HARRIERS produced a dominant second half performance to overturn a deficit to win the New Year Worcestershire derby 2-1 against Worcester at Aggborough.
A strong crowd greeted the two teams on a chilly afternoon but, much like Boxing Day, there was little frosty about the opening of the game.
Within ten minutes Harriers went within inches of taking the lead as a trademark passing move found Arthur Gnahoua in good space inside the area; he lined up a shot and looked to have the beating of Ethan Ross in goal, only to see the attempt curl just wide.
In true derby fashion that was about as much goal mouth action as we had for a good spell of about 20 minutes; the two teams trading tackles and scrappy spells on the ball. Just past the midway point of the half, however, City took the lead. Harriers weren’t able to hook the ball clear of their own goal quickly enough and, with the ball falling at his feet, Junior English found space to fire a shot, low an angled past the returning Alex Palmer and into the far corner.
As you would expect, Harriers looked to respond and both Mani Dieseruvwe and Tyrell Waite struck efforts off target in the immediate aftermath.
City did a fantastic job of shutting out their hosts for the remainder of the half and, in truth, there was only one further chance for John Eustace’s men before the break – that came as McQuilkin lifted a great cross towards the far post that Gnahoua side-footed just wide from close range.
Harriers would have been given a few words of motivation at half time and it was they who began the second period the better; Sam Austin was thrown on as a substitution and he twice broke himself into the area, latterly crashing a shot into the side-netting of Ross.
That at least gave the reds some momentum and served to up the pressure on City and, with an hour played, that pressure would tell as Harriers struck level; a driven, fizzer of a cross from Francis-Angol slotted home by McQuilkin.
From there, only a brief foray into the Harriers half on the counter by City offered relief from the Harriers onslaught, Ross showing a great pair of hands as Gnahoua did his best to get his head on the end of a 70th minute cross.
Nine minutes later, the surge forward continued and City finally buckled under the pressure; fantastic work and great pace from Austin saw him charge past his man before drilling in a beauty of a cross that Sam Oji could only help turn past his own goalkeeper.
Austin and fellow sub Knights combined well and very nearly put the game to bed in the final few minutes but as the former cut back to the latter, a shot rose over the target.
City tempers flared and, sadly, one of the final talking points was a sour one as Lee Hughes was shown a straight red card for a needless kick out at Ngwatala.