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Virgina Water (H)
Fri Jul 5

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Virgina Water (H)
Fri Jul 5 19:45
The Vanarama National League South

Six goal thriller for Rebels and Harriers

Kidderminster Harriers

Kidderminster Harriers

Howell (60), Grainger (2-3, 73)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Stanley (0-1), McKinnon (0-2, 61)
League Attendance: 1541 Unknown
Alan Davies did a little jig of delight as Paul McKinnon found the net for the second time and restored Slough's two goal advantage early on in the second half at Kidderminster on Saturday.

Davies like most people in the ground felt that would be that, Slough were safe, he could at last breathe easy and look forward to a fairly relaxed summer holiday.

Not so; Kidderminster, fighting themselves for Conference survival, came back like wounded Tigers striking twice late on and leaving Slough clinging on desperately for a point.

A point however was enough to guarantee a Conference place for Davies' much maligned side next season and means that the Harriers have still much work to do on the final pressure packed Saturday of the season.

For Slough's part the only difference to recent weeks, and the desperate record of defeats which has put them in such a dangerous position, was that their form in front of goal returned — and most notably that of the top scorer Paul McKinnon.

With Neal Stanley once again giving a wonderful performance of poise, power and skill, McKinnon was given the type of help he enjoys and the pair often cut contemptuously through the home side's rearguard.

Stanley was a foot off target when put through by Fielder in the third minute but put his side in front with a goal owing much to the sort of fortune usually non-apparent in Slough games.

Collecting a crossfield pass from Whitby, Stanley headed towards the corner flag before driving the ball in low and hard, neither Whitby, rushing in, or the uncertain Kidderminster keeper could get a touch and the ball went in off a post.

Three minutes later McKinnon claimed goal number 14 of his patchy season when he bravely put himself in amid a cluster of arms and legs to thump in a header after Whitby again had helped on Fielder's cross.

At 2-0 Slough looked comfortable but as so often since the turn of the year it was a cushion they could not hold on to.

Tony Knight's mistake almost gave Kidderminster a swift reply on the half hour mark. Knight lost possession to the impressive Howell and his shot beat Watkiss but sped wide of the post.

Watkiss was in action just before the interval doing well to parry a shot from Humphrey and his defenders completed the clearance.

Slough almost increased their advantage on the hour when Steve Scott was a whisker away from finishing off a move begun by McKinnon but the home side immediately went downfield and halved the deficit.

Howell it was who broke free on the left before cutting in and driving a low shot just inside Watkiss' post.

Within a minute Slough had restored their two goal advantage. Stanley working himself space to cross for McKinnon to crash home from six yards. Time for the Davies dance of delight.

Fortunately for him and Slough it wasn't to be a dance of impending doom but it was mighty close.

McKinnon limped off the field with a leg injury and while Slough were down to ten men Kidderminster struck again.

Big Paul Grainger - formerly of Croydon —bundled home their second as Slough hesitated at the back and now they threw everything at the Rebels.

Hickey finally came on for the departed McKinnon — he will miss Saturday's game with Macclesfield — but Slough were back on their heels and in trouble.

On 73 minutes Kidderminster levelled; Grainger the scorer as Slough were once more slow to awake to danger in the 18 yard box.

Kidderminster were really the only side in it now and the last 18 minutes or so were agonising ones for Slough's large travelling support; but the point will do very nicely.

Alan Davies was breathing slightly easier on Saturday night as his relegation fears were finally cleared by the point at Kidderminster.

"It's been a bit of a struggle in recent weeks and we got dragged into the relegation issue, so I'm pleased we are safe. We've had probably the worst run of results I can remember here; we haven't been scoring the goals, we've made mistakes and been punished.

"I've always stressed that we wouldn't be safe until we had 45 points and it proved to be so."

Davies is now hoping to end the season with a home win against Macclesfield on Saturday. "We owe it to ourselves and more importantly the fans to finish well. Then we can recharge the batteries ready for next season."

Kidderminster Harriers Lineup


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