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Team Sheet

Kidderminster Harriers
1
Brandon Hall
2
Lee Vaughan
1 goals for Lee Vaughan Yellow card for Lee Vaughan
3
Joel Taylor
4
Ryan Croasdale (c)
5
Fraser Horsfall
6
James Pearson
7
Declan Weeks
Yellow card for Declan Weeks
8
James McQuilkin

Digie '90+3

9
Joe Ironside
1 goals for Joe Ironside

Brown '74

10
Dan Bradley
1 goals for Dan Bradley
11
Emmanuel Sonupé
1 goals for Emmanuel Sonupé

Austin '71

Salford City FC
1
Tim Erlandsson
2
Michael Nottingham
3
Ibou Touray
Yellow card for Ibou Touray
4
Lois Maynard
5
Carl Piergianni
6
Liam Hogan (c)
7
Richie Allen

Askew '57

8
Scott Burton
Yellow card for Scott Burton
9
Anthony Dudley
Yellow card for Anthony Dudley

Haughton '55

10
Jack Redshaw

Dieseruvwe '46

11
Tom Walker
1 goals for Tom Walker Yellow card for Tom Walker
Substitutes
12
Andre Brown
14
George Waring
15
Sam Austin
16
Kennedy Digie
18
Nathan Vaughan
Substitutes
12
Josh Askew
1 goals for Josh Askew
14
Gus Mafuta
15
Nick Haughton
1 goals for Nick Haughton
16
Mike Phenix
17
Mani Dieseruvwe
1 goals for Mani Dieseruvwe
Managers
Manager - John Eustace
Managers
Joint Manager - Anthony Johnson
Joint Manager - Bernard Morley
Match Officals
Referee - Gareth Rhodes
Assistant Referee - David Holbrook
Assistant Referee - Leo Howard

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Match
Report

If anybody inside Aggborough at 4:45pm this afternoon thought they’d seen every twist that football can offer their minds would probably have been changed a few minutes later. After being outplayed for the best part of 80 minutes Salford City found themselves 4-0 down and looked absolutely certain to be heading home empty handed. The Ammies had struggled profoundly to contain a slick Kidderminster Harriers side yet by the time the referee blew for time that 4 goal deficit had been wiped out and a point was on its way back to Salford 7. Tom Walker completed the most dramatic – and unlikely – of comebacks in the 8th minute of time added on, forcing home from close range after his penalty had been saved.

Perhaps unsurprisingly there were changes from the side that underwhelmed during the 1-1 draw at North Ferriby on Tuesday. With Michael Nottingham restored to the right-back berth skipper Liam Hogan moved back into the middle, alongside Carl Piergianni. The midfield was completely reshaped with Scott Burton, Tom Walker and Richie Allen in for Nick Haughton, Mark Shelton and Josh Askew.

Both sides started the game looking to get men forward and within the opening minute Jack Redshaw’s pass sent Walker into space on the left. There were options in the middle but the low cross was too close to Harriers’ keeper Brandon Hall.

In the 8th minute Salford forced a corner and Walker’s left-footed in-swinger from the right had tio be glanced behind at the far post by former Ammie loanee Fraser Horsfall. Another corner then, this time from the left and Walker whipped this one towards the near stick. Nottingham arrived on the run at the edge of the 6-yard box but his header whistled just wide of the upright.

An early chance for Salford but their hosts had looked lively too. Barely 60 seconds later Daniel Bradley drilled in a low effort from the left and Tim Erlandsson could only push the ball out. James McQuilkin was closing in but the Swedish Under-21 keeper just about managed to smother the danger.

Kidderminster’s next attack of note came from the right flank as Emmanuel Sonupe cut inside Ibou Touray before hitting a stinging left-footer towards goal. Erlandsson was equal to that one too, springing to his right to push the effort wide for a corner. The home side were seeing more of the ball now and McQuilkin found space for a shot only for a white-shirted defender to get in the way.

The Ammies had a couple of free-kicks to defend after that but in the 17th minute managed to create a decent opening of their own. Allen’s speedy break on the right was followed by a cross to the far side of the area where Redshaw chested the ball down and inside, into the path of Walker. A neat little check inside took the winger past Lee Vaughan but when the shot came in it was bravely blocked by Declan Weeks. From the corner possession fell to Allen, right-of-centre and 16 yards out but his shot through a crowded penalty area was cleanly taken by Hall.

Quite an even game so far but Kidderminster’s controlled, passing game was becoming gradually more effective. In the 21st minute the referee played advantage following a Carl Piergianni foul and the ball was played forward. Nottingham got in to make a clearance but the ball bounced off Joe Ironside allowing Ryan Croasdale to run into space on the left. Salford’s retreating defence was severely stretched and the Harriers captain kept his composure, sliding a pass to the right where Sonupe was in acres of space. There must have been some temptation to snatch at the chance but SONUPE resisted it, steadied himself and planted a firm finish between Erlandsson and his right-hand post.

First blood to Kidderminster and from that point on the home side’s dominance seemed to grow. In the 24th minute Weeks’ corner from the right was headed out to the edge of the area where James Pearson’s shot was charged down. The loose ball fell for McQuilkin but from 22-yards out and left-of-centre his drive flew well wide of Erlandsson’s right-hand post.

Salford were being pushed back but Harriers almost shot themselves in the foot during the 25th minute. Horsfall was having a good game but his back-pass from the left-back position was awkward, forcing Hall to boot clear from almost on the line as Allen moved in at some speed.

Otherwise Kidderminster were playing controlled, patient football and the Ammies were unable to make much of an impact when they managed to get men forward. Ten minutes before the interval Piergianni’s ball forward was meant for Walker on the halfway line but Vaughan anticipated to pinch possession. The full-back promptly slid a right-of-centre pass through the visiting defence and IRONSIDE set off on a run towards the box. There was still plenty of work for the Kidderminster striker to do but he made a fair first of it, cutting inside far too easily before placing a low left-footed shot wide of Piergianni and Erlandsson on its way inside his right-hand post.

A two goal lead didn’t particularly flatter Kidderminster who had taken a very firm grip on this match. There was a distinct note of frustration creeping into Salford’s game and 4 minutes before half-time Burton, crowded out of possession in midfield, responded with a heavy challenge on Vaughan that attracted the game’s first yellow card.

The Ammies needed a lifeline and in the last minute of the half a home defender was penalised for a foot-up challenge on Burton. Walker lined up the free-kick but from 25-yards out could only clip in an effort that dropped a good yard over the crossbar.

HALF TIME: KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2 SALFORD CITY 0

Not a vintage half from Salford’s perspective and they responded by making a change at the break as former Kidderminster striker Mani Dieseruvwe came on for Redshaw. The visitors’ intention was clearly to push forward early and Harriers were forced into a 48th minute error. Joel Taylor initially earned cheers from the home crowd as he dribbled inside from the left-back position, across the edge of his own box. Those cheers turned to groans as Lois Maynard’s expertly timed challenge pushed the ball into the box where Croasdale got in a clearance just before Dieseruvwe could capitalise.

In the 49th minute Anthony Dudley went down just inside the box but hopes of a penalty among the travelling support behind the far goal were dashed as the Salford striker was yellow-carded for simulation. Within another minute the same fate befell Kidderminster’s Vaughan who went down far too easily following a firm-but-fair Piergianni challenge.

A decent start to the second half for the Ammies but hopes of pegging Kidderminster back were dashed in the 54th minute. Walker's pass to the left failed to find Touray and when the ball came back to him the Salford winger was under pressure. Walker got in a tangle on the halfway line and Weeks picked up possession before pushing forward through the middle. A well-judged pass to the right was perfect for VAUGHAN who strode unopposed into space before slamming in a rising drive that gave Erlandsson no chance at all.

Salford were up against it now – if they hadn’t been before - and Nick Haughton was introduced for Dudley. The change would have some effect eventually but for now it merely foreshadowed Kidderminster’s 4th goal of the afternoon. McQuilkin’s delicately chipped left-footed pass from tight to the right touchline on halfway dropped invitingly into the path of BRADLEY. The front-man's first touch was good and he made his way into the area before guiding a deft finish underneath Erlandsson and inside the far post.

Salford managers Anthony Johnson & Bernard Morley sent Josh Askew on for Allen after that but it seemed as if this must be an exercise in nothing more than saving face and damage limitation. Just before the hour Walker's swinging boot sent McQuilkin crashing to earth and following all that crisp, flowing football we now saw the less savoury side of Kidderminster’s game. Home players closed in to jostle Walker before crowding the referee, demanding a red card for a challenge that was more mistimed than malicious. With McQuilkin prostrate and apparently out for the season Kidderminster protests continued but after consulting his assistant the referee outraged home players and supporters alike with a yellow card. Last season a fine Harriers performance in the corresponding fixture was marred by their intense brand of gamesmanship and it seems that not even a 4 goal lead can temper those inclinations. Meanwhile McQuilkin, a tidy player who can certainly pick a pass, had recovered sufficiently to berate the referee for his leniency.

Home tempers were further enflamed as Weeks was booked for his part in the aftermath of Walker’s challenge but we did eventually get back to the football.

To their credit Salford were still pushing forward and two of their substitutes combined well in the 63rd minute. Askew advanced before flicking a pass out to the left where Haughton slammed a low shot just outside Hall’s right-hand post. After that the attacking focus switched to the other end for a while where Kidderminster won a free-kick or two, although the Ammies’ defence held firm this time.

With 69 minutes played Haughton moved inside from the left then weaved his way past a couple of bemused challenges only to hit a routine shot at Hall.

Touray was booked for Salford 20 minutes from time and soon after that Kidderminster should have recorded their 5th goal. A clever flicked pass bisected the visiting defence and 2 players beat the offside trap to bear down on Erlandsson. Bradley got there just before Croasdale but he was thwarted this time as the Salford keeper made a good stop as the ball deflected away to safety off his legs.

Dieseruvwe made it to a loose ball inside the Kidderminster area but he had little time to steady himself and could only direct a low effort wide of the target. A modest threat but as the match entered its final 10 minutes Salford managed to find a way through the home defence. Substitute ASKEW advanced through a crowd on the left before playing a quick-one two with Maynard and controlling the return pass on his chest. The low finish across Hall matched the build-up and the Ammies had what seemed at the time a nicely taken consolation.

The Ammies continued to press, doubtless intent at this point on little more than saving face and 8 minutes from time Touray crossed from wide on the left. Dieseruvwe got his head to the delivery but he was under pressure and the effort dropped harmlessly wide of the far post.

Kidderminster were still looking for more goals and in the 83rd minute substitute Andre Brown broke clear of the Salford defence and into the penalty area. This looked good for the Harriers but Brown couldn’t quite get the ball to sit up for him and Liam Hogan got in to make what was very probably a goal-saving challenge.

A missed opportunity but surely it would be of little overall importance in a game that was already won? Only the most incorrigible Salfordian optimist would have thought otherwise but this game was minutes away from being turned completely on its head.

For now though the closing stage sparring continued and Walker had a go from 22 yards only to see his low shot flash outside Hall’s right-hand post. The Ammies rolled forward again and in the 88th minute got a touch of luck when HAUGHTON latched onto Maynards header forward before hitting a left-footed first-timer from outside the penalty area. It should have been routine for Hall, dropping to his left but the ball squirmed underneath him before rolling sedately inside his left-hand upright.

Disappointing for Hall and the home fans, but it was still nothing more than a little gloss taken away from an impressive victory. That’s how the script should have been written but the second goal had injected some real belief into Salford City and seemed to crumble the foundations from under Kidderminster Harriers. The home side suddenly looked very nervous and in the final minute of the 90 Nottingham appeared to have been dragged down inside the 6-yard box as he tried to reach Piergianni’s header on. It looked a clear penalty but the referee thought otherwise and allowed play to carry on. Harriers couldn’t clear their lines however and Haughton, centrally positioned on the edge of the box, hit a shot that took a deflection on its way over the bar.

We had now entered 5 minutes of time added on and Walker’s pacey corner from the left dropped towards the far post. On the end of that one was DIESERUVWE and his powerful header beat Hall and a defender on the line to trim Kidderminster’s lead to just one goal.

The Ammies had the sniff of a point so not unsurprisingly they poured men forward in search of equaliser that just 3 short minutes before would have seemed unthinkable. Kidderminster looked shaky and unconvincing but managed to hold their revitalised opponents at bay. In the 4th minute of time added on a Salford pass went astray and Harriers broke quickly, with an advantage in numbers of 3 to 1. Brown, Bradley and Croasdale were the 3 and they worked possession from left to right and efficiently into the penalty area. This looked like the end of a gallant comeback as Bradley, inside the box and right of centre, stroked a pass to the left instead. Croasdale received he ball but wanted one too many touches and before he could get a shot away Walker arrived in the nick of time to poke the ball off his toes and out for a corner.

That set piece came to nothing but it seemed, with the 5 minutes up, that Salford had run out of time. Play was allowed to continue for a little while longer and the visitors piled men forward in a last ditch effort to rescue a point. Taylor's throw-in from the left but Burton won a crucial header and Haughton's touch sent Maynard into space on the right. Kidderminster were all over the place when the cross came in and Walker only just failed to make a connection inside the area and right-of-centre. The ball went loose and as Nottingham looked to get there he was tripped by panicky and ill-advised challenge from Kennedy Digie. The referee was positioned perfectly and to the despair of the home players and chagrin of their supporters, pointed at the penalty spot.

There was a delay as a couple of Harriers players argued the toss in vain but some of their team-mates had already sunk to the turf in dejection, event before the penalty had been taken. By the time Walker picked up the ball to place it on the spot we had entered the 8th minute of time added on and the home fans howled their indignation at a player they were convinced should no longer be on the pitch.

It all boiled down now to Walker –vs- Hall and the penalty was struck low to Hall’s left. It was too near to the keeper however and he dropped down to make the block, only to see the ball squirm away from him. A number of white shirts made their bid for glory but fittingly it was WALKER who got there to scoop home left-footed from close range.

Salford’s players wheeled away to celebrate in front of the home support who responded with a spirited show of displeasure while the away fans acclaimed the most dramatic, unexpected comeback they had ever witnessed.

KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 4 SALFORD CITY 4

It’s difficult to do justice to the final 10 minutes of this game – suffice to say that having been outplayed for most of the opening 80 minutes Salford City dug deep to salvage, incredibly, what could yet turn out to be a vital point. Usually a manager is lucky if he makes a few ‘inspired substitutions’ per season but this afternoon each of Salford’s subs scored a goal and their introduction certainly had a massive impact.

Make no mistake, the Ammies had looked a beaten side but they proved beyond doubt the value of never throwing in the towel. What started off as a desire to claw back some respectability from a disastrous afternoon turned into a glorious comeback as a previously impressive Kidderminster side fell apart.

Once the warm glow of this remarkable turnaround has cooled a little we must think about how the majority of this game went. Kidderminster enjoyed varying degrees of dominance around the odd spell of Salford pressure but by the hour mark the game appeared to have been pushed far, far beyond the Ammies’ reach. The home side played some great possession football and looked capable of scoring every time they reached Salford’s penalty area – they were, frankly, better in every department.

At 4-0 we were wondering how there could be a 20 point gap between these teams but Kidderminster’s late collapse may just have provided an answer. They play great football but need to ally that to mental strength – when this young side does that they will be formidable opposition indeed. For now though they can only despair at the way a tremendous result was wrenched from their grasp.

After that win over Spennymoor last Saturday Jonno and Bernard’s team have endured a difficult week and will be disappointed with their two point return from two games. It could so easily have been one however and surely this result will provide a massive injection of confidence before the hectic Easter programme begins.

The level of performance will have to improve of course, but that’s a challenge that has been met before and today should provide a springboard for a final automatic promotion push.

One thing is certainly true – it’s never boring watching Salford but it should probably carry a government health warning...

GOALS:
1-0 SONUPE (21st min)
2-0 IRONSIDE (34th min)
3-0 VAUGHAN (54th min)
4-0 BRADLEY (56th min)
4-1 ASKEW (80th min)
4-2 HAUGHTON (88th min)
4-3 DIESERUVWE (90+2 mins)
4-4 WALKER (90+8 mins)

Attendance: 2524 (154 Salford City)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk