Kidderminster 2 Swans 2

Saturday, 22 March 2003, 0:00
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Swansea gained a valuable point in their efforts to fight off relegation at the expense of play-off hopefuls Kidderminster in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Harriers took an eighth-minute lead when a left-wing cross by Sam Shilton deceived keeper Neil Cutler and went in off the inside of the far post.

But Swansea hit back after 22 minutes when a long-range shot by midfielder Roberto Martinez was only half stopped by keeper Fraser Digby and Lenny Johnrose blasted home the rebound.

The home side regained the lead, though, as Adie Smith’s 32nd minute header was only partly saved by Cutler and the midfielder followed up to score.

But Martinez earned the visitors a point with a curling free-kick from 22 yards, which went in off the post after 35 minutes.

Clive, Gareth and David Hughes
For a change it was a leisurely drive to one of the closest games. Another warm spring day as over 600 fans made the journey to Kidderminster. With only three sides of the ground open, one side demolished ready for a new stand, it seemed as the Swans would have about a third of the gate.

The players seemed relaxed as they warmed up, laughing and joking with the fans as well as Cyril the Swan who made one of his few appearances at an away ground.

The team lined up with


Jenkins, Tate, O’Leary, Hylton


Maylett, Nugent and Thomas

The Swans started brightly, but were giving Kidderminster too much time on the ball, allowing crosses into our area, which were dealt with easily by the defence, or Cutler with no real threat on goal.

Most off the game was being played in midfield, but with the defenders dealing with most things, Kidderminster took the lead on 8 mins. A deep cross from the Kidderminster right seemed to be going past the goal and to safety, when it dipped, ending in the far top corner of the net. A sickening blow, as there had been no threat. The Swans to the credit fought back and were matching the higher position team. Success came when a strong shot by Martinez from outside the area, was parried by Digby, Nugent & Johnrose followed in, Johnrose got there first, and the Swans were back on level terms. The away end erupted with joy. With Kidderminster threatening to deceive, the Swans were giving as good as they got, but yet again we were caught cold. A shot in a crowded area was blocked by Cutler only for Smith to react quickest sending the return into an unguarded net. Two cruel goals against a team at home going for a play-off position. How would the team react?. We did not have long to wait for the answer. With only a further 3mins gone, the Swans were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Martinez weighed his options before sending a glorious shot over the wall bending into the top corner. Once again the away fans celebrated as we were back on level terms. Much of the remaining 10mins were played out with Kidderminster edging the procession without causing Cutler too many problems. WE did nearly make it three when a shot from Nugent was saved by Digby the ball hitting the side netting for a corner.

Half time came with the team warmly applauded off the pitch. The half-time entertainment was 2 games played by youngsters, and both the Kiddie mascot as well as Cyril having shots at the goal in front of the away fans. Things did get a bit boisterous with a few rugby tackles and their mascot losing his head, until advised to retreat by a steward.

The first half had flown, with the game being ‘nip and tuck’, OK Huw it was a roller coaster half. (private joke).

The second half was a much duller affair, but the pattern was much the same as the first. Both teams tried, Kidderminster with long range shots, which never troubled the goal apart from one heart stopping moment, when with Cutler on the floor, a shot was aimed at goal only to see two desperate arms shoot up to save the day. The tension mounted as the minutes ticked away. The fans had been in full voice in the first, but it was not until the final 15mins that it picked up again. Hylton went down under a late tackle and things looked bad as a stretcher was called for. When off the field he did try to walk, but with no chance of resuming he was replaced by Howard. Hylton received warm applause as he hobbled past the away fans. Cutler had been taking full advantage of time wasting with every goal kick and was finally spoken to by referee Rennie. With the heart rate increasing the game headed for a draw. The board showed 3 mins added play, strange as it had looked as if the Hylton injury had taken longer than that. For those minutes the Swans held the ball apart from a slip in defence when trying to keep possession nearly let Kiddie in. On my watch I think we only played 2 ½ of those 3 mins.

Another good away result, with a battling performance in the run in. 7 more games to go until our fate is decided, with a mixture of other results today.

The team performed well against a team that on paper should have taken all 3 points. We didn’t see the home game, with reports of Kiddie being one of the better teams in the division. On today’s viewing, they are a hard working team, without an abundance of skill. The main tactic was a long ball forward, with 4 or 5 players eager to get on the receiving end. Whilst saying ours was a good team performance, there were some heart stopping moments as we wanted that extra second to clear the ball. Luck was with us on some occasions, but after the season we have had, surely it was long overdue. It was a second half of many nearlies. The ball could have bounced Kiddies way as they attacked but likewise a split second or half a yard could have seen the Swans in on goal.

Let’s hope the team does not freeze for the remaining 4 home games, as we are capable of staying unbeaten for the remaining 3 away games.

Player Ratings By Jonathan Russ
Cutler-8-Overall steady game, inlucky with second goal after he made a great save. Hylton-8-Best game for us-safe and sound Jenkins-7-Solid in defence not much going forward but a decent showing. Tate-8-Solid and sure game. O’Leary-8-Defintly one of his best performances has improved his headed clearences! Martinz-9-Outstanding not one bad pass, superb control, good in the tackle-he controled the midfield. Great goal! Lenny-7-Worked hard. Britton-8-Caused them problems not involed in the second half as much as we would like but always a danger. Thomas-6-Still struggling for me wasting a great chance. Nugent-6-Does’nt impress me much works had but does’nt win enough in the air. Maylett-7-Improved, some good moments. A good TEAM showing with superb support from the jacks who just kept singing. Kiddie’s support is pee poor in numbers and in noise!

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