Football / FA Cup: Blues bitten by former disciple

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Birmingham City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Kidderminster Harriers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

TWENTY years ago, Graham Allner would have been weeping on the terraces with the majority of the 20,000 St Andrews crowd. The Kidderminster manager, a lifelong Blues supporter, lived a keeper's punt from the ground and was reared on the dashed hopes of the second city's perennially second club.

This time, though, it was the 44-year-old Brummie who was doing the dashing, his accomplished, counter-attacking Kidderminster harrying Birmingham to the Cup upset of the day.

It wasn't much of a shock really, though three divisions separate the sides. Nine of Kidderminster's Conference-topping 11 have had contracts with League clubs - eight of them picked up for free - and if they rode their luck at times, they also defended mightily and clearly knew the route to goal. 'Most of us have been rejected by other clubs and it's nice to be able to show that you can play a bit,' Chris Brindley, the Wolves reserve turned hod- carrier, said.

Brindley was outstanding at centre-half, but it was Jon Purdie, his former Molineux colleague, who ensured that Kidderminster's debut in the third round would be followed by entry to the fourth. He gave Scott Hiley, Birmingham's right-back, a torrid afternoon, twice producing stinging long- range shots with a sweet left foot that took him to Arsenal as a junior in the same year as Adams and Merson.

However, it was a thundering right-footer, flying into the roof of the net off the keeper's fingertips, that put Harriers ahead in the 64th minute.

Paul Harding had already given Birmingham a ninth- minute lead and, despite an equaliser from Neil Cartwright, picked up after being rejected by West Bromwich Albion, the home side should have sent their opponents back to Worcestershire empty- handed. Andy Saville, who a year ago put Crystal Palace out of the cup with a penalty for Hartlepool, this time hit the post from the spot, and he also had two headers brilliantly saved by Kevin Rose.

Goals: Harding (9) 1-0, Cartwright (28) 1-1, Purdie (64) 1-2.

Birmingham City (4-3-3): Bennett; Hiley, Whyte, Dryden, Cooper; Parris, Lowe, Harding (Smith, 67); Donowa (Willis, 61), Saville, McMinn. Substitute not used: Miller (gk).

Kidderminster Harriers (4-3-3): Rose; Hodson, Brindley, Weir, Bancroft; Deakin, Grainger, Forsyth; Cartwright, Humphries, Purdie. Substitutes not used: Woodall, Palmer, Steadman (gk).

Referee: T West (North Humberside).