Tuesday, August 16

KIDDERMINSTER Harriers were struck on the counter-attack as they lost their first away game of the season 1-0 at Exeter City last night.

Stuart Watkiss' side, on the back of Saturday's 2-1 win over Woking, had plenty of the play against one of the Nationwide Conference's fancied sides.

But Exeter substitute Craig Farrell scored the all-important goal on 69 minutes by firing home Lee Phillips' swift break-away and cross.

Exeter shaded possession in the early stages but the visitors' Lee Thompson struck a 25-yard drive that fizzed just wide of Exeter goalkeeper Paul Jones' post.

John Danby scrambled down to his left to deny Paul Buckle from distance at the other end.

Home midfielder Jon Challinor and Harriers' Michael Blackwood were cautioned for a spat before Terry Fleming joined them in receiving a yellow card for a late challenge.

Both Simon Russell and Thompson proved to be thorns in Exeter's side with Watkiss' men becoming more of a force as the period wore on.

Russell put over two good crosses for a Thompson header, which was cleared away by Chris Todd, and a similar Blackwood effort that was easily saved by Jones.

Thompson marched forward to strike another effort wide but Danby had to be at his best three minutes before the interval. Challinor's long throw was eventually fired goalwards by midfielder Andy Taylor only for Harriers' 'keeper to turn the ball around the post.

Early in the second-half, Iyseden Christie unleashed a useful drive that just cleared the Exeter crossbar.

After Exeter brought on Farrell for Steve Flack, Harriers made a double substitution with Gareth Sheldon on against his former club for Thompson and Saturday's goal hero Taiwo Atieno replacing Russell.

They made their third and final change not long after when young midfielder Laurie Wilson marked his Harriers' Conference debut in place of veteran Martin O'Connor.

Daryl Burgess, proving a key summer signing for Watkiss, got in a vital block to deny Exeter following a corner.

But Harriers looked the better side and Sheldon was denied by the offside flag as he turned the ball home from a quick Fleming break-away.

Burgess was the third Harriers player to be yellow carded and Sheldon later joined him in the book, both for fouls.

But Farrell's crucial goal was sandwiched by the two yellow cards. Glenn Cronin nearly buried Harriers with a second goal but struck the post.

Harriers searched for an equaliser and Burgess' free-kick was turned aside by Jones.

HARRIERS: Danby; Evans, Jackson, Burgess, Hatswell; Fleming, O'Connor (Wilson 60), Thompson (Sheldon 56); Russell (Atieno 55), Christie, Blackwood. Subs not used: Burton, Lewis.