RUSS Penn lamented his team’s contrast in performance after they were humbled in the FA Trophy, going down 1-0 at Stamford.

Harriers dominated the ball and the majority of the night’s chances – though few clear-cut - but an early goal and some solid, determined defending was enough to secure the victory for the Northern Premier, South East Division side.

The Reds slumped out of the Trophy at the first time of asking – just as they did in the FA Cup this term with an upset at Alvechurch – leaving them with just National League North action to focus on. This all came just days after a tremendous showing to pick up three points at Gateshead.

“Of course, we’re bitterly disappointed as we wanted to progress in the competition,” said the boss at full time. “Especially with the bye in the next round.

“Full credit to Stamford, I’m not going to take anything away from them – they had a game plan and they executed it very well.

“You have to come to these places and do a job; we haven’t done a job today and that’s the disappointing thing.

“A few days ago was probably one of the best results and performances of the season… they’ve been brought straight back down to earth tonight.”

Penn, who was part of the 2007 Harriers side who made the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium, showed his intent to take the 2020/21 instalment just as seriously by naming an unchanged team for the game following the 1-0 win at Gateshead in the previous game.

A tense start saw few early chances, Hemmings seeing a low shot saved by debutant Luke Steele after ten minutes, Chitiza at the other end seeing his shot deflected away for a corner from which the hosts broke the deadlock, Morgan turning home Bartle’s set-play to put Harriers on the back foot.

Harriers’ night went from bad to worse when they lost Austin through injury soon after following a poor challenge, though Maxwell went mighty close to an equaliser five before the interval as he stabbed at goal from close range, Steele able to smother it.

Penn’s fury at half time would have only worsened had Harriers conceded a second within two minutes of the restart, Morgan left unmarked but heading over the bar. Sterling had a couple of efforts just after, the latter a good header that Steele held, before Moyo nodded downward and over from a corner on the hour.

The visitors huffed and puffed and continued to see the vast majority of the ball with the hosts happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. Hemmings snatched at a shot that sub goalkeeper Peverell held late on, but in truth that was as close as they came.

Harriers, who miss out on a spot in the Fourth Round and prize money in excess of £8,000, will be forced to stew on the result before visiting Hereford in a Boxing Day league match.

Harriers: Simpson, Austin (Freemantle 23), Penny, Richards, Moyo, Lowe (Prosser 58), Maxwell, Montrose, Morgan-Smith, Sterling (Arthur 77), Hemmings.

Subs not used: Taylor, Martin, White, Phillips.

Referee: Richard Holmes