NLN REPORT | Kidderminster Harriers 1-2 Chester
Chester made the ideal start to the Vanarama National League North campaign this evening with a narrow victory at Kidderminster.
In a game which saw a red card apiece, Danny Elliott gave the Blues the lead before Ashley Hemmings equalised six minutes later.
Former Harrier Declan Weeks would step up in the second half to score the winner and give Chester just their third opening day win since reformation.
The Blues had the first big chance of the game inside the opening ten minutes. Brad Bauress’ deep inswinging corner found Danny Livesey – but his header was just over the bar.
Minutes later, Kiddy had the ball in the net as Ashley Hemmings turned home from Amari Morgan-Smith’s cross, however the flag was up for offside.
After Elliott and then Sam Austin both had efforts wide of the post from distance, the game got lively in the last twenty minutes prior to the interval.
First, midway through the half, Elliott opened his account for the season with a powerful finish inside the box. It was good initial work down the left by Bauress to find Joel Taylor, and his bursting run resulted in the cross which led to the breakthrough.
Nevertheless, Russ Penn’s side were level six minutes later. Good work on the left side for the hosts this time saw Omari Sterling send in a perfect low cross for Hemmings to sneak in at the back post and convert.
Then, on 37 minutes came a real talking point. A lengthy stoppage in play saw a group of incensed Chester players surround Referee Greg Rollason – before Morgan-Smith was brandished a red card for what we believe was dissent.
A scuffle in the technical area would then ensue, with three yellow cards brandished to backroom staff – two to the Blues.
John Johnston would go close to his first competitive Blues goal in first half stoppage time, latching on to a good through ball from Elliott, but Luke Simpson tipped his effort wide of the far post.
Chester came out firing though – and would retake the lead 12 minutes into the second half.
Making the man advantage count, it was the former Kiddy man Declan Weeks,who would come back to haunt his former club with a powerful shot into the top corner at the near post after Johnston’s cross was cleared straight to the feet of the midfielder.
But then it was back level in terms of players on 64 minutes when Paddy Lacey was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Sterling in the middle of the pitch.
Whilst the hosts would then dominate the ball in search of an equaliser, they would create very little until the final stages of the game.
On 88 minutes, sub Jaiden White turned and fired in a shot which looked destined for the net, nevertheless Louis Gray made a stunning low reaction stop. The hosts would strike the post on the follow up, before somehow putting a further rebound wide to cap off an almighty game of pinball.
Again, Russ Penn’s side thought they were level in stoppage time as Max Taylor rose to head Sterling’s corner – but Waring somehow cleared off the line. Appeals for handball were also waved away.
The final act in a fiery game, Bern and Jonno’s side held on to get their first three points on the board.
CHESTER: Gray, K Roberts, Livesey, Grand, Taylor, Johnston (Dudley 73), Glendon, Lacey, Bauress (Waring 73), Weeks, Elliott (G Roberts 82).
SUBS NOT USED: Morgan, Marsh-Hughes.
SCORERS: Hemmings 29; Elliott 23, Weeks 57.
REFEREE: Greg Rollason.