Fleet went down 3-2 against a second title challenger inside a week as Kidderminster continued their rich vein of form.
Forced to make changes to the team who lost 3-1 to Grimsby with Tobi Alabi and Dammy Shitta coming in for the injured Stefan Payne and Craig Stone, the Fleet bench remained the same which meant there was still no place for Tom Phipp.
The game began and it was quite an open affair without either side creating any clear opportunities, although there was one chance falling to the visitors as Alabi was through on goal only to see his effort go way wide of the goal. It didn’t take long for the first goal to arrive. An optimistic Shitta shot from outside the box was palmed up into the air by the Kiddy keeper and the ball dropped into the net, in the 13th minute of the game. But the lead didn’t last long as just a minute later, the hosts were level. Preston Edwards appeared to be fouled as he went to claim the ball and it fell nicely for James Vincent to strike home from 8 yards out. With the Fleet defenders waiting for a foul to be given, Vincent had all the time in the world to pick his spot.
The young midfielder almost doubled his tally soon after as he was put through on goal only to see his effort saved down low by Edwards. Josh Scott could have put the visitors ahead but like Alabi, put his effort wide of the goal. Ashley Carew’s well struck free kick was well held by Lewis. Kyle Storer went close with a free kick, his effort brushing the side netting. The save of the match came just before the break when Marvin Johnson’s low cross made it to the six yard box where Greg Pearson got on the end of it. The ball looked destined for the net until an excellent reflex save from Edwards stopped the hosts from taking the lead, at least for a little while longer.
Neither side were playing like their league position would suggest in that first half. The Harriers came out all guns blazing in the second though. It took just a couple of minutes for the first chance to arrive as Anthony Malbon chased down a ball on the left wing before putting in a delightful cross. Pearson was there waiting for it but his header struck the upright. Whatever Burr said to his team at half-time certainly worked as Kiddy looked a totally different side in the second half. Storer and Keith Briggs spurned good chances soon after.
The Harriers deservedly took the lead just after the hour mark as an awful piece of defending allowed Malbon to nick in and sweep into the empty net. The young striker is on an exceptional run of form of late, this goal was his seventh in his last six matches.
The home side almost made it three soon after as that man Malbon drew another fantastic save from Edwards as he palmed the effort away from the six-yard box. The ball rolled to the edge of the area and an incoming Lee Vaughen smashed his effort over the bar.
The introduction of Nathan Elder was a sigh of relief to the travelling Fleet fans. The top scorer was on the bench for the fifth game in a row and he didn’t take long to get into the game as a ball into the box saw him head over the bar from six yards with no defender near him.
Substitute Callum Gittings scored his first goal of the season to put the Harriers 3-1 up in the 88th minute. Ryan Rowe’s ball through to him was expertly finished, leaving Edwards with no chance of saving it. Josh Gowling, who was having a good game, fouled Elder in the box to give the visitors a chance to reduce the defecit to just one. The number 9 dusted himself off and sent ‘keeper Lewis the wrong way. With four minutes added on, the Fleet put the hosts under pressure, but it wasn’t to be as Josh Scott blasted the final kick of the game over the bar.
With Wrexham only drawing to Alfreton, Harriers are now level on points with the Welsh outfit at the top end of the League while the Fleet remain 23rd but are now five points from safety and face a tough trip to Wrexham midweek. Kiddy travel to York’s Bootham Crescent to face Gateshead.
TEAM: Edwards, Howe, Gwillim, Saville, Lorraine, Barrett, Shitta (Bellamy 81), Carew, Alabi (Elder 64), Enver-Marum (Azeez 82), Scott. Subs not used: Menz, Walsh