hearty food, so arrive with a good appetite!
LAST TIME OUT
Kidderminster Harriers 1 Woking 1
14 February 2015
The Cards went into this game seeking their first away win since November but had to be satisfied with coming back from a goal down to claim a point against fellow play-off contenders.
The Harriers had more of the game in the first half but without creating anything out of a number of half chances. That changed, however, in the 39th minute when Lee Hughes, who had just returned to the club which kicked off his career, cut in and hit a shot which deflected off a divot to deceive Jake Cole.
The Cards went on the offensive immediately after the break, with John Goddard causing problems for the home defence. An equaliser came in the 68th minute when a Josh Payne corner was deflected into Yemi Odubadeâ€™s path by his strike partner, Scott Rendell. The on-loan Eastleigh forward slammed the ball home from seven yards.
For a while the Cards had the home side on the ropes but Jake Cole had to make a magnificent save to deny Obeng in a one-on-one encounter. Both sides pressed for the winner but could not make the decisive breakthrough.
Kidderminster Harriers: Danny Lewis, Kevin Nicholson, Jamie Grimes, Josh Gowling (c), Jared Hodgkiss, Aaron Wildig (Keyon Reffell 72), Jack Byrne, Aman Verma, Dominic Knowles (Ahmed Obeng 64), Lee Hughes (Akwsi Asante 80), Danny Wright
Unused substitutes: Jake Green, Jordan Tunnicliffe
Goal: Hughes (39)
Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Joey Jones, James Clarke, Adam Newton, John Goddard, Josh Payne, Mark Ricketts (c), Charles Banya (Kevin Betsy 66), Yemi Odubade (Giuseppe Sole 72), Scott Rendell (Ross Lafayette 85)
Unused substitutes: Andy Little, Keiran Murtagh
Goal: Odubade (68)
The Cards are at home to Sutton Common Rovers in the Surrey Senior Cup on Tuesday evening. Their next league game is at home to Braintree Town on Tuesday 10 November.
Come on, you Cards!