Date: 16th December 2017 at 5:14pm
Written by: Vital York City

York City’s hold on the FA Trophy ended in tame fashion with a 2-1 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough Stadium.

Both home goals arrived in the opening half with James Pearson and Emmanuel Sonupe each finding the net during a disastrous sixty seconds of action.

Substitute Amari Morgan-Smith’s excellent finish at least offered the visitors some hope with fourteen minutes remaining, but their long overdue late surge failed to discover an equaliser despite hitting the woodwork.

Manager Martin Gray handed debuts to new midfield duo Sean McAllister and Alex Pattison, with Daniel Parslow and Morgan-Smith both reverting to the bench.

Home striker Sonupe blazed an early effort out of the ground while newcomer McAllister cleared well before team-mate Sean Newton required attention following an attempted challenge. He limped back into the action but remained uncomfortable.

Kidderminster’s leading scorer Joe Ironside then saw a header easily gathered by ex-Harriers keeper Adam Bartlett before Sonupe drove narrowly wide midway through the opening half.

The visitors were soon claiming for a penalty when James Gray went down at Pattison’s corner, while Jon Parkin’s deflected effort landed on the roof of the net before also volleying well over.

David Ferguson next forced keeper Brandon Hall to save at the second attempt, but the holders suddenly conceded twice inside sixty seconds.

First defender Pearson struck past Bartlett following Ryan Croasdale’s initial effort being blocked after Newton had failed to track back.

And moments later Sonupe poked in a second goal when holding off the challenge of Ferguson as the visitors once again went seriously missing.

Skipper Newton finally limped off to be replaced by Josh Law prior to the interval, but the damage had already been done.

Debutant Pattison forced keeper Hall into action at his near post following the break, although Sam Austin replied wide after Daniel Rowe had failed to clear and Sonupe also struck into the side-netting.

Morgan-Smith replaced the anonymous Gray around the hour before Parkin directed a free-kick over after Rowe was tripped. Aidan Connolly was next introduced for newcomer McAllister.

But it was Bartlett soon turning over from Harriers substitute James McQuilkin before Elton Ngwatala strode forward unopposed and lashed over the crossbar. Morgan-Smith replied with a header from Adriano Moke’s cross that was never going to threaten.

However, Morgan-Smith curled a beautiful finish into the far corner from the edge of the area to reduce the deficit with fourteen minutes remaining. Fellow substitute Connolly struck narrowly over moments later.

Leading scorer Parkin then appeared to be held back inside the area before Hamza Bencherif glanced a header over following Pattison’s corner.

The visitors were now pushing for a leveller and Bencherif’s header lacked sufficient force to beat the keeper, although Declan Weeks curled wide for their opponents and Sonupe also side-footed tamely at Bartlett – both on the break.

York went so close to an equaliser in added time when Rowe’s shot from distance clipped the outside of an upright, while there were further shouts for a penalty as they earned a couple of late corners.

Goalkeeper Hall also fingertipped over from Parkin to ensure a first competition defeat in seven years for the current holders of the trophy.

Kidderminster Harriers: Hall, Pearson, Taylor, Croasdale, Horsfall, Williams, Sonupe, Weeks, Ironside, Ngwatala (Wright 86), Austin (McQuilkin 61)

subs (unused): Brown, Truslove, Vaughan

Goals: Pearson (35), Sonupe (36)

York City: Bartlett, Rowe, Burn, Bencherif, Ferguson, McAllister (Connolly 66), Moke, Newton (Law 42), Pattison, Parkin, Gray (Morgan-Smith 59)

subs (unused): Parslow, Simpson

Goals: Morgan-Smith (76)

Ref: M. Woods

Att: 1,138 (89 York)