Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Tue 02 Dec 14 at 23:00 PM


Craig Reid sent Harriers on their way to a well-deserved victory at home to struggling Nuneaton Town.

Reid’s early goal set the tone for his side as Kyle Storer and Jack Byrne joined him on the scoresheet either side of half time, although Josh Gowling’s own goal meant Harriers couldn’t keep a clean sheet.

Nevertheless Harriers looked dangerous with every attack and created countless opportunities as they took a comfortable three points to climb back into eighth, just two points behind the play-offs.

The likes of Byrne, Storer, Reid, Aman Verma and Marvin Johnson were excellent from start to finish while defensively Jared Hodgkiss and Gowling were solid, but in truth it was difficult to select any stand-out individual performances as Harriers gave a thoroughly impressive team display. 

Manager Gary Whild made two alterations to the starting XI which lost 2-1 at Altrincham - Callum Gittings made his first start since the FA Cup defeat at home to Eastleigh on October 25th, while Storer returned from injury to feature for the first time since the 3-3 draw at Barnet.

They replaced Reece Hales, who dropped to the bench, and Matt Robinson, whose loan spell from Luton Town ended on Saturday.

Alongside them to make their first substitute appearances were goalkeeper Joslain Mayebi, having recovered from a back injury, and young defender Jordan Tunnicliffe, who recently joined the club from Sutton Coldfield Town.

Nuneaton boss Liam Daish made only one change to the team which beat Chester 3-2 on Saturday, as on-loan Harriers striker Michael Gash was unable to face his parent club.

Simonas Stankevicius was called in to replace Gash, the Lithuanian international making his first start for Boro since joining on loan from Leicester City just under a fortnight ago.

But it was his opposing striker Reid who took the plaudits, firing Harriers in front after just six minutes as their immediate pressure paid off.

Nuneaton were forced into one of many defensive errors, as Anthony Charles headed a long ball upfield behind him.

Unbeknown to him, he had guided the ball straight into the path of the lurking Reid, who showed a natural striker’s instinct to power forward and slot coolly and calmly past Christian Dibble to notch his third goal of the season.

Storer also bagged his third of the campaign with six minutes remaining of the first half, finding the net in front of the Boro supporters which ensured a subdued celebration.

Gowling started the move from Harriers’ own half, picking out Johnson to lead the counter-attack and surge down the field, where he and Reid outnumbered the Nuneaton defence.

Johnson found Reid to his right and the striker’s shot was deflected behind for a corner, a set-piece which Harriers took full advantage of.

The winger then headed Kevin Nicholson's cleared corner back into the danger zone, locating Gowling who flicked the ball on to the feet of Storer, setting up the midfielder to lash a close-range effort into the tip of the net.

On the 62nd minute, however, Gowling guided the ball into his own net to give Nuneaton a glimmer of hope.

From Adam Dawson’s right-sided cross, the skipper headed towards goal to try and steer a clearance over and concede a corner, but it snuck just under the crossbar past Danny Lewis to give the 94 travelling Nuneaton contingent something to cheer.

But Harriers had the last laugh through Byrne, who rolled home a low shot to retain Harriers’ two-goal advantage just nine minutes later.

It was one of various well-worked passing movements throughout the evening by Harriers as they capitalised on some shaky Boro defending.

And it was Byrne who started the string of possession as he found Johnson on the left, who kept the ball in play with a deft flick and picked out Reid with a lofted pass.

The striker made his way forward and distributed the ball to his right towards the on-running Verma, who had an excellent game in an attacking role for Harriers.

Verma was well-placed to shoot himself on the edge of the box but spotted Byrne making a run to his right and set him up perfectly to hit the target and nestle the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

Harriers were rampant from the off and played flowing, passing football, with Johnson, Verma and Reid in particular demonstrating neat touches and flicks.

Reid headed narrowly wide after just two minutes as a hint of what was to come, before Byrne fluffed a good opportunity five minutes after Harriers broke the deadlock.

Gittings worked continuously during the first half and his close-range header from Verma’s knock-on tested Dibble just before the half-hour mark.

Byrne and Reid had earlier opportunities to double Harriers’ advantage as Storer and Verma also saw thunderous long-range efforts narrowly avoid rippling the back of the net.

Nuneaton’s best chances came from a tame Charles header straight at Lewis after 22 minutes and a fierce shot by Dawson which the Harriers ‘keeper saved well.

A scintillating first-half was followed by more of the same after the interval, and although Boro improved slightly in the second 45 minutes, they couldn't match Harriers.

Nicholson almost got in on the act after 53 minutes, swinging a sweetly-hit curling a free-kick towards the bottom post which Dibble did well to scramble clear.

After conceding the own goal, Gowling nearly made amends three minutes later but saw his header at the right end blocked, before Johnson almost guided a swerving shot past Dibble from the edge of the box.

As the game drew to a close with Harriers firmly holding the upper hand, Hales entered the fray in place of Reid who was applauded warmly by the hosts for his efforts.

And the young striker almost grabbed his first Harriers goal four minutes after coming onto the pitch, just missing out as he slid in to try and get onto the end of a low Johnson cross, before forcing Dibble into a save late on.

Boro substitute Adam Walker had the last stand-out effort in the dying stages as Lewis stopped his thumping shot at goal, but it was far too little, far too late for the visitors who, in truth, rarely threatened the hosts.

For Harriers, it’s a strong signal of intent as they dominated throughout and played some brilliant football to enter a period of over two weeks without a league fixture on a high.

    Latest Match Reports