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Harriers 2, Walsall 3
9:30pm Tuesday 31st July 2012 in Harriers
IMPRESSIVE Harriers gave Football League One side Walsall a scare at Aggborough on Tuesday night before the Black Country side hit back with three goals in 10 minutes.
Steve Burr 's side were looking good in the first period and deservedly took the lead through Ryan Austin and Marvin Johnson.
However, the home side were disrupted by a host of changes in the second period and a brace for James Paterson and one for Will Grigg handed the Saddlers victory.
Walsall had sent a strong side and made the brighter start and keeper Danny Lewis, back after recovering from a finger injury, showed he was back to his best when he dived down to get a hand to Adam Chambers' low shot from the edge of the area.
But Harriers opened the scoring in the 15th minute when the Saddlers' defence failed to clear a Danny Pilkington corner and centre back Austin turned athletically and smashed a superb volley into the top corner.
Lewis was making his first appearance at Aggborough since recovering from a serious knee injury in October but he showed he is fully-recovered when he dived down to reach a fine low effort from Florent Cuvelier, which crashed off the bar.
Manager Burr made a change in the 22nd minute when he took off the unwell Anthony Malbon and replaced him with wing Marvin Johnson.
The wideman's pace caused the Saddlers an immediate problem and he scored Harriers' second in the 31st minute.
Johnson raced onto Pilkington's pass, sped past two defenders and fired a shot which seemed to squeeze beyond spread eagled keeper Jimmy Walker, taking a deflection of the custodian before flying into roof of net.
Cuvelier came close to replying but Lewis was equal to the attacker's excellent low shot, while at the other end, James Vincent and Ryan Rowe came close for the dominant hosts.
Lewis was replaced by trialist keeper Nathan Vaughan at the second half but the former Evesham man's first job was to pick the ball out of the back of the net when Paterson' s angled drives catches him out.
Harriers made six changes in the 61st minute and as the home side readjusted, Will Grigg slammed home an unstoppable shot in the 67th.
With both sides keen to make changes, the game stopped being a contest and drifted on until the final whistle.
Harriers: Lewis (N Vaughan 46), Dunkley (L Vaughan, 61), Geohaghon (McCone, 83), Austin (Demetriou, 61), Williams, Shakes (Gittings, 61), Vincent (Byrne, 61), Briggs (Storer, 61), Pilkington, Rowe (Guinan, 61) (Johnson, 22 (Nisbett, 83).
Subs not used: Thompson-Brown, Wint
Walsall: Walker, Purkiss, Benning, Butler, Holden, Featherstone, Chambers, Cuvelier (Baxendale, 79), Patterson, Hemmings (Jones, 70), Grigg (Taylor, 87) Subs: Downing, Grof. Attendance: 763