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Kidderminster Harriers: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Sun 7 Apr 2024
Posted in News

It was like a magical mystery tour. The usual suspects had no idea where we were going, or really any understanding of why we had to set off so early. Kidderminster is only 148 miles away, but to their credit, nobody complained as we left Halifax before noon, more than six hours before kick-off. Goodness knows what they really said amongst themselves as I left the car briefly to put fuel in, the conversation dried up instantly as I got back in, a sure sign of discontentment.

It’s not often we find somewhere that’s too posh for us, but in Bridgnorth half the town were gathered around a rugby union game, cheering on their team alongside the banks of the River Severn. A church on the hillside kept watch over the town, and the narrow shopping streets were packed with tourists in the spring sunshine. Goodness knows how much they’d charge for a pint of beer in the traditional pubs. We headed up the hill and found the very pleasant and welcoming AFC Bridgnorth Town, step six in the non-league pyramid.

With refreshments available in the car park outside the turnstiles, we were quick to order chips, loaded chips, and nuggets, pretty much everything on offer. Admission was just £7 for adults and £4 for concessions. The chips were terrible, worse than Hartlepool (and that’s saying something), but luckily the club had its own magnificent tea hut, if only we’d known earlier. Everything we had went straight in the bin, and we started again. You could have fish finger sandwiches, burgers, and proper decent chips, even ice creams. The football itself was dodgy, played on a pitch akin to Southowram Bank, with one team playing uphill. We didn’t mind though, the plan was to support a football club that would appreciate our visit then leg it at half-time.

“You can’t park here, mate, you’ll have to park at the railway station back in town.”  It’s fair to say there was terror on the back seat as a steward directed us to park a couple of miles away from the ground. The car park he was guarding was half empty, it was our usual spot too.  A wonderful Kidderminster fan walking past heard our conversation, she intervened, and told us about a space nearby, directing us to squeeze the car in and block her in, if necessary.  We’re all going to the same place and we’re all football fans, she said. Thank you!

Kidderminster’s Aggborough ground hasn’t changed in decades. Sitting in the stand with Shayman Matt, he recounted the day the Shaymen took over the town and won the league back in 1998.  The part empty terrace behind the goal was packed full of Shaymen he said, we ran on the pitch at the end celebrating and eventually left via the terrace at the other end. It was a terrific day and he met some of the players back in the Main Street nightclub as they arrived home. We’ve not had great form at the ground since that day so today’s game could go either way he said.

The first half wasn’t great, the home side created a few opportunities with long throws into our box. Each time every man and his dog waited within the eighteen-yard area for a flick on or a dodgy clearance.  The wind was strong too, anything played above the height of the stand was blown off course.  The Shaymen created a few opportunities but troubled the guy in the car park more than the goalkeeper.

The home fans made plenty of noise at the start of the second half, their survival hopes in the league would be boosted by a good result. Kidderminster continued with the physical ‘get it forward’ approach, but it was the Shaymen who took the lead midway through the second half with a ball forward beyond their back line, Wright was on it quickly and beat the keeper storming out to close him down. From that point on, the Shaymen looked in complete control.  A second goal scored late on was celebrated with a good travelling support of 159 fans. It capped off a tricky game with an important win.

Driving back and the Clayton Shayman added yet another game to his run of never seeing the Shaymen lose on the road with us. Tesco Pete confirmed the league positions. It was the result we hoped for at the start of the day.  No complaints, a decent job done.

Next up we’re up at silly o’clock as with the last league game of the season, Eastleigh away.

Miles on the road 6848, goals on the road 25

Read more posts by Rob Brown