Cambridge 5, Harriers 1

NEW boss Gary Whild has several issues he must address to get misfiring Harriers back on track.

After replacing Andy Thorn on in the week he know he has to lift a side struggling for confidence after a second half collapse at the second-placed U's.

The Aggborough outfit saw their modicum of momentum swept away by second-placed U’s on Saturday.

Defeat was worryingly similar to Harriers’ 6-0 humiliation at Luton at the start of January.

Much like that match, Kiddy had competed in the first half only to collapse alarmingly in the second thanks to a slew of defensive mistakes.

Only four months ago this clash would have been billed as a top of the table battle but a poor run of form for both sides has allowed Luton to build a healthy lead at the top.

Harriers had the better of a cagey first half as both teams struggled for cutting edge.

When Anthony Malbon applied a confident first time finish to Adrian Cieslewicz’s trickery for his seventh goal of the campaign in the 30th minute, there was reason to think they could end their wait for an away win and three points against a top five side in one fell swoop.

If Kidderminster had reached half-time with their lead intact things may have been different but they their failure to clear a corner was punished by Josh Coulson’s goal, which took a wicked deflection off Josh O’Keefe.

Two strikes in as many minutes early in the second half sealed Harriers’ demise.

A stray pass from Chey Dunkley allowed Delano Sam-Yorke to spin away from the defender and his firm cross cannoned off Ryan Bird and flew past keeper Nathan Vaughan in the 53rd.

Sam-Yorke was making his first start since being recalled from his loan at Lincoln.

Only two weeks previously he had orchestrated Kidderminster’s 2-0 loss at the Imps and in the 55th he beat Vaughan with a spectacular right-footed effort from an improbably tight angle.

Substitute Andy Pugh’s 92nd minute effort preceded a Luke Berry penalty, given for a foul by the luckless Dunkley on Nathan Arnold, merely rubbed salt into the wounds of the demoralised Carpetmen.

Harriers had their chances to score, with Malbon and Cieslewicz denied by keeper Will Norris but the visitors had been taught a lesson in finishing.

Just three wins in 13 means that Harriers’ Skrill Premier play-off hopes are hanging by the thinnest of threads. They require a resurgence of epic proportions to turn it around.

Striker Malbon said: “We don’t look like the side that we should be.

“We created chances at Cambridge but overall it’s not good enough.

“We can do so much on the training ground but when it comes out on the pitch it is just not happening.”

Harriers: N Vaughan 6, L Vaughan 6, Storer 6, Dunkley 4, Byrne 5 (Rowe, 59), MALBON 7, Jackman 5, Morgan-Smith 6, O’Keefe 5 (Gittings, 82), Cieslewicz 7, Gowling 6. Subs not used: Lewis, Demetriou, Aloi.

Cambridge: Norris, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Donaldson (Pugh, 85), Champion (Hughes, 51), Tait, Berry, Sam-Yorke, Arnold, Bird.Subs not used: Sullivan, Austin, Gillies.

Referee: Justin Emery.

Attendance: 2,528 (176).