Nugent 8; Bryson 17; Martin 31; Bent 71
A professional Derby County side were 4-0 winners over a fit-looking Harriers side in pre-season action at Aggborough.
The Rams strode into an early lead as Dave Nugent and Craig Bryson netted early goals.
Harriers, though, always kept their visitors on their toes and were competitive throughout, marksman Chris Martin bagging County’s third with just over half an hour gone.
Both teams fielded much-changed sides at the break, but D erby broke Harriers down again as Darren Bent got in on the act.
A slick playing surface ensured the two teams had a good surface on which to move the ball around.
Liam Truslove tried his luck for Harriers in the early stages with a free-kick that drifted wide, before Nugent’s opener owed much to luck and persistence – having ballooned one shot up in the air, he saw a deflection bring the ball back to his feet where he calmly finished.
Harriers were awarded another free-kick moments later when McQuilkin’s chance edged just over, the Rams netting their second as a persistent Bryson kept up the pressure on goal, scoring from close-range on the angle.
The third came from perennial goal-getter Martin as the half wore on; a beautifully floated ball finding him on the angle as he calmly directed it back the other way and into the bottom corner.
Mass changes at the interval threatened to disjoint the game but in truth that never really materialised as both sets of players continued to move the ball around – the on-trial goalkeeper for Harriers denying the Rams on a few occasions as he stood up well.
Bent’s goal was a calm header from a Nick Blackman cross with 71 on the clock, eight minutes before substitute Andre Brown went close up at the other end as he picked up on a cross, shooting just wide.
John Eustace is looking forward to the experience of tackling some big names with Harriers this pre-season as fixtures kick-off with a double-header against Derby County and Aston Villa this week.
Harriers players have already banked two weeks of hard work in pre-season training and are now ready to head into match action.
First up is the visit to Aggborough Stadium of Derby County on Tuesday (11th) before Aston Villa head to town (12th) with both games kicking off at 7:45pm.
The gaffer says the main aim of pre-season remains unchanged – for him it is all about continuing to work on his squad’s fitness levels.
He is, though, looking forward to seeing his charges lock horns with some big games.
On the rigors of the summer he said: “That’s exactly what it’s for – the main thing is to get fit and to get through pre-season without injuries.
“We have some top teams coming to Aggborough and it’s great for both sets of fans and it’s also good for players to see what it takes to play at that level.
“We are very light on numbers at the moment, but we do have some trialists coming in and it will be a good experience for them as well.”
“With the games coming up it is an unbelievable pre-season for the club and I don’t think you could get a tougher one. John Eustace
Liam Daly, a summer signing who is embarking on his first season in full-time football, is said to have eased into the schedule impressively.
That echoes the efforts of the rest of the squad too, it seems.
Eustace added: “Everything has been fantastic – the lads have worked ever so hard and their attitudes have been different class.
“The lads from last season have come back in fantastic shape and the likes of Liam Daly have taken to full-time training ever so well, he looks really fit.
“With the games coming up it is an unbelievable pre-season for the club and I don’t think you could get a tougher one.
“It’s also great to for the lads to play against some top, top players.”
- Admission against Derby County on Tuesday is £10 adults, £5 concessions and £1 U16s.
- Against Villa the following night admission is £12 and £6 for adults and concession respectively.
- Early Bird Season Ticket Holders from Harriers can obtain their free entry to a pre-season game at one of these fixtures should they wish – simply hand over Voucher A either in advance at the ticket office or on the turnstile upon entry.
- Home fans are reminded that they are situated in the North and Main Stands ONLY for these two fixtures.
- Derby and Villa fans should make their way to the East Stand (seats) only. As things stand the South Stand (terrace) will not be available.
Tickets not currently available.
Reaction: Joe Ironside on Derby
Reaction: John Eustace post Derby