Kidderminster Harriers 2 Chester FC 0: Abject Blues dumped out of the FA Cup

Reporter:

Charlie Croasdale

Chester were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle by Kidderminster Harriers on a desperately disappointing afternoon for the Blues.

Marcus Bignot’s side had been favourites to reach the first round proper, but were comprehensively outplayed and outbattled by their National League North opponents throughout the 90 minutes, with groans, boos and chorus’s of ‘what a load of rubbish’ raining down on the players.

It was Kidderminster winger Emmaunel Sonupe who lit up this fourth qualifying round tie, scoring the first goal before setting up Joe Ironside for a second with 10 minutes remaining.

This display exposed the problems facing boss Bignot if the Blues are to drag themselves out of the National League relegation zone, and any hope of a financial boost via a cup run ended at in miserable fashion at Aggborough.

On a unseasonable muggy afternoon the Blues made two changes with Matty Waters and Harry White replacing Tom Shaw and the injured Ross Hannah.

There were spots on the bench for both goalkeeper Ryan Crump and 20-year-old Derby County forward Offrande Zanzala, who both signed on the morning of the game, the latter joining on-loan while Crump has signed non-contract terms.

Harriers started the stronger of the two sides, Ryan Croasdale firing narrowly wide from 20 yards out in the opening 90 seconds before James Akintunde wriggled clear into the area but couldn't pick out Harry White.

John Eustace's side looked hungrier for the ball in the opening 10 minutes, with Elton Ngwatala looking a real handful up top, as the Blues struggled to get control of the midfield battle.

Ngwatala's 25-yard hit was comfortable for Lynch before Taylor beat Andy Halls down the left wing and crossed low but it was stabbed clear by Ryan Astles.

Halls teasing cross nearly found White's head, before Taylor's speculative 35-yard drive flew over but it was the lower league side showing more initiative.

Kingsley James won a knockdown which Akintunde got on the end of but he scuffed his shot wide, before James Pearson's dangerous right wing cross was met by Halls, who was relieved to see Lynch cling onto his poor header.

The Reds deservedly took the lead on 20 minutes. Ngwatala picked the ball up 25 yards out, drove at goal and unleashed a fine effort which skimmed the turf and crashed back against the post, where Sonupe was on hand to bundle home the rebound.

Kidderminster were playing some mesmerising football and Sonupe had strong penalty appeals waved away on 27 minutes after being bundled over by Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, before Halls inexplicably gave away a corner with a woeful 50-yard back-pass.

Halls began to redeem himself with a fine cross which found John McCombe unmarked but he headed over from six yards out.

Good link-up play from James and White saw the former Solihull man bear down on goal but he blazed over 18 yards out.

Sonupe was causing havoc down the left flank and forced a corner which striker Ironside nearly scored from, his volley well blocked by Lynch.

The Blues seemed intent on bringing about their own downfall as Astles, McCombe and Halls almost contrived to hand Sonupe a golden chance to double the lead, as loud chants of 'what a load of rubbish' rained down from the Chester faithful, who roundly booed their team off at the break.

The ineffective Waters was replaced by Jordan Chapell, Rowe-Turner then surrendering possession to Sonupe, who galloped forward 75 yards to win a corner which Croasdale nearly connected with from James McQuilken's delivery.

Halls gave away possession 20 yards out, Sonupe firing his shot over, before Tyrone Williams was dragged back by Rowe-Turner who was walking a tightrope having been cautioned.

Ngwatala's neat skill and shot flashed wide on 56 minutes as the groans rang out from the 522 travelling fans, before Chapell gave the ball away to McQuilken whose low cross was hacked away by Astles.

Zanzala was thrown on for his debut on the hour mark and immediately got involved down the left, winning a free-kick off Williams, before Paul Turnbull skied his shot after a header down from Halls.

Nyal Bell was brought on with 19 minutes left for McCombe, but it was Harriers who kept pressing for the winner as Ironside was denied by Astles' block after good work from the impressive McQuilken.

Further good work from man-of-the-match Sonupe put the tie to bed, as he quick winger skipped past Rowe-Turner and found Ironside who had the simply task of tapping home from close range via Lynch’s upright.

Sonupe flashed another shot wide before he was withdrawn to a standing ovation and the Blues failed to create another chance of note to round off an abysmal afternoon.

Kidderminster: Hall, Pearson (Williams 47), Taylor, Horsfall, O'Connor, Croasdale (c), Sonupe (Austin 82) McQuilkin, Ironside, Ngwatala, Wright (Bradley 62); Subs not used: Brown, Weeks, Digie, Howkins.

Chester: Lynch, Halls, Rowe-Turner, McCombe (Bell 71), Astles, Turnbulll, Dawson, James, Waters (Chapell 45), White (Zanzala 61), Akintunde; Subs not used: Davies, Jones, Shaw, Crump.

Referee: Paul Marsden – 7/10 – Controlled the game well throughout, can be no real complaints.

Attendance: 1,896 (522 away)

Man of the match: Emmaunel Sonupe (Kidderminster)

Email:

charlie.croasdale@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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