Kidderminster targeting the big guns after shock FA Cup victory over Reading

Harriers are the lowest ranked team left in the FA Cup

Nick Mashiter
Saturday 08 January 2022 18:16
Kidderminster beat Reading in the FA Cup (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Kidderminster beat Reading in the FA Cup (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Triumphant Kidderminster boss Russ Penn targeted the big guns after his side stunned Reading in the third round of the FA Cup.

Amari Morgan-Smith’s late winner earned a deserved 2-1 win for the National League North outfit – the lowest ranked side left in the competition.

They made a mockery of the 79 place gap between them and the Championship Royals after George Puscas’ first-half opener put the visitors ahead.

Sam Austin levelled and victory sparked a pitch invasion with Reading boss Veljko Paunovic claiming his players’ safety was put at risk.

But Harriers celebrated reaching the fourth round and Penn wants the chance of an even bigger giantkilling.

He said: “I’m a Wolves fan but never played there. So selfishly I’d love to play there but they’ve got a tough game tomorrow. Wolves, Manchester United Arsenal Chelsea – it’s mad to even be talking about these clubs.

“We want to be a league club and that’s our overall objective but these are the days that will never leave the memories of these players.

“I’m stuck for words. I’m so proud of the players and the football club. We know it’s a one-off, up against a Championship side and we’ve exceeded expectations.

“At half-time we said it’s about staying in the game and when we got the equaliser it felt like there was only going to be one winner.

“We’ve got plenty of heart. We had our objectives for this season and this was one of them.”

Kidderminster matched their Championship visitors and, after Luke Simpson denied Mamadi Camara, Omari Sterling’s brilliant 30-yard effort was turned onto the crossbar by Rafael Cabral.

But Reading grabbed the lead just before half-time when Puscas scored his first goal for nine months, slamming in from Tom Dele-Bashiru’s knockdown.

That was as good as it got for the visitors. They lost Felipe Araruna to a dislocated knee and were pegged back when Austin’s low strike found its way under Cabral after 69 minutes.

The Royals failed to muster a serious attack in the second half and paid the price when Morgan-Smith forced the ball in following a scramble after 82 minutes.

Harriers easily held on through 14 minutes of added time – due to Arauna’s injury and flares being thrown – and the final whistle sparked a pitch invasion.

Home fans taunted the away supporters with police eventually clearing the pitch but Paunovic felt it was dangerous.

He said: “I was very worried for their safety because it was too close and aggressive. The safety of all of us was put in jeopardy and even worse things could have happened.

“It was challenging, it wasn’t safe and it wasn’t very nice to hear what people were saying to our players and the rest of our staff.

“We understand the world we are living in, it happens. It’s just insults but it’s not nice because you don’t know when someone will overstep the boundaries and do something else. It was bad.

“I thought the best thing was to run inside but I thought I couldn’t leave my team out there so I went to bring the players inside quickly and tell them not to respond.

“Tom Dele-Bashiru was insulted so I tried to say ‘don’t do anything’. I don’t want to make a case of it but I don’t think this is how it should be.”

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