2007 FA Trophy Final

 Saturday 12th May, 2007. Wembley Stadium

In the first competitive match to take place in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, a record  53,262 fans turned out to see Kidderminster Harriers face off against Stevenage Borough, for the 2007 FA Trophy final.

It was also an opportunity for Boro boss Mark Stimson to make history, having won the same cup for the previous two seasons with former club Grays Athletic.

Both sides fielded a full strength side, and for many it looked like being a battle of the strikers, with Stevenage striker Steve Morison having netted 7 goals in 7 cup games leading upto the final sharing the joint top scorer spot with Kidderminster forward James Constable, who also netted 7 times in the 8 cup games going into the final.

A record crowd for the competition, a newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium, two full strength sides each with an on-form striker…the stage was set.

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

 

Kidderminster Harriers 2 - 3 Stevenage Borough

Constable (31, 37) Cole (51)
  Dobson (74)
  Morison (88)
Attendance: 53,262  
 Kidderminster  Boro
Manager: Mark Yates Manager: Mark Stimson
Team Sheet Team Sheet
01 Bevan 01 Julian
02 Kenna 02 Fuller YellowCard
04 Hurren YellowCard 03 Nutter
05 Creighton 25 Henry
06 Whitehead 06 Gaia
12 Russell 21 Cole
14 Blackwood 26 Beard
11 Penn YellowCard 10 Miller
18 Smikle (Reynolds – 90′) 21 Guppy (Dobson – 63′)
22 Christie (White – 76′) 04 Oliver YellowCard
26 Constable 20 Morison
   
Substitutes Substitutes
09 White 22 Dobson
14 Reynolds 07 Slabber
13 Taylor 16 Potter
17 McGrath 09 Nurse
07 Sedgemore 24 McMahon

Match Summary

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

Understandably, the match started off tentatively, with neither side really able to assert themselves in the early stages, although as the half went on, Kidderminster started to pick up greater control of the midfield.  As the Boro side sat deeper and deeper in defence, they were punished on the half hour mark.  Iyseden Christie’s shot was blocked in the box  and Harriers striker Constable was quickest to react, stabbing the ball home from close range.

Things got worse just 5 minutes later as Kidderminster doubled their lead, Constable again the scorer – a surging run and low drive beating Stevenage keeper Alan Julian.

Half time came shortly after – and for the travelling Boro faithful – reversing a 2 goal lead was perhaps a tall order – wasn’t it?

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

Mark Stimson certainly played his part at half-time, re-galvanising his team and telling his team to “believe in themselves and that they are good players”.  Mark said in a post-match interview that he “thought we would go on to win it if we got one goal back”.

The game restarted, with both teams opting to make no changes at the break.  The transformation of the Boro team was immediately obvious, with the Stevenage players showing much more purpose and thrust – and actively looking to attack at every opportunity.  Mitchell Cole sparked an early Boro attack, shooting wide after a skilful run through the Kidderminster defence.  He was not to be denied as just a few minutes later, Stevenage striker Steve Morison cleverly headed the ball down into his path and calmly finished with his right foot to beat their keeper Scott Bevan.

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

The goal sparked hope in the Boro team, who continued to attack, and narrowly missed the chance to level the score on the hour mark – a well won header from defender Santos Gaia narrowly missing the target.

Boro boss Mark Stimson was the first to make a change, bringing on winger Craig Dobson for Steve Guppy just after the hour mark.

The change had a quick effect, with Dobson using his pace to latch onto a long ball from John Nutter, before poking the ball past the onrushing Scott Bevan to level the tie at 2-2.

Kidderminster immediately rang the changes, bringing on forward Andrew White for Iyseden Christie – and the game then settled.  It looked like 30 minutes of extra time would be needed to separate the two sides.

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

However, that extra time was not needed!  Stevenage scoring a dramatic late winner 2 minutes before full time – Barry Fuller swinging a cross over for a Steve Morison volley, a reaction save from Steve Bevan, only for Morison to react quickest and smash in the rebound for the victory.

Boro collected the trophy after climbing the Wembley steps, led by skipper Ronnie Henry.

Despite only joining the game in the 63rd minute, Craig Dobson was awarded the man of the match – a testimony to the attacking play and problems he caused the Harriers defence that afternoon.

image001