KIDDERMINSTER H v WOKING
12:00am, Thu 15th Nov 2007
Kidderminster Harriers v Woking (Live on Setanta Sports)
12 noon on Saturday 17 November 2007 (NB Kick-off time!)
It?s an early start this Saturday for our trip to Aggborough. The Cards will perhaps be keen to get on the road since their away form has been considerably better of late than their home form. Let?s hope the team can revive memories of their fine displays in our last two away games, at Stevenage and Oxford, and lift some of the gloom that seems to be surrounding the Club at present. But Kiddy, including ex-Card Justin Richards, will have other ideas. The Harriers have been too inconsistent so far to mount the promotion challenge which many observers thought would follow their promising display in the Trophy Final last season but their fine 2-0 win at Burton underlined their potential. While Kiddy?s home record isn?t brilliant, they?ve played a lot of the top sides. So, the Cards will do very well to get anything out of this trip.
The Cards? main problem remains creating goalscoring chances and converting them. Only one goal scored in the last five games, and only 19 goals scored in as many league games, tell their own story. We?ve yet to see whether the return to fitness of Liam Marum will make any difference but we seem to lack a striker who gets in the box and puts away chances. Marvin Morgan and Joe Gatting, in their very different styles, seem to do most of their good work outside the box, and Giuseppe Sole is at his most dangerous on the edge of the area. But the strikers need support from the rest of the team too. In all the gloom and doom, though, some fans seem to have forgotten the standing ovations given to the team after their excellent performances at Stevenage and Oxford only a few weeks ago. It?s not beyond the side to spring a surprise on Saturday, so here?s hoping!
I spoke to Frank Gray earlier this (Thursday) afternoon to get an update before Saturday?s game. On the injury front, Frank rates keeper Nick Gindre as still only 50/50. He confirmed that 17 year-old Ross Worner would play if Nick is not fit. Frank commented that Ross did not have a lot to do in the match against Grays last Saturday but what he had to do he did well. Marvin Morgan and Jay Gasson have both been struggling with injuries too but Frank seemed hopeful that both would be fit. He confirmed, though, that Danny Bunce would be missing through suspension.
I asked Frank if he wanted to comment further on the criticisms that we were too cautious in our style of play. ?We know that scoring goals is the problem. A lot of people didn?t seem to notice that we changed our formation to 3-4-3 last Saturday, with Goma playing wide?, he said. ?It still didn?t produce a goal. We just need a break. Most people accept that we should have had a penalty early on against Grays and, had we scored, who knows. That might have changed our fortunes. We also had a header kicked off the line. Sometimes, when things are not running for you, that?s the way it works out. The players are just as disappointed as the fans are about our form at home and we?re working as hard as we can to improve things. It?s not just about the strikers, though: goals come from the whole team. But, if we play as well on Saturday as we did in our last two away games at Stevenage and Oxford, I will be very pleased.?
Manager Mark Yates, who of course played for the Harriers in our Trophy Final win in 1994/95, released five players in the summer, including striker Dean Sturridge and midfielder Jake Sedgemore. Justin Richards was the highest profile signing, as a number of Conference clubs chased the former Stevenage and Woking striker following his release by Peterborough by mutual consent. Other arrivals included midfielder Andy Ferrell from Hereford; Dean Coleman, a keeper formerly with Walsall, who was brought in to challenge Scott Bevan for the number one jersey; Paul Bignot, a 21 year-old full back from Crewe; Matt Barnes-Homer, a 21 year-old striker, who started off at Wolves before spells with Aldershot Town and Wycombe Wanderers amongst other clubs; Jonathan Munday, a 19 year-old centre back from QPR, who had a loan spell at Aggborough last season. Dean Bennett, a midfielder, was brought in on three months? loan from Chester and, more recently, Chris MacKenzie has arrived on loan from Shrewsbury to cover goalkeeping injuries.
The Harriers? squad looks strong when you add in the likes of skipper Stuart Whitehead, strikers Iyeseden Christie and James Constable, who played for the England C team earlier this week and who has scored 10 league goals already this season, and midfielder Russ Penn, also in the England team, who?s been on top form recently. Experienced defender Jeff Kenna is recovering from a hernia operation and Stuart Whitehead will miss the game through suspension.
SEASON SO FAR
Mark Yates has made no secret of his belief that his squad is good enough, in his view, to be challenging for promotion this season after finishing in 10th place last term and reaching the FA Trophy Final, where they allowed Stevenage Borough to recover from a two goal deficit to win 3-2. They are certainly not out of the running but need to achieve a bit more consistency. At home they?ve notched four wins, one draw and four defeats. An excellent 4-0 win over Exeter City and a convincing 3-0 victory over York City were counterbalanced by an opening day defeat, 2-1 to Aldershot, and subsequent losses to Torquay (2-5), Stevenage (0-2) and, four weeks ago, Weymouth (0-2). Other home games have produced a 3-1 win over Droylsden and a 1-1 draw against Crawley. Three weeks ago, in the Cup, Kiddy were 1-0 down at home to Vauxhall Motors at half-time but, unlike us, mounted an escape act, romping home 3-1. They followed this up last Saturday with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Ware and now travel to Dagenham and Redbridge in the Second Round. In their last league game, two weeks ago, the Harriers sprang a surprise at the Pirelli Stadium, as Russ Penn and Paul Bignot netted to give them a terrific 2-0 win over Burton Albion. That was only the second time Burton had lost this season.
Kidderminster Harriers FC
Worcestershire DY10 1NB
Tel: 01562 823931
Why not take it easy and travel by the Supporters? Club coach? ?18 for members, ?23 for non-members. Coach leaves at 8.30am. Call the Club Shop to book your place.
Leave the M5 at J4 (signposted A491 to Stourbridge). After about 5 miles turn left onto the A456 and follow towards Kidderminster. At roundabout on Kidderminster ring road take first exit (signposted A448 to Bromsgrove) then take first turning on right (Hoo Road). Aggborough is about half a mile along this road on the left-hand side.
The changed kick-off time means that you would have to make a very early start. The 07.13 train from Woking would get you to Kidderminster at 10.34 via changes at Guildford, Reading and Worcester Foregate Street. Look up www.trainline.com if you?re interested.
It?s honours even against the Harriers since they returned to the Conference.
Kidderminster 2 Woking 1
Woking 0 Kidderminster 1
Woking 3 Kidderminster 0
Kidderminster 0 Woking 1
The away fixture in August 2005 was our first of the campaign, and the Cards took the lead in the first half through Justin Richards. All looked fine until Kidderminster hit two goals late in the day through Taiwo Atieno, to claim the three points. In the return fixture, Kiddy scored the only goal of the game at Kingfield, through Johnny Mullins, to do the double. Last season we turned on the style at home in August. Craig McAllister opened with a slightly fortuitous header before Gez Sole hit a superb shot to put us 2-0 up at half-time. Steve Ferguson added a third in the second half. The away fixture in April saw us draw seven points ahead of the relegation places as Liam Marum got the crucial goal just before half-time.
OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW
1 Admission prices: East Stand (seated): ?16 Adults, ?11 for over 65s and under 16s, free for under 8s; South Stand (standing): ?13 Adults, ?8 for over 65s, ?5 for under 16s, free for under 8s
2 Food: Aggborough prides itself on its catering: the website suggests you try the Aggborough soup or the cottage pie.
Come on, you Cards!
Log on to www.wokingfc.co.uk on Saturday evening for a match report