Kidderminster 0 Woking 0 - Report
Kidderminster Harriers marked their return to non-league’s top fight after a seven year absence with an entertaining goalless draw against Woking at Aggborough.
Boss Russ Penn’s men produced an encouraging performance in front of a 3,000-plus crowd, but were unable to find a way past the visitors’ well organised defence.
Harriers had been hoping to launch their home National League programme with a victory following promotion last season when they secured just seven National League North wins at Aggborough.
Their hard fought stalemate also denied them the chance of continuing last term’s winning streak when they ended their memorable campaign with a remarkable run of nine consecutive victories, including a 2-0 play-off final triumph at Brackley Town.
After a hectic start, Kidderminster unsettled the visitors’ defence in the sixth minute with a neat through ball by Zak Brown, but Ashley Hemmings was unable to gain possession before goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen booted the ball well clear.
Woking responded shortly afterwards when good work by Padraig Amond led to him having his close range attempt snuffed out low down by goalkeeper Christian Dibble.
Harriers were soon back up field and a long free kick enabled Brown to get in a shot, but his effort lacked the necessary power to beat Jaaskelainen who safely gathered the ball above his head.
The Cards had a chance to get in a shot on target in the 16th minute, but Amond curled his 20 yard free kick well over the bar.
Both sides continued plug away for a clear-cut opening with Joe Leesley worrying the visitors rear-guard with a long range angled volley which flew just wide of the far post.
The first half drew to a close with Rhys Browne firing wide for Woking before the hosts were denied the opportunity to break the deadlock when Brown and Hemmings set up Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain for a shot which was kept out by Jaaskelainen’s outstretched leg.
The match continued at a lively pace in the second period and in the 58th minute Kidderminster had two quick-fire penalty appeals turned down during a burst of heavy pressure in front of goal.
Woking were always a danger when pushing forward and had a couple of chances before Harriers made a substitution by drafting on newcomer Gerry McDonagh for his debut in place of Brown in the 74th minute.
Soon after Dibble pulled off an excellent diving save to push away a fiercely struck free kick by substitute Robbie Willmott while in the tense closing stages Hemmings had a powerful drive rebound off the bar.
Kidderminster: Dibble; Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Knight-Percival, Pearce, Preston, Richards; Leesley, Byrne (Lissimore, 87); Brown (McDonagh 73), Morgan-Smith, Hemmings. Subs not used; Penny, Phillips, Lambert.
Woking: Jaaskelainen; Moss, Cuthbert, Taylor, Casey (Akinola, 73); Robinson (Willmott, 64), Ince, Kellermann; Grego-Cox (Boateng, 56), Amond, Browne. Subs not used: Day, Korboa.
Referee: Dale Baines.
Attendance: 3,116 (420 away fans).