12 August 2014
DAVE PURSGLOVE'S MATCH PICTURE ALBUM HERE
A trio of free headers were the root of Alfreton Town's fate at Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday night, as they recorded the second defeat of their opening two Vanarama Conference matches.
Assistant manager Russ O'Neill made two changes from the Woking defeat, bringing in Jake Sheridan and Jordan Keane at the expense of Tom Shaw and Lee Stevenson, but despite defending well for the first quarter of the game the Reds were undone by Chey Dunkley's free back-post header from a Kyle Storer corner in the 24th minute.
And to make matters worse the move was repeated in almost identical fashion on the hour as Harriers established a two-goal lead, which was embellished by Marvin Johnson's header six minutes from time.
Dan Gray had made a timely interception that prevented Nathan Blissett's ninth minute pass from reaching Craig Reid, then after Dan Bradley had attempted a brace of shots for the Reds from outside the area that had failed to trouble home keeper Danny Lewis the Alfreton goal came under siege in the 18th minute.
First of all Reid looked certain to score until his shot nicked off a defender for a corner, which proved to be a rehearsal for Dunkley whose header was cleared off the line by the alert Gray, then the subsequent flag-kick saw Verma scuff his shot wide from close range.
The signs were beginning to look ominous, and unfortunately went unheeded, as Dunkley put Kidderminster ahead in the simplest of fashions six minutes later, then Reid went close from a Kyle Storer free-kick.
Paul Clayton had been ploughing a lone furrow up front, but frustration prevailed and he became the first Reds' player of the new season to receive a caution just before half-time, apparently for persistent fouling.XX
Clayton though never stopped running and opped up in defence to head behind an awkward Kevin Nicholson corner in the
57th minute, which led to another Dunkley header flashing inches wide from a Jack Byrne cross
An angled drive from Reid produced yet another corner for the home side in the 60th minute, and once again defender Dunkley was left with a simple back-post header to put Alfreton two goals adrift.
Gray sent a free-kick high over the Kidderminster bar, then on 69 minutes keeper Jon Stewart had to be accurate as he raced out of goal to tackle Blissett, but as the game wore on the Reds began to make inroads.
Chris Smith was not too far off target with a header from Bradley's 72nd minute cross, but it was a further six minutes before Alfreton managed to win their first corner of the game.
Stewart prevented a certain goal by stretching to tip over a scorcher from Verma in the 82nd minute, then two minutes later the issue was settled by Johnson's simple header from 12 yards from a Byrne cross.
Stevenson fired high and wide from a promising position, then at the other end Callum Gittings carved an opening before seeing his shot blocked.
Ironically Alfreton's best chance came right at the end in the third minute of added time, Nathan Hicks forcing a late corner only for Luke Graham to direct his clear header straight at a defender on the line.
Alfreton Town Team:
05 Luke Graham
15 Jordan Keane
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
10 Dan Bradley
02 Bradfley Wood
06 Chris Smith
11 Anthony Howell (07 Nathan Hicks, 89 mins)
14 Jake Sheridan
16 Dan Gray (10 Lee Stevenson, 74 mins)
09 Paul Clayton (17 Massiah McDonald, 86 mins)
Substitutes not used:
12 Tom Shaw
13 Jay McFadzean
Kidderminster Harriers Team:
01 Danny Lewis
28 Kevin Nicholson
02 Jared Hodgkiss
30 Josh Gowling
06 Chey Dunkley
04 Kyle Storer
07 Jack Byrne (11 Reece Styche, 89 mins)
17 Aman Verma
08 Marvin Johnson (18 Callum Gittings, 86 mins)
13 Nathan Blissett (09 Gash, 75 mins)
10 Craig Reid
Substitutes not used:
15 Jamie Grimes
19 Jas Singh (GK)
Kidderminster Harriers - Cheyenne Dunkley (24 & 61), Marvin Johnson (84)
Kidderminster Harriers - Nathan Blissett (71 mins, foul on Chris Smith)
Alfreton Town - Paul Clayton (44 mins, foul on Jared Hodgkiss)
Attendance breakdown: 1,686 including 52 from Alfreton
Man of the Match: Jake Sheridan
Referee: Ben Toner of Darwen