HARRIERS were dealt a comprehensive defeat with ten men in the National League on Saturday, beaten 3-0 at Ebbsfleet United.

A poor show of finishing in the first half was punished by The Fleet who put the game out of sight before the interval, Harriers also losing Alex Penny to a red card for two yellow cards in the first 45.

For a first visit to Stonebridge Road for well over a decade, Harriers made three changes to their starting line-up. Ashley Hemmings was restored to the eleven, while Barry Maguire was handed a starting berth in place of the suspended Jack Lambert after impressing on his debut against Bromley.

There was also a first Harriers start for striker Gerry McDonagh up front, while Amari Morgan-Smith dropped to the bench. A day after marking his seventeenth birthday with a first professional contract, striker Kobe Hall was also among the substitutes.

Frustratingly for the visitors, Harriers could and should have gone ahead before Ebbsfleet put the game beyond them. Wayward finishing was once again the issue for Russ Penn’s men, as it has been frequently in the early part of the season. In the first 18 minutes, Ashley Hemmings and Zak Brown each had chances in good positions but blazed shots off target.

At the other end, an unusually hesitant defence continually gambled on the pace of Ebbsfleet’s Dominic Poleon and were eventually punished. After one effort had already been saved and another cleared off the line, Poleon showed great pace and strength to get past and hold off Krystian Pearce before chipping Christian Dibble for the opener.

Seven minutes later and with the game barely past the half-hour it was two – Poleon with another well-timed run before dispatching the ball beyond Dibble.

An uphill task for Harriers was made even more difficult minutes later when Penny inexplicably picked up a needless, second yellow card in the space of 11 minutes for a poor challenge. It was Harriers’ second yellow card in as many matches.

In added time at the end of the first half, the hosts extended their lead with relative ease, a corner floated into the area and backheeled home by Luke O’Neill.

Ebbsfleet cut Harriers open again with ease not long into the second half only for Ben Chapman to fire over, Craig Tanner seeing his shot bounce off Dibble just after the hour.

Substitute Kai Lissimore struck narrowly over from inside the box moments after coming on in what was a rare second half chance.

It was always the home side looking more likely to add to the goals tally for the afternoon, though, with Tanner’s acrobatic kick held by Dibble inside the final six minutes, stepping on to a low cross three minutes later but also failing to hit the target.

There’s little time to rest for Harriers – they’re back in action in less than 48 hours when Maidenhead United visit Aggborough on Bank Holiday Monday (3:00pm).