Express & Star

Kidderminster Harriers 3 Oxford City 2 - Report

Resurgent Kidderminster Harriers are on the brink of moving out of the National League relegation zone for the first time since last September after roaring back from 2-0 down at half time to beat Oxford City 3-2 at Aggborough.


New boss Phil Brown’s battlers overcame their bottom-of-the-table visitors thanks to goals from Amari Morgan-Smith, Jack Lambert and substitute Gold Omotayo.

Josh Parker bagged a brace for Oxford during an action-packed clash in which the referee dismissed Brown from the touchline in the closing stages of the first half.

It was Brown’s fourth league victory in a row since taking over from Russ Penn.

His side’s thrilling win, in front of a 3,000-plus crowd, also enabled Harriers to improve on their efforts at Oxford last November when they shared the points in a 2-2 draw.

Brown made one change from the side which triumphed 1-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge the previous Saturday with striker Sam Bellis, on loan from Barrow, coming in for Omotayo, who dropped to the bench.

Harriers gave away a corner inside the opening three minutes, but the danger was soon cleared.

The hosts struggled to settle and it was not until the 14th minute that they worried the Hoops with a shot from Zak Brown which was not far off target.

A couple of minutes later they forced their first corner, but Lambert’s high kick into the area was safely cleared away.

Oxford, however, gained the lead on 17 minutes when unchallenged Parker headed home a perfectly placed cross from Aaron Williams-Bushell.

Rocked Harriers set about trying to get back on terms, but suffered an injury blow just after the half hour mark when defender Matt Preston limped off and was replaced Aaron Harper-Bailey, who is on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

Soon after boss Brown was shown a red card after comments he apparently made on the touchline.

Worse was to follow for Harriers when Parker confidently scored from the penalty spot on 44 minutes after Reece Fleet had been brought down in the area by Alex Penny.

The hosts made a positive start to the second half and forced two quick-fire corners, but both came to nothing.

They pulled a goal back on 58th minutes when Lambert set up the opportunity for Morgan-Smith to score with a sweetly struck pile-driver which went in off the underside of the bar.

They continued to battle hard for an equaliser which deservedly arrived in the 75th minute when Morgan-Smith helped to create the chance for Lambert to score from close range.

It was 3-2 on 79 minutes when Omotayo wrapped up the points by firmly heading in a cross from Caleb Richards.

Kidderminster: Dibble; McNally, Preston (Harper-Bailey, 34), Penny; Hemmings (Pearce, 89|), Brown, Byrne, Richards; Lambert, Bellis (Omotayo, 61), Morgan-Smith. Subs not used: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Hesketh.

Oxford: Brzozowski, Burley, Ashby (Coyle, 71), Kirby (Phillips, 67), Roddy, Fleet, Roberts, Parker, Smith |(Greenslade, 81), Williams-Bushell, Carroll. Subs not used: Potter, Birtwistle.

Referee: Gary Parsons.

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