By Fearne Harris
York City slipped to a second consecutive defeat in our first home game of the 2023/24 Vanarama National League season at the hands of Kidderminster Harriers.
Former York man Amari Morgan-Smith’s late header proved to be the winner, condemning Michael Morton’s men to another narrow defeat after the 2-1 loss at Wealdstone in the season opener.
First competitive York starts were handed to Tyler Cordner, Quevin Castro, Alex Woodyard and Zanda Siziba as City made numerous changes to the side that started last week, some of which were forced.
The opening minutes of the game were cagey, Castro’s shot on target from the right edge of the area after being played through by Dan Pybus being the closest either side came in the first 10 minutes.
Adam Crookes made a crucial 21st minute block as the Harriers had their first clear sight of goal through Zak Brown.
With both sides frustrated going forward, Levi Andoh decided to hit one from long range with 10 minutes left in the half which flew over the crossbar.
And with five minutes to go until the break, City looked to put a good move together, Castro linking up well with Siziba who put his cross just out of reach of Dipo Akinyemi.
Kidderminster countered and City were saved by David Stockdale who made a great reaction stop from a fierce Morgan-Smith half-volley from just inside the area.
Adam Crookes headed Maz Kouhyar’s corner just wide of the near post before the visitors went close at the other end when Andoh had to make a great block after Brown was found just outside the six-yard-box.
Both teams continued to struggle to create clear cut chances in the early stages of the second half, but City were going closer, Pybus shooting over with his left-foot from 16 yards and Kouhyar curling wide of the far post from left-hand side.
Dipo Akinyemi, an isolated figure at times, hit the side-netting as he released an attempt from a tight angle just inside the box with around a quarter of an hour to go.
The game looked to be heading towards a goalless draw, but the visitors managed to find a crucial breakthrough in the 83rd minute.
Joe Leesley’s corner wasn’t dealt with as an attempted clearance flew towards Morgan-Smith who squeezed his header just past Stockdale and just over the line despite Olly Dyson’s best efforts.
York City: Stockdale (GK), Crookes, Cordner, McLaughlin (C), Akinyemi, Castro (Dyson, 68’), Kouhyar, Pybus, Andoh, Siziba (Harriott, 73’), Woodyard (Hurst, 84’)
Unused Subs: Campbell, Latty-Fairweather
Kidderminster Harriers: Dibble (GK), Richards, Knight-Percival, Pearce (C), Leesley, Morgan-Smith, Hemmings (McNally, 73’), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Brown (Phillips, 59’), Preston (Penny, 90+2’), Lissimore
Unused Subs: Lambert, McDonagh
Goals: Morgan-Smith (83’)
Referee: Farai Hallam
Attendance: 4,371 (181 away supporters)