Tag Archives: Kidderminster Harriers

400 Minutes

Sorry for the delay in writing. The Anonymous Don is technically closed for Christmas, yet as I forgot to post a message advising that plenty of you have been returning waiting for an update, perhaps visualising me dead in a ditch somewhere…

The Christmas close down has come early as I am off to the States for two weeks two days before the Crawley game, and I have to get quite a lot of things done in the meantime. So the blog will return, relaunched in the New Year, in the mean time I will endeavour to keep as up to date as possible with intermediate updates such as this.

Last time I wrote, if you can remember back that far, was a 0-1 home defeat to playoff rivals York, and since Michael Rankine’s sixty-third minute strike in that game young Sebastian Brown has gone approximately four hundred minutes without picking the ball out of his net (including various time added on at half/full-time, for those of you who came up with 387 minutes…).

After York I really felt we had run into just the right opponents at the right time. Ebbsfleet had shown some resilience against us earlier in the season, but any fears Dons fans might have had of an embarrassing home defeat would have been put aside after only minutes. We were never going to have trouble against a side that gifted us possession so freely, even at our worst we don’t give the ball away so easily from start to finish!

Despite this I feel we made the trip to Kidderminster more in hope than expectation, but our hosts seemed to have the sort of bad day we had for their visit a month previously. With Moore and Taylor buzzing around Kedwell, the trio of Hendry, Wellard and Gregory took hold of the midfield and ran the game. Hendry has been an inspired signing, the missing piece of the jigsaw almost, and any possibility of turning this arrangement into something more permanent will only have a positive effect on Wimbledon’s playoff chances.

Although Danny Kedwells expertly taken goal was enough to settle the game, the Dons missed further chances that could have ended the match as a contest much earlier than the final whistle. How Jon Main failed to head home from yards out I don’t know, especially with hundreds of Wimbledon supporters behind the goal trying to suck it in. Either way, Wimbledon played some good football, and it was a real pleasure to make the journey to watch such a performance.

With two wins under our belts, my football (or more accurately Wimbledon) head told me the trick to Salisbury would be a lot harder than the League table suggested. I couldn’t make the game due to work commitments but it seems in tough conditions this really could have been a banana skin. Congratulations to the boys for coming home with the points, and even bigger congratulations to the hundreds of Dons fans who made the trip, despite not being too far away it was just long enough a journey for me to be unable to juggle my own commitments, so well done those of you who did.

Which brings us to Gateshead. This was a side in form against a relatively unknown quantity, and Wimbledon put them away with minimal fuss. Steven Gregory looked as though the last thing he wanted to do was strike left footed as he skipped past two defenders, if anything this probably made him think a little more about how he hit the ball. If it was on his right foot we may have seen it fly over the bar but instead his effort dipped over the keeper, finding the net via the underside of the bar.

Still it wasn’t the most watchable of games, mainly down to the referees ability to blow his whistle whenever there was any danger of some football breaking out. He cancelled out Kedwells strike early in the second half after Kedwell had brushed off an attempted rugby tackle by the last man. Fortunately even he couldn’t miss the challenge that scythed down Elliott Godfrey on the hour, allowing Ricky Wellard to stroke a free kick around the wall into the corner.

An other good day at the office for Wimbledon, but where does this leave us? We have gone from mid-table to just two points off the playoffs and above contenders such as Luton and Kidderminster in little over a week. In these circumstances it’s a shame we have to break for cup games, but thats football I suppose. If we were facing Crawley in Tuesday instead of Ash, I would have felt we would have gone with confidence and taken home the points.

Instead we have a two-week wait, and will perhaps have to regain momentum depending on what sort of side is named for the Boreham Wood game next week. Crawley is a tricky place to go as we found out when we visited for our cup game, yet I think after our ten man victory in the replay we might just have sussed them out. Another clean sheet should mean another victory, as I listen in from afar…

After the York game I think I wasn’t the only one to believe we really needed a Chris Hussey replacement but the back four seems to have gelled. We now have four defenders who could play centre half if required, meaning our full backs aren’t exposed to high balls over the top. Even when Hatton fills in at right back we look solid against an aerial bombardment. Yet this hasn’t had an effect on how we pass the ball around, perhaps fortunate that we have players such as Judge and Johnson who are as comfortable with the ball at their feet as they are attacking it in the air. Sure if a Hussey-clone becomes available in January I say we sign him, but if the right player isn’t available we should stick with what we have – and that includes making more use of Derek Duncan in this position.

It seems like Terry Browns plan is coming together. At the beginning of the season we anticipated encounters with our opponents by highlighting their dangermen, so it is good to know that sides who play us are now looking beyond Kedwell and Main (brilliant though they are!) and highlighting the likes of Gregory, Moore, even Wellard as stand out performers.

Yes, despite our recent run of form we probably won’t have the consistency this year to make the playoffs. If we do we will come unstuck against the experience of a York or Stevenage over two legs, but even missing out completely will be ok so long as the progression and momentum that has been built up continues throughout the campaign.

I remember a few scoffers writing off the likes of Wellard, Gregory and of course Hatton at the start of the season. All of those players have shown a huge improvement. In fact even the more ‘mature’ players have improved their game. Plus as a unit they are coming together all the time, as the side start to exceed the value of its parts as even the best sides should.

Moving onto the two cup games, its good to hear that Terry Brown will be taking a strong side down to Ash on Tuesday. Despite no longer technically being a first team competition, the county cups will be more than useful for giving our fringe players a run-out. With the size of our squad and the poor quality of opposition our reserves face, going all the way in both of these competitions would see two of these fixtures a month until the end of the season.

Plus the Ash assistant manager is Matt Everard. Reason if any to get yourself down there on Tuesday night!

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AFC Wimbledon 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1 – A Match Report

Ok, so I’m going to get my excuses in early. In fact I’m going to get them in before I’ve even written the report, but I’ve been feeling a bit unwell, so this match report might read a little, erm, different to my usual efforts. Because of this I will try to keep it short, which will be of no consolation to those of you reading this on Thursday morning. Oh, and sorry about the lack of photos, I left my camera at home…

After seven games unbeaten, it had got to the point where I had forgotten what it feels like to lose a game. Even Oxford was a fairly positive experience – we created a lot of chances, missed a penalty, and were genuinely unlucky. On Saturday we faced a genuine rival for a playoff place (and lets not talk ourselves down here – we are in that race as long as we are among the large group of clubs locked together on a similar amount of points). In the past when I have spoken about our young team having an off day, about experienced Conference sides coming to Kingsmeadow and doing a job on us and going home with the points – this is what happened, and the only surprise was it has taken fourteen games for it to happen.

It was one of those grim miserable autumn days, overcast with a cold wind, the sort of weather I now refer to as ‘Tamworth Weather’. And there really was no reason to doubt the Dons, they started well enough forcing a few corners down the right for Hussey to swing in. I can only imagine Hussey practices taking corners on a pitch that is about ten yards narrower than Kingsmeadow, the ease at which he curls them in at the near post straight to that first defender…

It was the visitors though who had the first shot on goal, Matthew Barnes-Homer picking the ball up twenty five yards out of the left and skidding an effort low into James Pullens arms. Then on fifteen minutes both sides created decent opportunities within a minute. Kidderminster’s John Finnigan found himself with a clear run on goal, but Pullen stood up well to make the save.

The ball was immediately delivered to the other end of the pitch where Montague and Taylor combined on the right for Taylor to play in Hussey, clear on the left. The exciting fullback was quickly closed down, only to cut inside and hit a right foot shot towards the top right corner. The ball took a deflection on its way which slowed the ball enough to allow keeper Dean Coleman to get across and claw it away for a corner.

It took another fifteen minutes for Wimbledon to threaten the Kidderminster goal once more. This time Hussey was the creator, hitting in another corner from the right that swung in, missed the big men at the near post and surprising Sam Hatton hanging around on the six yard line. Hatton had to lean back to guide his header towards goal, unfortunately this had the effect of making it look like he had cushioned it back to the keeper.

Hatton was in the right place at the right time at the other end seconds latter after a Daryl Knights effort was diverted away from goal giving the visitors a corner on the right. It was well struck, Husseyesque almost, and completely caught Jamie Pullen out. As the ball headed towards the net, blown in by the strong wind, Hatton stretched his neck just enough to flick it over his own bar and away for another corner.

The second delivery wasn’t cleared properly by the Don’s defence, falling to an unidentified Harriers player lurking on the edge of the box, who hit a low shot through a crowd of players. Fortunately Jamie Pullen was alert to the danger, getting down well to parry away before Adjei thumped clear. There seemed no clear favourite still as both sides tried to get forward, trading chances in what had become a watchable game.

A sign of things to come came five minutes before the break, when Barnes-Homer sneaked a stride ahead of Inns and hammered in a shot that would have severely tested James Pullen had it not flown straight into his arms. A the home side created another couple of half chances after, a Taylor cross shot from the right that the keeper did well to collect at ground level, and a mishit Luke Moore shot following a Taylor knockdown. Luke Moore has shown more than most creativity-wise this season but hasn’t really got hold of his shots since giving us perhaps too high expectations of him with his thirty yarder against Salisbury.

Half time came with the sort of mass change of ends not seen at Kingsmeadow this season. However several hundred extra fans in the KRE, or half of the KRE to be precise, didn’t have the effect of improving the atmosphere as you may have expected. With 3600-plus in the ground, it didn’t quite work. Plus the huge gaps on the Tempest didn’t seem to be filled by those JS regulars looking to take the opportunity to move there… were stewards still preventing non Tempest ticket holders standing there? If that was the case, something wasn’t quite right there…

The Dons players engaged in a quick warm up drill before the start of the second half, involving step ladders and cones. Sadly Matthew Barnes-Homer had slightly more speed and mobility than they did, so when the game restarted the Don’s defence stood like statues when he received the ball with his back to goal. Despite a clumsy turn, no challenge was forthcoming allowing the striker to slot past Pullen into the bottom right hand corner to give his team the lead.

Wimbledon’s response to this was instant and predictable in the context of the game – a mishit Moore shot straight at the keeper. But five minutes later they created and missed their best chance all afternoon. Some great work by Danny Kedwell saw him play in Lewis Taylor down the right channel. The ball came fast to Taylor, who got the luck of the bounce to take him past his man only to screw his shot well wide of the near post when eight yards out with the goal at him mercy.

I say the previous chance was the closest Wimbledon came to scoring, they did have the ball in the net on fifty-five minutes. Whether this really counted as a chance depended on your view of the event and how much contact Danny Kedwell had made with the goalkeeper, as a high ball in was dropped before being bundled in… Well, I got a little excited about it anyway.

Lewis Taylor had another decent chance at the other end, flicking the ball over the keeper and unfortunately the bar from a Hussey cross, and at the other end Brian Smikle could have doubled Kidderminster’s lead with a tad more composure, but to be honest the game petered out from the last twenty minutes onwards. The introduction of Main didn’t help. I’m not sure whether its fair to say Main was on a different wavelength to anyone else on the pitch, but a neutral viewing may well have wondered whether he was trying to play the same sport as everyone else. As usual he ran, he put in effort, but he’s nothing like the Jon Main of last year. I hope this doesn’t come across as abuse, but like Sanchez lived off past glories right up to the Premier League days, there is a danger that Jon Main could hang around making the odd cameo for months to come.

Hopefully he will put one away, but it seems like we need more than that right now. Just a good performance would do. Replacing Montague with him might have seemed a good idea at the time, but the horror of Main latest effort was just too much to bear. At least we know Monty has goals in him, Main could literally be still out there on the Kingsmeadow turf, on his own, but you’ll guess he probably still wouldn’t have found the net.

Is it time to give one of our younger strikers (i.e. Rapson) a go on the bench, allowing Main to drop down to the Reserves for a couple of weeks. Normally you would say our first teamers wouldn’t learn anything in the Suburban League, but Main needs to go back to basics. He almost needs to remember his entire game once more.

Its one thing having a player on the pitch who may as well not have been there, but towards the end of the game the referee revealed he had a few quid on the outcome himself, refusing to give free kicks to home sides way as well as punishing Dons players for heinous crimes like jumping for the ball, or having their shirts pulled.

It kind of summed up the afternoon though. However, on a day when nothing much went right, at least we made a game of it right to the end. We were never going to score, but Kidderminster were forced to keep it up for the full ninety. I actually stopped taking notes for the last few minutes (not that I missed much) as I felt so disappointed with the performance.

But as Terry said, young players will make mistakes. Whether this dip in performance stretches further depends on our next game at Forest Green, who coincidentally have all of a sudden remembered how to win…

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Conference Score! Saturday 3rd October ’09

AFC Wimbledon    (0) 0

Kidderminster Harriers    (0) 1    Barnes-Homer (46)

Att: 3601

A late score update on the blog, as the Great Wimbledon Flu Epidemic seems to have made its way to the Anonymous Don. That serves me right for standing behind the dugout…

Kidderminster escaped with the points from Kingsmeadow yesterday after a solid performance combined with too many Dons players having an off-day. It was by no means smash and grab as the visitors created a host of chances, Matthew Barnes-Homer taking the all important one at the start of the second half after the Dons defense went to sleep, allowing the impressive frontman time to turn and plant the ball in the corner from the edge of the area.

It was enough to win on a low scoring day in the Conference as the eleven fixtures managed only twelve goals between them.

Keep ’em peeled for the match report… DISCLAIMER – may not be ready until tomorrow… I am ill after all…

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AFC Wimbledon v Kidderminster Harriers – A Match Preview

khfcI’ll be honest. I didn’t know much about Kidderminster before I sat down to write this. I know its in Worcestershire. I also know they make a lot of carpets there. Which should make us their natural enemies seeing as though most of South-West London ripped up their wall to wall shag pile years ago for natural hardwood flooring (or at the very least, varnishing the existing floorboards…).

But this is not a preview aimed at mocking Kidderminster (who lets not forget are an ex-League club, for what it’s worth). I’m sure Kidderminster fans know as little about us as we do them. The tightness of the division at this early stage means except for Oxford, we haven’t been able to sit up and pay attention to rivals as much. No-one has really stood out (including us). So maybe they have heard a little about the history, or seen that some bloke called Kedwell has bagged double figures already, but from then on it’s all new.

Fortunately Terry Brown has done his research, and posted his view of Kidderminster shortly after I began writing this, thus destroying any desperation that I may have had concerning the need to possibly do my own research. I had noticed the names Barnes-Homer and Smikle popping up in the scorers section, but the names only stuck because, well, they’re a bit silly. Barnes-Homer sounds like a rugby player and Smikle like something out of Lord of the Rings… although I gather it is pronounced more like the goalkeeper…

Fortunately for me, I write a blog about AFC Wimbledon, so I will concentrate on the home team from here on in. Lets start by throwing a few of those stats back in the Official Sites face! Kidderminster have only lost one in their last six? Well, Wimbledon have lost none in the last seven… or two in the last fourteen. Dodgy home form was alluded to as well. Is this the same slack home form that has seen only one defeat (to the runaway leaders), and three goals conceded?

Anyway, the big news of the day has been the revelation that Luke Garrard has gone to Borehamwood for a short loan spell in order to get some game time under his belt. Indeed the message board has been hot all day with discussion about Luke… sadly not Garrard however, more that knob who has generated a whole load of negative publicity for the club… good work by the way, dickhead. The fact that this story was deemed to be bigger than Garrard’s situation by the fanbase in general suggests (i) some of our fans don’t believe we could be harbouring any troublemakers despite pulling in huge crowds (ii) another section are secretly rubbing themselves off at the news that a serious hooligan was in their midst all this time without them realising, and of course (iii) the news was completely expected.

With Sam doing such a good job at right-back, to the point he seems to have dislodged the excellent Jay Conroy, that third choice Garrard was always going to be in danger of being pushed toward the exit door. I can understand why he asked to go on loan. If he does get the chance to leave in January, he can put himself in the shop window now. On the other hand, the club will want to keep him ready should the Hatton experiment fail, or we suffer a midfield injury crisis, or Jay Conroy gets injured or suspended.

Moving on, it’s slightly worrying to find there appears to be a virus sweeping through the squad. Even more worrying is that it seemed to originate from Jon Main, the striker for whom everything he has touched this year seems to have turned to shit. I can’t help but think Mainy must have run over a dozen black cats, pissed off a lot of gypsies, and smashed dozens of mirrors (probably during shooting practice…). Either that or he is saving it all up for the biggest goal in the clubs history, probably to win the replay that takes us to Old Trafford in the FA Cup or something…

Paul Lorraine has been affected by man-flu too, which a few weeks ago may have caused some panic, but one of the repeated knocks on the head that Alan Inns has received seems to have turned him into a quality Conference centre-half. Innsy apparently drew blood for the cause once again at Rushden on Tuesday, although he can now no longer remembers where he lives… the other player affected is Ricky Wellard… I know, when I read that I thought ‘thank fuck its no-one important’ too, but the chance this disease could be on the spread is cause for concern.

Hopefully we will see a bigger crowd than the one that graced us last week however. If you have a mate thats been talking of taking in an AFCW game then this week might be the week to bring them. Although, despite the close nature of the division I hope the fact we are fourth may have an impact, as any fair-weather floaters may have been put of by our awful form dropping us down to twelfth… either that or there are several hundred of us who are really put off by draws (like Mrs Anonymous Don, brought up in a country where winners are everything, losers are nothing, and those who draw are communists… I had to explain to her last week why in reality it’s not really preferable to ‘sometimes wish they lost as its better than drawing’…).

Predicted line up time…

Pullen

Hatton

Hussey

Lorraine/Inns

Johnson

Gregory

Adjei

Taylor

Moore

Kedwell

Montague

Firstly, its not cheating if someone is touch and go due to illness that I select an alternative. Secondly I really think this one stands a great chance of being the first time I get it 100% right. I know it Terry pretty much gave it away and it was virtually identical to Tuesday, but still, allow me a rare victory. As usual, it would be great to hear your opinions, especially those who agree with me…

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