Kidderminster Harriers
Aggborough




Ground No. 32
Visited - Saturday 3rd January 2004
Result - Kidderminster Harriers 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - The FA Cup 3rd Round
Attendance - 6005

When the draw for the FA Cup was made I'd been hoping we'd get a lower league team so I could notch up another ground towards the 92. My prayers were answered when Kidderminster came out of the bag, not only was it a new ground, but after a heavy (and expensive) travelling schedule in December, a local team as well. If I could have picked a team, chances were that Kiddie would be near the top of the list! As an aside, it also seemed like a golden opportunity to break our winless run away from home.

So with expectation it was off we set for the short journey. I'd considered catching the Severn Valley Railway down to Kidderminster, just for a unique experience (I bet there aren't many fans who go to games by steam train anymore!) but in the end we opted for the more conventional and modern trains via Birmingham. That didn't take long, and we arrived into the town just after 1pm, walking around for a bit before we made our way up to the ground, which was a relatively short walk from the town centre. Once there, we had a quick walk around the ground and then went in early. 

From the outside, the ground is quite small with not a lot to see, so it was good to go in and see what the inside was like. The two ends are both covered terraces, which offer good views of the game, and to the right is the new all-seated East Stand, whilst the slightly older Reynolds Stand sits to the left, which is similar to the East Stand, although a bit smaller. Kidderminster are probably most famous for the food they serve, and it’s a reputation well deserved with them offering a superb variety of food at reasonable prices, its something that just about every other club could learn from, I had a burger which was excellent value.

The game got started, and Kidderminster were obviously up for it, doing most of the early running. We were looking awful, but they couldn't take advantage and the first half finished 0-0, with neither team looking like they would seriously threaten the goal on what was a bitterly cold winters day. The second half started, and it continued in much the same way as the first with Kidderminster being dominant, and us limited to breakaways. After 70 minutes both sides made significant substitutions, Wolves bringing on Vio Ganea for his debut, and Harriers bringing on John Williams. Within a minute of him coming on he had rounded Michael Oakes on the edge of the area, only to see his tame shot cleared off the line by Lee Naylor who put it out for a corner. Nothing came of that, but a few minutes later another corner was turned in from close range by the substitute, which sent the home fans, who had been keeping up a good atmosphere, into a frenzy. With the time ticking down the thoughts on every Wolves' fans mind was Chorley all over again, a real low point of not only the season, but for a generation of Wolves followers, but as with many times this year though, Alex Rae was the saviour and in the 89th minute he drove home a shot from the edge of the area which saw Wolves fans identify themselves on all sides of the ground, jumping up with relief at not having to witness an embarrassing cup exit to lower league opposition. We could even have won it in injury time with two shots from close range being blocked by last ditch defending, but that would have been too harsh on the hosts, who deserved their chance at a replay.

After leaving the ground, we walked back to the station, and despite fans mixing and it being a local derby there wasn't a hint of trouble. Overall it was a rather miserable day on the football front, and to make things worse I ended up getting a cold from the weather! Although we got a result we never deserved, so that was good, and it was nice to get another ground on the list.








Ground No. 32 (return visit)
Visited - Thursday 4th September 2008
Result - Kidderminster Harriers 1-0 Torquay United
Competition - Blue Square Premier
Attendance - 1345

Aggborough. It sounds like one of those great, traditional English ground names, a byword that oozes memories of legendary games from years gone by, of occasions that have gone down in the folklore of football. In reality it’s none of that, although it does have its claims to fame. In 1955 it became the first ground in the country to host a competitive floodlit match when Harriers were at home to Brierley Hill Alliance in the FA Cup. That was followed up some 44 years later when the Hoo Road venue was the site of the first match to be entirely officiated by women. For all of that though, it’s also known as a good quality ground that really ought to be hosting fixtures above the current level that Kidderminster are playing at.

I’d visited the ground twice before, first for the FA Cup tie above, in which Wolves escaped embarrassment thanks to a last minute goal from Alex Rae, and then once more in July 2007, again with Wolves as the visitors, although this time with Cheltenham as the hosts, having been forced to temporarily relocate after flooding to their own Whaddon Road stadium. I’d wanted to get back for a while though to take pictures (having lost the set from the Cheltenham match), and the Thursday night Setanta fixture against Torquay seemed perfect.

The journey to Kidderminster had gone well enough, catching a bus to Stourbridge and the train from there into Worcestershire, arriving at 6:40pm, making the short (but steep!) walk up to the ground. From the outside, nothing had changed from my previous visits. The stands are all modern and look smart although they are painted in a strange red/brown colour which looks a little odd, if unique. After going in the club shop, I made my way in, choosing to stand where I had before, in the away end with the Torquay fans. Like outside, nothing had changed here. The away terrace was a fair sized covered end which was mirrored opposite, whilst to either side were single tier, all-seater stands, the East stand to our right being the bigger (and newer) of the two, running the full length of the pitch whilst the Reynolds Stand to our left was smaller, stopping in line with each 6 yard box and being notable for having a number of executive boxes to the rear.

After taking some pictures, it was soon time for the game to get underway. Both sides were sitting in the lower half of the table, having had mixed starts to the season, but it was the visitors, backed by a good following considering the distance, who started better. Wayne Carlisle was looking impressive, going close on a number of occasions, and being a continuous nuisance down the right hand side. Halfway through the first half the heavens opened, and an already soggy pitch was made even worse, turning the game into a bit of a spectacle. There were some concerns as to whether it might end up being abandoned, with water splashing up all over, unfortunately though for the Gulls that wasn’t to be, and despite having had the better of the first 45 minutes, they conceded right on half time when Martin Brittain made a break down the left, crossing it in for Matthew Barnes-Homer who hit it home first time with no mistake to make it 1-0.

The second half was a bit of a non-event, Torquay pressured the hosts late on, but without ever really threatening their goal, and if anything it looked like Kidderminster who were the more likely of the two to score, but neither side breached the net, so when the referee blew his final whistle, the home fans left the happiest having taken all three points.

After leaving, I made my way back to the station, grabbing a drink in the Railway Bell opposite (nice little pub), before the train eventually came, with a short journey back to Stourbridge and home from there.

Overall, it had been a good night out. The ground was much as I remembered it, and really is worthy of still being a Football League venue, having been developed to a high standard on all four sides. If ‘Kiddie’ can grind out more results like this one, then it looks like come the end of the season they may end up being in the mix for a return back, but until then, it’s a great ground to go to for a diversion from doing the 92.






Welcome to Aggborough


Rear of the Reynolds Stand


Rear of the North Stand


Rear of the East Stand


The Social Club


The South Stand


The Reynolds Stand


The North Stand


The East Stand


The South Stand


The East Stand


The North Stand


The Reynolds Stand



Aggborough Panoramic 1


Aggborough Panoramic 2






 

2 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    I'm interested in using a couple of these images on the new KHFC Store that I'm currently building - please can you contact me on hello@auburnsocialmedia.co.uk to discuss further. Thanks, Matt

    ReplyDelete