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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Bulls take the points at Kidderminster



A Debut For Andy Corbett
A first half penalty by Josh O’Keefe earned The Bulls three valuable points at Aggborough this afternoon in a game that James Bittner turned in a sparkling performance to deny the hosts.

Martin Foyle introduced new signings Chris Sharp and Andy Corbett while Will Evans made way for O’Keefe to return to the starting line up with Smikle getting the nod over Sam Clucas in a left midfield role and Ryan Bowman made a surprise return to the matchday squad being named on the bench.

An early Harriers attack finished with Briggs wild attempt swinging out for a throw before Joe Heath collected a yellow card for a late and unnecessary challenge on Storer near the halfway line with less than three minutes on the clock.  If it was some retribution for Storer’s activities at Edgar Street on Boxing Day, it should have been better disguised.  Malbon robbed Pell in midfield and when Corbett checked the Harriers’ player the referee awarded a free kick twenty yards from goal.  Storer’s shot was deflected into the arms of the waiting Bittner.  Then, in the twelfth minute the Bulls took the lead from the spot.

Pell and Marley Watkins worked a ball through to the energetic Chris Sharp who was taken down by Josh Gowling as he broke into the box.  Josh O’Keefe stepped up to drill the ball low to keeper Lewis’s left giving The Bulls the early lead.

O'Keefe After Scoring Hereford's Penalty
Kidderminster responded with a flurry of attacks and Jamille Matt was lucky to get away with a nasty elbow into the face of Stefan Stam before a snap-shot from the edge of the box brought a fine save from Bittner.   


Bittner Making Another Great Save With The Help Of A Boot Up His Rear

Brian Smikle displayed good defensive awareness coming back to see a ball out for the goal kick before Corbett’s deep cross was headed out to Pell who saw his twenty-yarder collected by Lewis.  Fullback Demetriou hauled down sharp but Corbett’s free kick was headed over by Graham.  Bittner came to claim a corner at the back post and was caught by a wayward elbow resulting in several minutes of attention from Dodge and yet another bandage.  

Sharp’s diagonal run brought a cross that Perry could only chest into the arms of Dan Lewis before Matt saw his effort from six yards rebound off the foot of the post.  Storer blasted well wide before Matt bough a free kick which justifiably came to nothing as the half came to a close.

HT  Harriers 0  Bulls 1

The second period started with Matt barging into Bittner unfairly as he claimed a cross.  Smikle was harshly penalised for a challenge on Malbon before referee Turner handed the hosts the opportunity to level when he awarded the second penalty of the game.  The ball was launched towards the Bulls box and as it bounced up Corbett and Vaughan challenged for possession.  Corbett appeared to get the ball out for a corner but Vaughan went over the outstretched leg and Turner pointed to the spot.  A heated dispute ensued and O’Keefe was booked for his extended objections.  However, Bittner won the 12-yard battle when he dived to his right to save Storer’s kick.

Bittner Goes The Right Way
Kidderminster launched attack after attack but their glut of midfield possession and thrusting wide play, particularly by Shakes, failed to produce more than shots from outside the box, which Bittner was grateful to gather.  Vaughan lifted his shot from distance well over the bar and Briggs’ effort missed to the left of the goal while a series of corners produced little more than a booking for Briggs for his robust challenge on Bittner.

With twenty-five minutes remaining, Ryan Bowman replaced Perry and Simon Clist bolstered the midfield in place of Brian Smikle.  Vaughan was booked for a clumsy tackle on Marley Watkins before Bittner saved from Ryan Lowe who had replaced Storer.  The Bulls dealt with another batch of corners before Nathan Blissett replaced the largely ineffective Jamille Matt with ten minutes remaining.

Another four corners for Harriers again failed to produce a clear chance before a surging run from Marley Watkins took him past Demetriou and into the box only for his low cross to be scooped away at the last moment with Bowman poised to tap in at the far post.

A generous five minutes of added time past without further scoring and the reported 586 Herefordians in a crowd of 3674 rose to applaud the hardworking display.

FT  Harriers 0  Bulls 1

Hereford: Bittner, Corbett, Graham, Stam, Heath, Watkins, Pell, O’Keefe, Smikle (Clist 66), Sharp, Perry (Bowman 66).  Unused Townsend, McQuilkin, Hackney.

Kidderminster: Lewis, Vaughan L, Demetriou, Dunkley, Gowling, Storer (Rowe 71), Vincent, Shakes, Briggs, Malbon, Matt (Blissett 81).  Unused Vaughan N , Williams, Gittings.

After the injustice of Boxing Day’s result, it was nice to see the tables reversed this afternoon.  James Bittner was outstanding under severe pressure while Graham and Stam put in their now traditional solid performances.  Andy Corbett made a promising debut at right back while Joe Heath generally got the better of his man.  The midfield quartet worked tirelessly and Kyle Perry has his usual handful without looking like hitting the net.  

Chris Sharp
Chris Sharp showed enough to suggest that his small fee will be money well spent as his energy and awareness gave the home defender plenty to think about.  Bowman, in his welcome return came through his late session without apparent harm and will surely be nailed on for a start at Grimsby on Saturday.

With the new additions and Marlon Jackson reportedly not far from a return things are beginning to look brighter for manager Martin Foyle.

Big test in Cleethorpes.  See you Saturday.