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Harriers feel the penalty pain
5:08pm Saturday 31st August 2013 in News
Harriers 0, Luton 2
TWO penalties ensured lacklustre Harriers tasted defeat against bogey side Luton.
Kidderminster paid the price for a lack of cutting edge against a Luton side who have stretched their unbeaten run at Aggborough to seven matches.
A sterile game between two teams low on confidence in the final third exploded into life late on as Jake Howells scored a brace of spot-kicks.
The first was due to a defensive mix-up but Andre Gray's diving for the second enraged the hosts.
Harriers boss Steve Burr made four changes from the side that were edged out by Nuneaton.
The biggest surprise was that 20-year-old Joe Lolley was handed his first start for Kidderminster, with Anthony Malbon dropped to the bench.
Marvin Johnson, Lee Fowler and Callum Gittings were also restored to the starting line-up.
Luton boss John Still handed a debut to veteran hitman John Benson, who had joined the Hatters on loan from Swindon.
Lolley looked bright from the whistle, winning a free-kick and then seeing a shot blocked by Howells.
The visitors looked comfortable on the ball but lacked the killer touch to truly test Harriers' defence.
Midfield enforcer Fowler was shown a yellow card for a high challenge on Howells.
Hatters hitman Gray was dangerous and he shot at keeper Danny Lewis, after good play by Luke Guttridge.
Luton midfielder Jon Smith was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on captain Kyle Storer as he tried to launch a counter-attack for the hosts.
But Lolley was the pick of Harriers' attack and unleashed a fine effort from the edge of the box which keeper Mark Tyler dived full strength to reach.
At the other end, Guttridge directed an effort just off target.
The second half continued to be without goalmouth incident until the 70th minute. Chey Dunkley's poor back pass put keeper Danny Lewis in trouble and he caught striker Benson as he tried to pounce.
Referee Kevin Johnson had no choice but to point to the spot and Howells beat the keeper, who was also booked for his troubles, with a shot into the bottom right corner to open the scoring.
If the first penalty was spot on the second which doubled Luton's advantage was questionable to say the least.
Gray flung himself to the ground under minimal pressure from Josh Gowling and the assistant referee wrongly flagged for another penalty, which Howells dispatched with confidence in the 81st minute.
To make matters worse, Harriers were reduced to ten men when Callum Gittings was carried off with a suspected ankle injury after all the substitutions were made.
Harriers: Lewis, L Vaughan, Gowling, Dunkley, Demetriou, Storer (Byrne, 72), Fowler, Gittings, Johnson (Jackman, 82), Lolley (Malbon, 72), Gash.
Subs not used: N Vaughan, Bissett, Malbon.
Luton: Tyler, Smith, McNulty, Howells, Griffiths (Martin, 90+5), Parry, Guttridge, Henry, Benson (Wall, 90+3), Gray, Lacey.
Subs not used: Wall, Cullen, Justham, Martin, Whalley.
Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset) Attendance: 2,866 (821)
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