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Posted Sat 05 Jul 14 at 05:25 AM

United 2
Bowman 23, 65


Kidderminster 1
Hughes 61


RYAN Bowman came off the bench as an early replacement to score both goals in a massive win for the confidence of a Torquay United side desperately struggling for form.


A gloomy string of recent results had placed the pressure on for a big performance and the players responded with an excellent display, full of desire and determination.


Bowman notched his first on 23 minutes with a sweet strike and United were cruising until Lee Hughes pounced for an unwarranted leveller just past the hour, but the Yellow number nine swiftly restored the lead after a flowing move, and a thoroughly deserved victory.  


United boss Chris Hargreaves brought in three fresh faces and changed his formation after the painful 5-1 defeat to Braintree on Tuesday night. Krystian Pearce was omitted from a defence that went back to the conventional four-man rearguard.


Courtney Cameron was recalled to the left wing and James McQuilkin replaced Courtney Richards in the centre of midfield. The final change saw Louis Briscoe preferred to Bowman in attack.


Kidderminster manager Gary Whild was another man desperately trying to find his form and arrest a slide that has seen his team go two months without a win. The familiar face in the visiting line-up was Yellow legend Kevin Nicholson, who signed for the Harriers last summer after seven years as a Gull.


Nicholson took just two minutes to burst down the left flank and whip over a delicious cross that Aaron Downes did well to glance clear. The Gulls countered quickly with a run into the channel by John Campbell and when he was chopped down by Josh Gowling, the Kidderminster captain found himself booked very early in the game.


United went on to look the brighter side in the opening ten minutes and Toby Ajala managed to get a run on goal after a looped pass from Campbell. Kiddy goalkeeper Danny Lewis hesitated before eventually clattering into Ajala as the Yellow winger lobbed a bouncing ball narrowly over the bar.



Hargreaves and his assistant Lee Hodges were immediately up from their dug-out position to question whether there was any chance of a penalty, but referee Brett Huxtable waved away the claim.


The bigger problem for the Gulls was a clear hamstring concern for Campbell and Bowman was quickly dusting off his boots for a swifter return to the side than he probably expected, but a determined opening surge in closing down the centre-half showed his appetite to make a real impact.


United were the side looking hungry and an excellent spell of sustained pressure had Kidderminster rocking in defence, with Gowling scrambling the ball clear after a super move created room for Levi Ives to whip over a low cross.


Moments later, the Gulls were in front and it was a fabulous goal. Cameron started the move with a sharp pass into the feet of Briscoe on the left edge of the penalty area and his delightful flick created room for Bowman to shoot.


There was still plenty of work to be done from 18 yards but the low shot was crisp, and carried enough pace to beat Lewis, who was diving in forlorn hope to stop the ball flashing inside his near post.


Harriers had to respond but when they threw men forward for one attack, United cleared through Downes and Ajala suddenly had a run on the defence but a heavy pass to Briscoe saw a decent situation slip away.



United’s next attempt in a dominant first-half hour came from a Luke Young free-kick after Briscoe had been bundled to the floor, but the skipper’s curling effort floated past the top corner.


A flashpoint arrived a few minutes before the interval, as Bowman exchanged handbags with Jamie Grimes. The incident earned both men a caution but also another sign that Bowman was right up for the battle.


The only regret as the half-time whistle sounded across a sunny Launa Windows Stadium was the fact United’s advantage was just the one goal, but a much better performance from those in Yellow.


The early minutes of the second period saw more controlled aggression from United but Kidderminster were still very much in the game, and the tension on the terraces was very evident.


Harriers sought to change the pattern with a change on 56 minutes, removing the quiet Danny Wright for the fresh legs of Jamie Spencer in attack, but the action was soon back up the other end.


McQuilkin won the ball in midfield and scooped a pass wide for Ajala to attack the space. His pass inside the box found Bowman, who swivelled for a shot off his left side but Grimes was well positioned to make a block.


The next effort from Briscoe was truly sublime, latching onto a flick from Bowman to twice the lob the ball over a bewildered Gowling before rifling a volley inches past the post.


The second Kiddy change arrived on the hour, as Ahmed Obeng came off for Akwasi Asante and he was soon celebrating with his team-mates following a soft equaliser for United to concede.


Nicholson took the free-kick from the right flank in front of the Popside and the delivery took a flick off the head Grimes for Hughes, who had acres of room to stab past an exposed Martin Rice from close range.


Kidderminster were level for just four minutes and the next Yellow goal was a peach, started by Young spreading a wonderful 40-yard pass wide to Ajala on the right wing, and he instantly cut inside a retreating defence.


Ajala then spotted the perfectly-timed run from Bowman and laid a delightful pass inside the right channel for United’s leading scorer to double his tally with a composed finish past the advancing Lewis.



The plaudits of TQ1 soon switched to the other end and a proper challenge from Aaron Dawson rescuing a desperate situation with Spencer just about to pull the trigger from 15 yards out.


United were grateful to Young for thwarting the next attack, as a Callum Gittings corner threatened to drop under the bar. Rice completed the clearance with a punch and the Gulls had escaped.


Kiddy continued to pepper the Yellow box with set-pieces but one big hoof forward found Young in space to feed the ball wide to Bowman, who whipped over a cross to Brisce at the far post but he was unable to steer his effort on target.


It was a final contribution for Briscoe, withdrawn for the fresh legs of Ashley Yeoman but the concern for United was the Kidderminster threat from corners, as Gowling nodded a whisker over the bar after yet another delivery from the right.



Luke Maxwell for Nicholson was the final Kiddy change and the former Gull was given a rousing applause for an appreciate TQ1, although his new team was now piling on the pressure against a nervy Yellow defence.


Teenager Ives emerged as the man to make a number of tremendous tackles and clearances to relieve the concern for his side. It was the sort of attitude reflected across the team and well done lads for three very welcome points.


United (4-4-2): 1 Martin Rice; 29 Aaron Dawson, 26 Ollivier Gueguen, 4 Aaron Downes, 25 Levi Ives; 10 Toby Ajala (16 Courtney Richards 90), 8 Luke Young (capt), 22 James McQuilkin, 11 Courtney Cameron; 7 Louis Briscoe (14 Ashley Yeoman 80), 32 John Campbell (9 Ryan Bowman 14). Substitutes (not used): 5 Krystian Pearce, 15 Liam Prynn.


Booked: Bowman 41, Ajala 75


Kidderminster (4-4-2): 1 Danny Lewis; 2 Jared Hodgkiss, 15 Jamie Grimes, 30 Josh Gowling (capt), 28 Kevin Nicholson (24 Luke Maxwell 85); 3 Jake Green, 17 Aman Verma, 18 Callum Gittings, 14 Ahmed Obeng (29 Akwasi Asante 60); 9 Danny Wright (21 Jamie Spencer 56), 35 Lee Hughes. Substitutes (not used): 19 Jasbir Singh (GK), 23 Keyon Reffell.


Booked: Gowling 2, Grimes 41, Gittings 48


Referee: Brett Huxtable


Attendance: 1,607 (216 away).

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