Kidderminster Harriers 3-2 Gateshead

GATESHEAD again paid the price for woeful defending as they crashed to their seventh defeat from the opening 10 games in the Blue Square Premier.

Just as in the narrow midweek defeat at Chester, Gateshead did enough offensively to have taken something from the game at Aggborough.

However, at the back errors have invariably been punished and 12 goals conceded from the last four away trips, all defeats, tell their own story.

Assistant manager Jeff Wrightson said: "The workrate and effort cannot be faulted, but individual mistakes are killing us and have probably cost us another seven points this season.

"It has been a catalogue of errors, and for Kidderminster's winning goal 10 minutes from time there were four or five mistakes in the build-up.

"It was another decent performance where we have come away with nothing. There is a communication problem and having to chop and change at the back has not helped.

"We took the lead but then expected Kidderrminster to come back in to the game.

"We then scored a great goal to level only to throw the game away, which is so frustrating."

There will be no respite for Gateshead this week with home games against fifth-top Rushden and Diamonds tomorrow and runaway leaders Oxford United on Saturday.

The Tynesiders have yet to record a clean sheet and injury, illness and suspension all wreaked havoc at Kidderminster.

The afternoon, however, began on a positive note when an Alex Francis free-kick from out wide on the left drifted into the corner untouched.

The Harriers, though, were ahead by half-time as the curse of the central defenders shirt saw Chris Swailes head a Mattie Barnes cross into his own goal for the equaliser.

Brian Smikle then lifted the ball over Jim Provett after more defensive frailties and Chris McPhee hit the post in first-half stoppage time.

Gateshead stormed back to level through Kris Gate's stunning 22-yard volley from a half-cleared Wayne Phillips cross on the hour, but were unable to kick on.

A long clearance from home keeper initiated the errors which led to Barnes' 80th-minute clincher with Neale McDermott, Swailes and Mark Robinson all culpable.

KIDDERMINSTER: Coleman, Courtney, Caines, Riley, Baker, McDermott (Hadley 75), Bennett (Hayward 20), Smikle, Knights (Farrell 90), Barnes-Homer, McPhee. Subs (not used): Dolman, Sharpe. Booked: Baker.
Goals: Swailes 25 og, Smikle 40, Barnes-Homer 80.

GATESHEAD: Provett, Baxter (McDermott 46), Swailes, Robinson, Cave, Francis (Harwood 67), Gate, Turnbull, Mackay, One (Phillips 46), Armstrong. Subs (not used): Farman, Forsyth.
Booked: Swailes, Harwood.

Goals: Francis 12, Gate 62.

Attendance: 1,286

Referee: D Bond (England).

Sep 21 2009 The Journal, by Jeff Bowron