Kidderminster Harriers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Rushden & Diamonds slipped to a 1-0 defeat by Kidderminster Harriers courtesy of a16th minutes penalty from Chris McPhee, after Michael Corcoran was penalised for a trip on Dave Hankin. Although the Diamonds created a number of chances, especially in the first half, some poor finishing meant they were unable to get on level terms.

Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the starting line-up that were beaten so controversially in the FA Cup at the weekend, with Tim Sills returning in place of Ryan Charles, and Jamie Stuart returning after suspension in place of the injured Shane Huke.

With three players suspended and a number of other injuries Steve Burr had to make a number of changes to his Kidderminster line-up.

Kidderminster played with the wind at their backs on a chilly November evening in the first half, and for the first five minutes they looked like they might give the Diamonds defence a busy evening as both strikers ran at their markers, and a Lee Morris cross caused problems for Joe Day who had to punch clear, and the ball was finally cleared for a corner.

At the other end Tim Sills had the first of several good chances created for him during the half by good work down the Diamonds left by Rene Howe, some neat footwork from Aaron O’Connor, but the first chance was stabbed wide of the left post, and an even better chance for Sills saw him blaze over

Kidderminster had a great chance at the other end, when a low cross from Keith Briggs skimmed across the area without the final touch needed from one of the strikers.

After 16 minutes the Diamonds defence again got into problems, partly of their own making, when they first conceded an unnecessary throw in, and then conceded a corner from that throw. The quickly taken corner was not closed down well, allowing a cross to reach Dave Hankin in space on the right hand side of the box. Michael Corcoran went across to try to cover, but Hankin pushed the ball towards the byline, and then continued his run across Corcoran’s outstretched leg, leaving referee Ross with little alternative to award a penalty, however soft it was. Chris McPhee duly slotted home the spot kick.

The Diamonds then went on to dominate the remainder of the first half, with Sills missing another chance set up by Howe, then both Howe and Sills failed to get onto the end of an inviting cross from the left from Lewwis Spence, with Howe appearing to try to backhell the ball goalwards. Alan Power blazed over the bar, as did Lewwis Spence with the Diamonds creating many chances yet not forcing home keeper Daniel Lewis to deal with very much. After Rene Howe had seen more of the chances he created wasted by teammates, he tried his own luck with a shot that Lewis did well to tip over the bar.  Aaron O’Connor was running Howe close for the most creative Diamonds player of the first half, but he too was guilty of missing the target with a header shortly before the break.

Half-Time: Kidderminster H 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The Diamonds fans would have been hoping for the same level of attacking commitment in the second half as their team played towards them, and initially it looked like this might be so, as a Lewwis Spence shot deflected off Rene Howe and onto the crossbar. Shortly afterwards a Corcoran cross from the right was just missed by Sills, but reached Alan Power who fired wide. A Spence corner also caused problems, with Aaron O’Connor narrowly missing the target.

As the half wore on, the supply to the Diamonds strikeforce started to dry up, and the home team started to cause a threat on goal, although one of the biggest issues came when a Corcoran back-pass to Joe Day saw the Diamonds keeper skew his clearance such that it hit Lee Morris, and Day was grateful to see it rebound back into his arms. Day also did well to gather a dangerous low cross from Matty Blair, and suddenly the Harriers full-backs were starting to get forwards, after being pinned in their own half for much of the first period.

With the Diamonds midfield struggling to provide service to the front three, Justin Edinburgh took off Alan Power in favour of Ryan Charles, initially playing Charles on the right in what was at times a 4-2-4 formation. Craig Farrell then replaced Tim Sills, and the final change saw Matt Johnson replace Lewwis Spence, with Charles being switched to a wide-left role. Although these changes didn’t seem to resolve the issue, one great chance did fall to Craig Farrell, when he latched onto a low cross from Charles, took an initial touch that made space for a shot, but pulled that shot wide to the left of the post.

Full-Time: Kidderminster H 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The Diamonds second defeat in four days was disappointing in a different way, in that they looked to have the ability to create enough chances to win the game comfortably in the first half, but somehow lost their way in the second. They will now be looking for a good return from their trip to Fleetwood at the weekend.

Teams:

Kidderminster Harriers: Danny Lewis, Lee Vaughan, Mike Williams, Dave Hankin (Tom Shaw 65), Lee Morris (Nick Wright 65), Keith Briggs (Capt) (Callum Gittings 87), Chris McPhee, Tom Sharpe, Michael Briscoe, Matty Blair, Marc Williams.

Subs Not Used: Andrew Stevens (GK), Robert Thompson-Brown

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Michael Corcoran, Jamie Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Max Porter, Alan Power (Ryan Charles 65), Lewwis Spence (Matt Johnson 83), Tim Sills (Craig Farrell 71), Rene Howe, Aaron O’Connor.

Subs Not Used: Dale Roberts (GK), Justin Miller

Goal: McPhee (pen) (16 mins, 1-0)

Yellow Cards: Tim Sills, Jamie Day, Lee Vaughan

Referee: S J Ross (Lincolnshire)

Attendance: 1225 (away 115)

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