Early Setback For Harriers: Harriers 0-1 Chorley
Harriers suffered an early setback in their National League North campaign with defeat to Chorley.
In a repeat of last season's last game Harriers opened the new season with a visit of Chorley. In a repeat of all four of last season's encounters between the clubs Chorley made themselves incredibly hard to break down and once again 'parked the bus' to frustrate the home side.
Harriers boss handed debuts to four of his summer signings - Brandon Hall, Cieron Keane, Liam Daly and Declan Weeks - with another, in the shape of Josh Webb, on the bench. It was the more established players, though, who featured as Harriers made the early running; Tyrone Williams should have done much better with his tenth minute header from James McQuilkin's right wing corner but directed the ball wide when left in too much space in the heart of the penalty area.
With the visitors making life hard for Harriers goalscoring chances became few and far between as the game developed; Daly missed a header from another McQuilkin corner from the right, nodding wide at the far post five minutes before the break while at the other end Hall was not tested in the opening half.
Five minutes after the interval Harriers should have taken the lead; from yet another McQuilkin corner Joe Ironside saw his shot cleared off the line by Adam Blakeman. Ironside was then denied on the hour mark by a superb save from Magpies keeper Matt Urwin after Manny Sonupe and Keane had combined on the left to set him up to head goalwards.
Hall was finally called into action on 64 minutes when Marcus Carver made a strong run through the inside left channel before lofting the ball to the far post to Terry Gornell who save his point-blank header kept out by the debutant keeper's legs.
Set pieces were Harriers' most likely avenue to find a goal; Williams went close again from a McQuilkin left wing corner, this time heading wide at the near post. Williams then became the villain for Harriers with 12 minutes to go, inadvertently turning the ball past his own keeper to give Chorley the lead as Harriers failed to adequately deal with a corner from the right.
Harriers pressed for an equaliser but still clear-cut chances were rare; in the last minute substitute Elton Ngwatala and Sam Austin combined on the left to set up Andre Brown but his first time shot went wide of the near post and then deep into stoppage time, with what turned out to be the last kick of the game, Liam Truslove saw his 25-yard free-kick deflect off the wall and go over the bar.