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Chasetown FC 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1

Ramone Stephens runs at the Kidderminster Harriers defence. Pic: Dave Birt

Ramone Stephens runs at the Kidderminster Harriers defence. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown FC opened their home pre-season programme with a 1-0 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers.

The Blue Square Premier side started brightly with home skipper Richard Teesdale stopping an early attack down the right by Kieth Briggs, and the pressure was turned up still further by the visitors who were eager to succeed after three defeats in their previous three friendlies.

Dave Hankin shot wide for the Harriers in the fifth minute, before Chasetown’s first chance one minute later saw Gavin Saunders force Danny Lewis into a fine diving save with a left-footed shot from 30 yards.

Tom Sharpe had Harriers’ next chance in the 14th minute but headed over Ryan Price’s bar, and the visitors continued to dictate the play, breaking up an attack on 26 minutes after the ever-lively Ramone Stephens had found space on the left.  Sharpe then headed out Mark Branch’s corner at close range before Ben Jevons headed a free kick from the set-piece specialist over the bar.

Chasetown lost Teesdale to injury on 37 minutes after a collision with Chris McPhee while attacking a corner, but John Branch and Chris Slater kept the defence tight throughout the half.

The Harriers made several changes at the break, and Kevin Holsgrove fired wide to begin the second half, before a quickly-taken free kick from Duncan Swann-Horler was fired wide of the post by Jevons.

Chasetown made four changes just past the hour but chances were still few and far between, Price stopping a run by Matty Blair on 68 minutes after the latter beat Chris Horton to Callum Gittins’ neat pass.

Lee Parsons made his long-awaited return from injury on 70 minutes as he replaced Jevons, but still neither side could find a breakthrough in the damp and slippery conditions.

Scholars substitute Lee Smith sent a long ball wide of the far post with eight minutes on the clock, but two minutes later Lloyd Kerry put away a low cross from Blair on the left to give the visitors the lead.

Kidderminster Harriers break the deadlock against Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Kidderminster Harriers break the deadlock against Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

The Harriers could have made it two in the final minute but Price tipped Blair’s header around the near post after a good ball in from Callum Gittins.

Despite the defeat, Chasetown could take pride in a tough and close-fought display against higher league opposition, which should set them up nicely for their match against Aston Villa on July 26 (7.15pm kick-off).  Before that, they visit Heath Hayes tomorrow (July 22), kick off 7.45pm, and Romulus on July 24 (3pm).

Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Slater, Saunders, Teesdale (c), Stephens, Swann-Horler, Hay, Perrow, Jevons.  Subs: D Smith (Hay 62), L Smith (Swann-Horler 62), Horton (Teesdale 37), Egan (Stephens 62), Faultless (GK), Parsons (Jevons 70), Peel (Saunders 62).
Lewis, Sharpe, Williams, Briscoe, Shaw, Albrighton, Hawkin, Briggs (c), McPhee, Morris, Byrne.  Subs: Blair (Morris 45), Hadley (Hankin 45), Gittins (Williams 58), Kerry (Shaw 45), Stevens (GK) (Lewis 45), Holsgrove (McPhee 45), Griffiths (Briggs 45), Vaughan (Albrighton 45).

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