Harriers' promotion hopes were dealt another blow with a disappointing defeat in a dour game against former
Conference rivals Macclesfield at Moss Rose.
Depleted Harriers lined up with more changes, Stuart Brock returning to the team for the first time since
January after having spent the last eleven games on the bench. Fraser Digby was left out altogether
and there was no goalkeeper on the bench, deadline day signing Hugh McAuley was unable to make the starting
line up and youth team player Nick Heath was included in the sixteen for the first time in a Football League
Macclesfield were the first to show, in the opening minutes Danny Whitaker tested Brock but the Harriers
keeper was able to parry his 20 yard shot. Harriers attacked also but for all of their possession
they culd not find a telling final ball into the penalty area. The game became bogged down in midfield
and goalmaouth action was at a premium until the final five minutes of the first half.
Harriers attacked and Sam Shilton created good chances twice in as many minutes. First he got free on
the left and his low cross found Sean Parrish at the near post but his first time shot from the edge of
the penalty area was well saved by Steve Wilson. Next Shilton's cross found Andy Bishop who headed
wide at the near post when he had time to do better.
After the interval the home team came out stronger and almost took the lead two minutes into the half,
Whitaker's left wing corner picked out Kyle Lightbourne who headed straight at Brock. The opening
goal was not long in coming, however, Harriers allowed Darren Dunning to run at them with the ball and
he slipped the ball through the backline to substitute John Miles who swept his shot past Brock and into
the far corner.
Two minutes later more slack defending allowed The Silkmen to double their advantage. The ball was
played across the face of the penalty area from the left to an unmarked Whitaker in the inside-right
postition who had plenty of time to pick his spot as he lashed the ball home.
With 25 minutes remaining Harriers made a double substitution in an attempt to lift the performance, sending
on Ian Foster and for his debut Hugh McAuley and changed the formation to 3-4-1-2 with the debutant sitting
in the hole behind the strikers. McAuley offered Harriers' best attacking option with some dangerous
crossing that began to cause problems for the home team. On 76 minutes he crossed from deep on the
right, Parrish flicked it on but the ball evaded the oncoming Drewe Broughton. Four minutes later he
popped up on the other flank and crossed to the far post where Sean Flynn got up well but headed just wide.
McAuley also tried his luck with a couple of shots but sent them both wide. At the other end Whitaker
was still a torn in Harriers' side, bringing a save from Brock and also hitting the post. Results
elsewhere went in Harriers' favour keeping them in the play-off hunt, but they must begin to take the chances
that they create and make their opponentts work harder if they are to succeed.