Blyth Spartans 0 Kidderminster Harriers1 - Report

Kidderminster Harriers manager Russ Penn handed league debuts to six of his Summer signings as Harriers made the long trip north to face Blyth Spartans for their first game of the campaign.

Nat Knight-Percival, Kristian Pearce, Nathan Lowe, Shane Byrne, Tom Owen-Evans and Yusifu Ceesay all made the starting eleven as the pre-season favourites arrived at Croft Park.

After a bright opening Harriers were pegged back as Spartans pressed and created the best chance of the opening half on sixteen minutes, when Nicky Deverdics split the visitors defence for Lewis McNall to fire in a goalbound effort that Tom Palmer pushed away diving to his left.

Krystian Pearce was lucky to stay on the field midway through the half as he led with his elbow to fell McNall, referee Helen Conley deciding only a yellow card would be shown despite Spartans’ protests.

McNall and Tom Owen-Evans then followed Pearce into the book moments later as frustration grew on both sides.

Harriers finished the half the better, Yusifu Ceesay seeing a shot blocked by the recovering Toby Lees but the visitors wasted a better chance four minutes before the break.

Ethan Freemantle broke free of his cover as he raced into the area but snatched at his shot to send the ball sailing over the bar and out of the ground to leave the teams goalless at the interval.

Eight minutes after the break the deadlock was broken Tom Owen -Evans released Ceesay who drew the keeper before squaring for Ashley Hemmings to slide the ball home.

Harriers then dominated play, debutant Ceesay causing all sorts of problems for the home defence but he was unable to convert those opportunities.

Alex Nicholson had a long range strike that Tom Palmer tipped over the bar before Harriers continued their offensive.

Substitute Zack Brown set up Hemmings who drilled his effort across goal and in the final stages Hemmings produced a spectacular overhead kick that beat Mitchell but also the angle of bar and post, to leave Harriers celebrating an opening day victory.

Blyth Spartans: Mitchell, Evans, Liddle, Nicholson, Lees, Richardson, Hickey, McNall (Gillies 76), O’Donnell, McKeown (Fishburn 65), Deverdics. Subs Not Used: Buddle, Elsdon, Dopson.

Harriers: Palmer, Foulkes, Richards, Pearce, Knight-Percival, Lowe, Byrne, Hemmings, Owen-Evans (Rogers 90), Ceesay (Martin 83), Freemantle (Brown 53). Subs Not Used: Leak, Margetson

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