Harriers dent play-off hopes

Stevenage Boro 1 Kidderminster Harriers 2 MARCUS CRAWLEY reports THIS defeat was a real double whammy for faltering Boro. Harriers evened the score at Broadhall Way on Tuesday night in a dress rehearsal for their FA Trophy final meeting at Wembley next mo

Stevenage Boro 1 Kidderminster Harriers 2

MARCUS CRAWLEY reports

THIS defeat was a real double whammy for faltering Boro.

Harriers evened the score at Broadhall Way on Tuesday night in a dress rehearsal for their FA Trophy final meeting at Wembley next month.

And the defeat - Boro's fourth in five games since reaching Wembley - means their play-off chances are becoming increasingly more remote.

Boro won 2-1 in the reverse fixture at the end of November but Harriers stormed into a two-goal lead at the break on this occasion and withstood a second-half barrage to claim the points.

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Harriers made the brighter start and went ahead after 20 minutes following a controversial free-kick.

Jon Nurse was manhandled by the towering figure of Mark Creighton but referee Cook amazingly decided to award the visitors the decision.

Then Jonny Harkness' delivery into the box was not cleared properly and Russell Penn buried a left-foot shot past keeper Alan Julian.

The goal livened the game up with Craig Dobson shooting straight at Scott Bevan and Steve Guppy volleying a deep Dobson cross just wide. Jake Sedgemore shot straight at Julian in between.

Harriers doubled their lead just after the half hour mark and there could be no complaints from the home side this time. Mark Hughes blatantly tripped Simon Russell in the penalty area and Iyseden Christie made no mistake from the spot.

Lacklustre Boro threatened a response when Steve Morison's volley flicked the outside of the post from a low Barry Fuller cross.

Then, in added time, Nurse beat Bevan to a high ball but his header dropped just wide.

Rejuvenated at the break, the home side did pull a goal back within a minute of the restart through skipper Ronnie Henry. John Nutter's free-kick was flicked on by Dobson and Henry buried a shot beyond Bevan.

It was largely one-way traffic after this as Harriers had their backs to the wall, six of their players entering the referee's notebook during the course of the half to make it eight in total.

A Hughes volley was brilliantly kept out by Bevan minutes after the Boro goal and the keeper also foiled a marauding Dobson.

Sub Mitchell Cole had two attempts late on, one over and one saved, while in the seven minutes of added time played only a poor touch from Morison denied him a clear shooting opportunity.

Boro boss Mark Stimson said: "Our second-half performance was more like I want us to play.

"The players showed the passion to be a League player - I definitely want to be a League manager."

Harriers boss Mark Yates said: "Stevenage are a very, very good side but we've proved we're a good side as well. We've lost one and won one this season against Stevenage now.

"Our spirit and belief came through in the second half. I thought we deserved to be two-up at half time.

"Then the early goal gave Stevenage some impetus but we stood firm after that.

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