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Harriers suffer rare defeat at hands of derby rivals
5:09pm Tuesday 1st January 2013 in News
Harriers 0, Hereford 1
THE curse of the manager of the month award struck as Harriers saw their excellent seven-match winning streak in the Blue Square Bet Premier ended in a tight New Year's Day derby.
The Aggborough outfit were left cursing after contrasting fortunes from the spot.
Josh O'Keefe fired the visitors ahead early on after they were awarded a soft looking penalty.
Kyle Storer then saw his spot-kick saved in the second half.
For all their pressure, Harriers could not find their way through a well-drilled Bulls defence.
Harriers' opponents handed debuts to new additions Chris Sharp and Andy Corbett at Aggborough.
The hosts had looked in control but were stunned when the Bulls were awarded a questionable penalty in the 13th minute. Josh Gowling had clipped the hard running Sharp and despite the innocuous nature of the incident, rookie referee Ben Toner did not hesitate to blow for a spot-kick, which O'Keefe slotted into the bottom right corner.
Sharp nearly scored a second when he cut in from the left but Danny Lewis saved with his legs.
Midfielder James Vincent nearly found an immediate reply when he chested down Ricky Shakes' cross and lashed in a shot, but custodian James Bittner was equal to it.
But Hereford looked dangerous on the break and Lewis made saves to deny O'Keefe's header and Kyle Perry's shot.
Jamille Matt had been marked out of the game but he started to impose himself on the visiting defence and saw a low shot hit the near post, while a stabbed effort forced Bittner into action.
Keith Briggs tried a shot from the edge of the box but Bittner was equal to his low effort.
But the hosts were handed a golden chance to level the scores when Mickey Demetriou was caught by Andy Corbett in the box but Storer saw his penalty saved by Bittner. Lee Vaughan then shot over the bar after creating some space for himself.
Harriers continued to probe but found Bittner frustrating them at every turn.
The keeper denied Shakes, who had fired in a low shot.
Burr three on top-scorer Ryan Rowe in a bid to find a breakthrough.
The substitute tested Hereford keeper's reactions with a first time shot after good work by Anthony Malbon.
Harriers kept plugging away and a good chance of an equaliser fell to Rowe in the third minute of time added on but Bittner made a fine save.
But it was not enough as Harriers suffered their first league loss since October.
Harriers: Lewis, Vaughan, Demetriou, Storer (Rowe, 71), Vincent, Malbon, Shakes, Matt (Blissett 81), Briggs, Dunkley, Gowling.
Subs: Williams, Gittings, N Vaughan.
Hereford: Bittner, Smikle (Clist, 67), Heath, Stam, Graham, Perry (Bowman, 67), Pell, Sharp, Watkins, O'Keefe, Corbett.
Subs: Townsend, McQuilkin, Hackney.
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancs).
Attendance: 3,674 (586)