John Eustace unhappy as his depleted Kidderminster Harriers crumble
Kidderminster Harriers’ injury-hit squad failed to cope with in-form Brackley Town as goals from Lee Ndlovu and James Armson saw off the visitors’ challenge.
Joel Taylor, Joe Ironside and Dan Bradley were all missing from the weekend victory over Alfreton Town with Andre Brown, Manny Sonupe and Kennedy Digie replacing them, but manager John Eustace was disappointed with the showing.
The Harriers boss refused to accept the injuries as a reason for the poor showing, saying: “That’s no excuse, the eleven I picked all want to play in the team and all come to me and say ‘Why aren’t I playing?’
“We picked a strong team and we’re disappointed with the result, we played better in the second half but we never got the ball into their box enough. The goals we conceded were sloppy and it knocked the wind out of us a bit. It’s not good enough.”
Harriers inconsistency during the campaign showed as their seventh game in 24 days was littered with mistakes against a Brackley side who had dropped their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw at Chorley on Saturday.
Ndlovu and Aaron Williams forced Harriers keeper Brandon Hall into smart saves near the foot of the post during the early exchanges as the visitors’ defence came under pressure. That pressure told after 28 minutes – Elton Ngwatala brought down Alex Gudger on the left edge of the box and Shane Byrne delivered a curling free-kick that Ndlovu headed powerfully into the net.
Harriers were almost undone again just two minutes later as Ndlovu broke free to unselfishly play the ball for Williams, only for the striker to see his effort cleared off the line by Liam Daly.
The visitors had no answer to the waves of attack bearing down on their goal, Ndlovu again going close with a shot on the turn before Gareth Dean struck the side netting from Gudger’s free kick.
Harriers made changes at half time, Josh Webb and Daniel N’ti introduced for Kennedy Digie and Cieron Keane.
Webb had an immediate impact, his right-wing cross was fumbled by former Harriers keeper Danny Lewis but Dean was on hand to clear the danger. Harriers played a quicker tempo and stretched the home side but they were unable to find a way through the stubborn defence.
On 68 minutes, Brackley sealed the win. Williams looked to have let the ball run out but continued his run and delivered a left-wing cross that Armson looped back across goal inside the right-hand post.
Harriers showed more spirit but lacked invention and went through the game without having an effort on target.