20 years ago today, the Imps put a tough start behind them with a second away win in as many matches.
Having picked up one point in the first four matches, Keith Alexander’s resurgent side made it 11 points from 15 with a fine with at Aggborough. One point and two places separated the two teams going into the game, but the Imps turned on the style to ensure the gap was seven places at four points at the final whistle.
Many supporters will not remember Kidderminster as a Football League team – they spent just five seasons in the fourth tier, never finishing above tenth in the division. Their team contained few players who fans will instantly think of as strong at this level, although Michael Antoine-Curier did come off the bench for them, which will only have significance in the next article I do on this season! Otherwise, Robert Betts started for them, a player we’d had on loan for a short period, whilst Lloyd Dyer and Andy Bishop were decent players in their day.
The Imps lined up Marriott, Morgan, Bailey, Weaver, Liburd, Mayo, Futcher, Gain, Butcher, Richardson, and Taylor-Fletcher. Francis Green, securing a permanent move after initially joining on loan, came off the bench, as did defender David Wattley for his debut. Dene Cropper also came off the bench, whilst Simon Yeo and Scott Willis were unused subs.
The game didn’t get off to a good start – Simon Weaver trapped the ball further than most can pass it, and Dyer nipped in to steal it. He still had work to do, but he powered forward to give the home side an 11th-minute lead. This came after Paul Mayo had whipped a free-kick into the box, which struck the top of the bar.
Going 1-0 down awoke the Imps from a sluggish start, and Richardson got his second goal in Imps colours. A cross from Butcher was inviting enough, but the on-loan striker performed a spectacular overhead kick to beat keeper Stuart Brock. It was a simply sensational strike, but the forward was only on a month’s loan from Hartlepool, and he was already being touted for a return up north.
The Imps kept up the pressure and, just before half time, grabbed the winning goal. It was typical City – a long throw from Mayo was flicked up in the air by Futcher, and Butcher strode in to meet it with a second header, looping over the keeper. With one goal and one assist, the talented midfielder was already underlining his worth in a season destined to end one game short of the Millennium Stadium.
It should have been 3-1 at that point. Richard Liburd missed two glorious chances to give City a more comfortable lead – he spurned a one-on-one on 30 minutes. In a second half dominated by the hosts (eight shots to our three), it was Liburd again with the best effort. Taylor-Fletcher pulled the ball across the goal, and Liburd beat Brock to it but steered it wide of the empty net.
Referee Scott Mathieson, never a favourite of mine, also waved away two good penalty shouts for City, but in the end, it mattered not – Keith’s side managed to soak up the pressure and eventually came away with the win, lifting us to 13th in the table.