U's leave Aggborough empty handedA depleted Cambridge United side stumbled to defeat against fellow play-off chasers Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.
The U's fell 2-0 behind in the first half, with goals from Chey Dunkley and Marvin Johnson putting the home side in command. But Richard Money's men were handed a life-line when Josh Gowling headed into his own net after good work from Luke Berry. Anthony Malbon's confident finish five minutes after half-time made it 3-1, meaning a late header from Michael Gash was mere consolation for United.
Head coach Money made three changes to the side that beat AFC Telford, drafting in Kevin Roberts and Luke Berry, both of whom had been sidelined through injury, at the expense of Andy Pugh and Curtis Haynes-Brown. Haynes-Brown had been due to start, but felt a tight hamstring in the warm-up, meaning Harrison Dunk, who had been named as a substitute on the team-sheet, filled in at left-back, a position he hasn't occupied since his days at former club Bromley.
Berry took up a position on the left flank, with Jarvis on the right and Charlie Wassmer moving from right-back into the centre of midfield alongside Tom Shaw. Liam Hughes, meanwhile, had the task of supporting Gash. And it was United's reshuffled team that threatened early on, Rossi Jarvis forcing a good save from home keeper Danny Lewis with barely 30 seconds on the clock.
However it was Kidderminster who opened the scoring midway through the half when United failed to adequately clear a corner, and Malbon found space to deliver a low cross which was tucked away by Dunkley.
Just before the break Robinson's low shot from 15 yards made it 2-0, but the U's were given renewed hope when Berry's header back into the six-yard box was nudged past his own keeper by Gowling.
Five minutes after the restart Harriers restored their two-goal advantage, as Micky Demetriou's header over the defence found Malbon streaking clear, and he calmly placed the ball past the exposed Craig Ross.
United were unable to muster much of a threat on the home goal, even after the introductions of substitutes Andy Pugh and James Brighton, but grabbed a goal back at the death when Gash converted Dunk's cross. The U's will be looking to get back to winning ways on Tuesday when Alfreton visit the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
Kidderminster Harriers: Lewis, Vaughan, Dunkley, Gowling, Demetriou, Vincent, Storer, Jackman (Pilkington 52), Johnson (Rowe 86), Morgan-Smith (Jarvis 75), Malbon. Subs not used: Vaughan, Williams.
Cambridge United: Ross, Roberts, Coulson, McAuley, Dunk, Jarvis (Brighton 63), Shaw (Pugh 60), Wassmer, Berry, Gash, Hughes. Subs not used: Hedge, Hudson, Taylor.
Referee: Mr G.Horwood