FOOTBALL: Late Shilton strike keeps Harriers hopes alive; Rochdale 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1.
Sam Shilton snapped home an 83rd-minute winner to keep Harriers' play-off prospects alive in front of a sparse crowd.
Ian Britton's boys were good value for this victory after surviving a shaky first half by going on to dictate matters after the interval.
Rochdale were pegged back inside their own territory for large periods of the second segment and Harriers finally made the pressure tell when Shilton latched on to a throw-in from substitute Scott Stamps before hitting a half volley through a crowded goalmouth into the corner of the net.
Harriers had opened at a cracking pace with Shilton, Sean Flynn and Adie Smith all going close as Rochdale struggled to get going. But as the half progressed Harriers were pushed back and survived some anxious moments. Skilful Northern Ireland youngster Patrick McCourt rode a succession of tackles to fire just wide in the 16th minute and then player-manager Paul Simpson put a half volley wide two minutes later with Harriers defence prised wide open.
Rochdale were rampant during this phase and Simpson saw a goalbound volley superbly tipped over by Stuart Brock after 22 minutes and then Rochdale missed the chance of the match on 34 minutes when the Harriers defence was pulled clean apart.
Former Wolves player Simpson got clear down the left and drew the defence before crossing to the completely unmarked Darren Hockenhull, who with an open goal at his mercy promptly fired wide.
The second half was a different story with Harriers pushing forward at every opportunity.
Danish striker Bo Henriksen, anxious to add to his 20 goal league tally produced a moment of magic to turn inside a crowded penalty box and fire a fabulous shot just wide of the mark.
Rochdale's defence was working overtime at this stage and it took a last-ditch tackle from former Walsall defender Wayne Evans to keep out J J Melligan when the Wolves loan player threatened to score.
Just when it looked as though both sides would have to settle for a stalemate, Shilton popped up to fire in a likely winner and keep Harriers' promotion prospects within sight.
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Apr 16, 2003|
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