Harriers weather Bulls fight back to get back on track

Harriers 2, Hereford 1

HARRIERS claimed local bragging rights over derby rivals Hereford in a game of two halves.

First half efforts for Michael Gash and Danny Jackman looked to have set Kidderminster on course for what seemed a big Boxing Day win.

But Josh O'Keefe scored a scrappy goal early in the second half as Hereford took control and Harriers were forced to defend.

But Steve Burr's side held on to end a three-match losing streak in the Skrill Premier.

They also rose back into the play-offs, lifting two places to fifth.

Harriers welcomed back suspended pair Callum Gittings and Amari Morgan-Smith.

With Josh Gowling missing the game with a one-match ban, left-back Mickey Demetriou moved into fill the hole in central defence.

Lee Vaughan was booked early on for a foul on Frankie Artus.

But Gash fired Harriers ahead in the ninth minute.  Jack Byrne was stopped in his tracks by Chris Bush and Gash curled a lovely effort into the back of the net.

The home team had a plea for a penalty ignored in the 13th minute when Vaughan went to ground under a challenge by Bush but the referee waved play on.

But Harriers were in complete control and Lolley showed excellent close control to turn away from his man and fire a shot at keeper Dan LLoyd-Weston in the 15th minute.

Hereford were living on the edge in terms of penalties and Chris Sharp blocked an effort with his hand.

Hereford's over-worked keeper was in action again in the 24th minute, making a brilliant point blank save to beat away Lolley's first time snap shot.

But Kidderminster doubled their lead with a well-crafted team goal in the 29th.

The hosts constructed an eight pass flowing move involving Gash, Gittings and Byrne, with Jackman bursting into the box and rifling a fine left-footed effort into the back of the net.

The hosts had a strong call for a spot-kick ignored in the 36th minute when Lolley appeared to be pulled back after combining with Gash.

Amari Morgan-Smith then curled a shot wide after a fine run and cross from Lee Vaughan.

Hereford had a brief spell in Kidderminster's half but did not trouble keeper Danny Lewis.

The improving Byrne nearly added a third just before half-time but rolled an effort from the edge of the box wide after shopping passes with Morgan-Smith.

But Hereford got themselves back into the match early in the second half.

Michael Rankine nearly scored but his downward header hit keeper Danny Lewis.

Kidderminster's weakness at the back arose again as they failed to clear the ball and O'Keefe scrambled the ball home at the far post in the 49th minute.

Lolley found an instant reply with a typical charging run but his effort was saved by Lloyd-Weston.

Bulls skipper Luke Graham was lucky to escape with just a yellow cars for a  Late scything challenge on Morgan-Smith in the 66th minute.

Hereford continued to control the game and manager Burr made a double change in the 73rd minute.

Lee Fowler replaced Lolley, who may have picked up a knock, while James Dance came on for Byrne.

Kyle Storer lead a counter-attack in the 82nd minute but Lloyd-Westpn rushed out to collect his over ambitious pass when Dance was making a good supporting run.

O'Keefe has a good chance to level for Hereford in the 86th minute but stabbed a first time effort wide of the left post.

With Harriers pegged back they were forced to endure a tense five minutes of time added on but held out to secure a much-needed three points.

Harriers: Lewis, L Vaughan, Demetriou, Storer, Dunkley, Byrne (Dance, 73), Gash, Jackman, Gittings, Lolley (Fowler, 73), Morgan-Smith.

Subs not used:  Malbon, Grimes, N Vaughan.

Hereford: Lloyd-Weston, Collins, Bish, Graham, McDonald, O'Keefe, Lathrope, Artus (Brown, 72), Rankine (Walker, 72), Sharp, Evans.

Subs not used: Gwynne, Edwards.

Referee: Peter Barnes (Merseyside).

Attendance: 3420 (831)

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