Gallery: Ruthless Boro crush Harriers' Wembley dream
Kidderminster Harriers 1 Stevenage Borough 5 STEVENAGE Borough took a giant step towards a third trip to Wembley in four years after a ruthless display in front of goal which humbled Kidderminster Harriers in the Worcestershire club s own back yard. David
Kidderminster Harriers 1 Stevenage Borough 5
STEVENAGE Borough took a giant step towards a third trip to Wembley in four years after a ruthless display in front of goal which humbled Kidderminster Harriers in the Worcestershire club's own back yard.
David Bridges bagged two and so did Chris Beardsley with Yemi Odubade also getting on the scoresheet as Boro made it six wins in a row in all competitions in a run which has averaged more than three goals a game.
And as if that wasn't enough to please the Boro faithful their side also finished Saturday top of the Blue Square Premier as Oxford United failed to make the most of their game in hand by drawing against Kettering Town.
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Boro travelled to Kidderminster with Stacy Long ruled out because of a bug and Lee Boylan sidelined through injury so in came Mitchell Cole and Joel Byrom to fill the gaps in the side which put four past Barrow on Tuesday evening.
Both Charlie Griffin and Darren Murphy, who had started midweek for the reserves, were left out of the squad.
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Despite the final scoreline, Boro began the game on the back foot as the hosts came out of the blocks looking to catch their visitors off guard.
On the left Cole was pushed back as Kiddie right-back Duane Courtney ventured forward but the winger was equal to him and impressed in his defensive duties.
Lee Baker had the first shot on goal on 12 minutes when his low effort was gathered by Day moments after Darryl Knights' effort was blocked while two minutes later Courtney almost caught Day out after his cross had the Boro 'keeper back-pedalling only to see it drop inches over his goal.
Brian Smikle had his shooting boots on but despite having numerous first half chances including a 20 yard shot at Chris Day on 16 minutes and a limp header which he sent back across the 18 yard box five minutes later he was unable to hit the back of the Boro net.
In a surprising turn of events it was Boro who took the lead after soaking up the early pressure.
Ronnie Henry's free kick was cleared to Byrom whose one-two with Beardsley saw the midfielder pass back to Michael Bostwick whose cross was floated in from the right for the waiting Bridges to head past Ross Atkins.
Three minutes later Kiddie were level through a peach of a strike from Gavin Caines from 25 yards but sandwiched in between was a moment of controversy when Cole appeared to kick out at a Kiddie player for which he received a booking.
Despite having their lead cancelled out, Boro began to have more of the ball and ex-Kidderminster striker Chris Beardsley went close for Boro when he turned his defender on the edge of the box before running in and seeing his effort saved by Atkins.
Within 10 minutes Boro were ahead again. Cole chased a ball to the Kiddie goal line and his cross was palmed out by Atkins into path of Odubade who was able to bundle it home three yards out while under pressure from a Kiddie defender.
Two became three with just two minutes of the half remaining with Bridges heading home his second of the match.
The workhorse that is Beardsley held the ball up in the box for Cole whose shot was deflected for a corner which Byrom promptly placed on Bridges' head.
Boro were forced into making a change at the break with the unlucky Cole leaving the game through injury.
With Boro 3-1 up Mark Albrighton was brought on to add further steel to the back line with Scott Laird pushing up the wing and Mark Roberts slotting in on the left side of defence.
Boro were given a fright early in the second half with Smikle again going close. The Kiddie striker ran on to a ball and outpacing Jon Ashton he got his shot away but it went inches wide.
Marcus Bignot also had an effort at Day's goal but the midfielder, who would no doubt be asked by his manager to point out after the match the hole he'd been hiding in for most of the game, shot over.
Boro brought on Andy Drury for Byrom on 65 minutes as Boro looked to keep hold of the ball but the big man did more than that as his cross into the box allowed Bridges to head on to the bar which Beardsley followed up for Boro's fourth.
Bridges was replaced by Peter Vincenti with five minutes to go and his two goal haul was equalled by Beardsley moments later when the striker pulled the ball from the air on the right before running into the box where he smacked it home.
The 26-year-old then almost made it six when he headed Drury's cross just wide in the dying seconds.
Although Boro won't be thinking about the final their home record these past 18 months would suggest that Kiddie would have to pull off the greatest ever FA Trophy comeback to deny them a place at Wembley.
Kidderminster Harriers (4-3-3): Atkins 4, Courtney 6, Baker 6, Caines 5, Riley 4, Mcphee 5, Bennett 6, Bignot 3 (Lawrie, 73), Smikle 6, Boyes 5 (Matthew 5, 60), Knights 6. Subs: Singh, Hayward, Sharpe.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7, Ashton 8, Roberts 8, Laird 7, Bridges 8 (Vincenti, 84), Bostwick 8, Byrom 7 (Drury 8, 64), Cole 8 (Albrighton 7, 46), Odubade 7, Beardsley 9. Subs: Bayes, Sills.
Referee: K Woolmer, Northants.