Monday, April 17, 2006

KIDDERMINSTER Harriers continued their Jekyll and Hyde run with a 1-0 win over Cambridge United.

The success, secured by an own goal from the visitors' centre-half Mark Peters, confirmed their Nationwide Conference status for next season.

Harriers had the better of the first-half in windy conditions with a gritty display but Cambridge went on to dominate without creating much of note.

With their three centre-halves impressing, boss Mark Yates admitted: "They chucked everything at us but we coped pretty well with it.

"I thought we were the better team in the first-half but in the second they came at us. But they didn't get too many chances to get back into it, just a lot of possession."

Former West Brom player Daryl Burgess returned from suspension at the heart of the defence but Johnny Mullins and Michael Blackwood were still banned.

Harriers may have been breached by better sides on another day, as illustrated by heavy defeats to Aldershot and Grays in the last month at Aggborough.

But they at least punished mid-table Cambridge's sloppiness by forcing a corner on 14 minutes and Peters turned Johnny Harkness' set-piece past his own 'keeper Scott Howie.

Harriers had earlier created a good opportunity on just 16 seconds when hard-working forward Luke Reynolds, fed by the impressive Lee Thompson, just failed to dispatch his third goal in three games.

Cambridge striker Craig Westcarr caused the hosts some problems and the introduction of David Bridges and Fola Onibuje just before the hour mark turned the screw.

Michael Morrison and Onibuje wasted openings as Harriers, beaten 2-1 at Canvey Island on Friday, secured the points to move above Crawley Town in the table.

Goalkeeper Danny Lewis' only serious worry was a shot he fumbled but managed to smother.

Yates added: "I'm playing the new system because of the personnel I have available and I just wanted to tighten it up after the defeats at home when we conceded a lot of goals.

"Particularly with the suspensions, the team has picked itself lately but we won't be playing this formation next season.

"Winning breeds confidence. We have two big games left and I want six points. We need to look to put in a good performance at Dagenham & Redbridge next Saturday."

Harriers are now mathematically safe from any outside relegation possibility as Scarborough slipped to a 1-0 defeat at champions Accrington.

HARRIERS: Lewis; Hurren, Burgess, Rea; Sedgemore, Penn, Fleming, Sheldon, Harkness; Reynolds (McGrath 90), Thompson (Newby 65). Subs not used: Danby, Walker, Byrne.