REPORT | Kidderminster 3-1 Chester
Chester fell to their second defeat of the season after a disappointing afternoon at Kidderminster Harriers.
The hosts were a goal in front at the break courtesy of Omari Sterling before their lead was stretched in the second 45 thanks to stunning strikes from Mark Carrington and Captain Sam Austin.
Bern and Jonno’s side got a consolation deep into stoppage time as John Johnston converted from the spot but it was too little, too late.
The Joint Managers had made two changes for the game – one enforced – from the draw with Gateshead.
Declan Weeks was sidelined with a groin injury and replaced in midfield by the returning Kevin Roberts. George Waring was back in the side to partner Lloyd Marsh-Hughes in attack, as Jude Oyibo dropped to the bench.
Chester looked defensively solid in the early goings, restricting the home side to attempts from distance which ended up off target.
But Kidderminster went close on 18 minutes when Ethan Freemantle’s cross from the left was headed against the underside of the crossbar by Ashley Hemmings.
Just after this, the Blues had their first real chance of the afternoon. Roberts did well to win the ball back and feed Waring with his back to goal, he found the run of Josh Askew who darted into the box but was denied at the near post by Luke Simpson.
Nevertheless, Harriers were in front on 25 minutes. A sliding pass through found Sterling who kept his composure under pressure from Jamie Morgan to smash the ball into the goal.
After the half hour mark, Morgan was causing problems up the other end. He got the better of Sterling, latching on to a cross-field ball from Matty Williams, before forcing Simpson into a low save.
Two more big chances to extend the lead came and went for the home side before the break.
First, Hemmings’ shot from the edge of the box took a deflection and struck the post – before Sam Austin was brilliantly denied by Louis Gray with a fingertip stop in stoppage time.
A double change at the break looked to spark the Blues into life, and it almost paid off immediately as Clark’s cross was nodded down by Waring – but Simon Grand touched it over the bar.
It was an improved second half performance but Chester were dealt a sucker punch on 63 minutes as the lead was doubled in stunning fashion. Carrington smashed a shot from distance which found the top corner to make it two.
Two became three as the second half progressed – the impressive Austin connecting with a loose ball on the edge of the box and firing into the bottom corner.
The match simmered after the third goal as Chester tried to carve a way back into the game but the home defence stood firm.
Nevertheless, they did get a late goal as Grand was tripped inside the box. Johnston stepped up and slid in his first of the season from the spot.
CHESTER: Gray, Morgan (Grand 46), Cowan, Livesey, Williams, Askew, Clark, Roberts, Dudley (Oyibo 64), Waring, Marsh-Hughes (Johnston 46).
SUBS NOT USED: Hardy, Stephenson.
SCORERS: Sterling 25, Carrington 63, Austin 72; Johnston (pen) 90+6.
ATTENDANCE: 2,143 (325 Chester).