It’s been win, lose, win, lose for the Fleet thus far so while the trip to Gateshead might not have ended up the way Fleet fans had hoped, they’ll be looking for the sequence to revert to a win this coming Saturday against Kidderminster Harriers, writes Katie Humphris.
Midfielder Jack Lambert is suspended for the visitors following a second yellow card for him in the Harriers’ match with Bromley last week.
Four games out of the 46 matches have passed and both sides have a mixed run of form. The Fleet currently hold that win-lose streak, which Dennis Kutrieb will be looking to transform into consecutive wins, starting with Saturday’s match against the Harriers. Despite a disappointing result on Saturday, the goalscoring form is in favour of the Fleet, who have racked up five goals this season compared to Kidderminster’s two. To counterbalance that, however, the Harriers have conceded just the two goals compared to the Fleet’s six.
Kidderminster have earned a pair of goalless draws against sides in the play-offs last season – Woking and 10-man Bromley – while claiming a 1-0 victory at much-fancied York, whereas defeat has come at the hands of their fellow promoted club, AFC Fylde.
Head to head
It has been more than 10 years since the Fleet last faced Kidderminster Harriers in the league, although an FA Trophy tie went the Aggborough side’s way in 2017 when we both finished as runners-up in the South/North divisions. There have been a run of six draws with two victories each for Kidderminster either side of that sequence, meaning the Fleet haven’t enjoyed three points against the visitors since 2007. The two clubs go back a long way, into the Southern League of the late 1940s, and this will be the 40th meeting, with Harriers enjoying a 17-12 lead in wins.
Christian Dibble wears the gloves, signed from Wrexham earlier this year. The former Chelmsford City keeper is the son of Andy Dibble who won the League Cup with Luton Town in 1988 and also played for Manchester City and Rangers. There’s a new face in midfield with the signing on loan of Motherwell man Barry Maguire, a former Scotland U21 international. Ashley Hemmings is the fans’ favourite and has scored 46 goals for the Midlands side, two of which were the difference in the promotion final last season. Up front, Amari Morgan-Smith will be a menace, clocking 43 goals in 125 appearances for the Harriers. For all that, some Harriers fans have bemoaned their lack of striking options, which would seem to be borne out by their goals total to date. And last year, they scored only 49 on the way to promotion, with just five sides in the division having a lower goals total.
Russell Penn is in the dugout, a man with a long history of playing at this level for the likes of Burton Albion, York City and Gateshead. He is a former Kidderminster players as well, having turned out for the Harriers at Stonebridge Road – part of nearly 200 appearances on the pitch for the visitors in two separate spells. He also made eight appearances for the England C team. Kidderminster is his first managerial job and alongside last season’s promotion, he can add an FA Cup Fourth Round run where a Declan Rice equaliser was all that stopped his side seeing off West Ham United.
After FA Trophy and Conference success in the late 1980s and 1990s, Harriers spent five years in the League from 2000-05. They came near to restoring that status a couple of times but eventually fell into the National North in 2016. A couple of unsuccessful play-off attempts over the past seven years culminated in a late rally last season to seize sixth place and three wins in the play-offs to return to the top division.
It’s familiar territory for the Fleet’s Omari Sterling-James who played his part in Harriers’ FA Cup run of 2021/22 before signing on at the Kuflink Stadium last summer. And new loan signing Maguire, who made his debut for Harriers last week, played alongside the Fleet’s Craig Tanner at Motherwell.
There will be a full tribute to the Fleet’s Peter Danzey published in our matchday programme Fleet Review and supporters are asked to join in a minute’s silence ahead of kick-off, when we will be joined at the game by Peter’s family.
Tickets can be bought online here until kick-off (the match is segregated so please select HOME or AWAY options as necessary) and also on the day at our ticket windows. Car-parking is available for the special matchday price of £3 at Ebbsfleet International Car Park C. Programmes can be pre ordered online with your ticket or from our online shop here. In the ground, you can purchase in the club shop, at the Plough End social club and by the popup bar on the way to the Main Stand.
Supporters are reminded that alcohol will not be permitted to be consumed within view of the pitch and that matches will be segregated as required at the Swanscombe End (or the far end of it). Please cooperate with the instructions of our security team and stewards.