Report: Harriers in Youth Cup penalty heartache

Report as Harriers and Boldmere collide in the FA Youth Cup at Aggborough…

Harriers v Boldmere St Michaels in the FA Youth Cup. Image: (c) KHFC

HARRIERS exited the FA Youth Cup on penalties 2-1 after a thrilling 2-2 draw against Boldmere St Michaels at Aggborough on Wednesday night.

The visitors, quickly looking brighter and braver than arguably any of the opposition to come to Aggborough in the run so far, had the lead inside 15 minutes. Freddie Cockerell had already snatched an effort wide before Luca Jones stepped up to a free-kick from 20 or so yards, bending it coolly around everyone and into the net.

Harriers were stirred by that goal and reacted quickly, an early riposte chalked off for a foul as a header found the net. By the 23rd minute the equaliser had arrived, though, with Josh Parker staying composed to slot home a follow-up after an initial shot from inside the area had been saved as the point of a fluid team move.

Five minutes later, another Jones delivery gave Louie Hart a sniff of a chance as Boldmere won a dangerously-placed free kick, but his effort landed on the roof of the net.

On the half hour, with home confidence beginning to flow, Jack Male took aim from distance with a shot that had plenty of dip, but ultimately fell short of troubling the composed Finley Taylor in the visiting goal.

Kai Lissimore, eight minutes later, forced a wonder save from Taylor as he tipped his rising shot over the bar, with the resultant corner re-worked to Samson Hewett who dug out as similarly sharp drive, this one heading inches over.

Harriers bagged themselves the best possible start to the second half, netting a second goal within three minutes to complete the turnaround in score – Parker the man at the point of a heavy team press and left with what looked the relatively easy task of rounding the keeper and firing home.

On the hour it was Boldmere’s turn to protest against a goal disallowed for a foul as they’d turned he ball home from close range, Taylor then again extending himself up at the other end to turn aside a rising Hewett effort.

Unsurprisingly, the game was at its most open and expansive in the final quarter-hour as substitutions – and a need for the visitors to wrestle back the score –  led to some hairy exchange at either end.

With seven left of normal time, Boldmere did draw themselves level – Harriers hadn’t learned an earlier lesson of napping at a cute free-kick routine, this one leaving sub Morgan Davage free to cross to Matthew Greenway who nodded home a well-taken header.

In the dying seconds of normal time it looked like sub Ollie Tyalor-Bradley might just win it for Harriers as the team won the ball and broke away, but once again Taylor in goal was equal to it and made a solid stop.

As it was, more penalty shoot-out heartache followed for the young Reds. In truth it was a shoot-out dominated by goalkeepers – both stoppers excelling themselves. Luke Bastable ended up being the only player able to convert for the hosts, Danny Kitching notching the winning spot-kick for Boldmere, who triumphed 2-1 after five kicks apiece.

Harriers:  Wood, Bastable, Cole (Pierpoint 64), Lissimore, Tait, Arrowsmith, Tolley, Male, Parker (Taylor-Bradley 77), Horan, Hewett.

Subs not used:  Melia, Cox, Lee, O’Sullivan, Downs.

Attendance: 445

Referee: Craig Thompson

This article is about: Academy, Youth


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