TEENAGE striker Adam Boyes delivered a man-sized performance to help maintain York City’s interest in this season’s FA Trophy.
Boyes, who only signed his first professional contract three months ago, celebrated his second senior start with an excellent goal to open his account for the Minstermen.
Collecting a cushioned header from Richard Brodie on 25 minutes, the former Manchester United trialist sidestepped two Kidderminster challenges on the edge of the box before firing inside home ’keeper Adam Bartlett’s right-hand post from 15 yards.
Harriers substitute Martin Brittain’s second-half equaliser denied 18-year-old Boyes match-winning status, but the third round clash at Aggborough confirmed Martin Foyle’s hunch that the Lingdale youngster is now ready for regular first-team selection.
Just as impressive as his goal was the mature manner in which Boyes led the Minstermen’s line and, if all successful teams defend from the front, then his tally of 14 tackles will certainly help out in that department.
Foyle demonstrated his faith in Boyes’ ability by playing him at the centre of a three-pronged strikeforce for long periods, and his shielding and distribution of the ball was exemplary throughout.
Both qualities were warmly received by a team that has struggled to retain possession with any fluency this season.
City’s performance was far from a one-man show, however, with Boyes’ efforts possibly even eclipsed by those of Simon Rusk.
The former Boston United Conference title winner set high-octane standards in this game that he must now maintain if City are finally going to dominate opposition midfields during the final third of the season.
Lining up alongside the hard-working Andy McWilliams and the positionally-disciplined Levi Mackin in a 4-3-3 formation, Rusk provided his side with some much-needed drive from the middle of the park and was unfortunate not to end his 46-game wait for a City goal.
There were also stand-out performances from Brodie and Michael Ingham as City produced arguably their best display of the campaign. It was certainly the most enjoyable game of 2008/9 with play-off hopefuls Kidderminster also contributing to an entertaining encounter.
City started brightly with Brodie and Boyes combining to release Daniel McBreen after just five minutes but the Australian forward was caught by Luke Jones, who won the ball cleanly with a sliding challenge. Boyes then headed a Mark Robinson free-kick into the path of Rusk, whose angled drive was beaten out by Bartlett.
A trademark Brodie edge-of-the-box effort also dipped too early to unduly trouble the Kidderminster ’keeper.
At the other end, Darryl Knights tried his luck with a couple of long distance attempts and David McDermott had Robinson back-pedalling before seeing his shot deflect wide off the left-back.
Boyes’ left-footed strike broke the deadlock but Justin Richards almost levelled the scores before the interval, leaving Kyle Critchell on his backside before seeing his effort diverted onto the crossbar through a combination of Robinson and Ingham.
Leading scorer Brodie headed wide from a Boyes cross early in the second half and Rusk called Bartlett into action from 25 yards.
The bustling Richards, always a handful, forced two saves from Ingham and headed over as Kidderminster pressed for an equaliser, but Bartlett again needed to make another low stop from Rusk and turn a Brodie shot around his near post.
Mark Yates’ men levelled when Robinson ushered the tricky Brittain on to his supposedly weaker left foot only for the former Newcastle United winger to squeeze a 15-yard shot inside Ingham’s left-hand post with the City full-back not close enough to get a block in. Another Brodie chance then dipped into the arms of a grateful Bartlett before City survived a late scare.
McWilliams’ stray header sent Matthew Barnes-Homer clear on goal, and while City’s 153-strong travelling contingent either held their breath or crossed their fingers, the Kidderminster striker sidefooted against Ingham’s left-hand upright.
A massive let-off – but any luck for the visitors had certainly been hard earned.
Kidderminster 1 (Brittain 75), York City 1 (Boyes 25)
City: Michael Ingham 8, Ben Purkiss 7, Kyle Critchell 7, Danny Parslow 7, Mark Robinson 7, Simon Rusk 9, Levi Mackin 7, Andy McWilliams 7, Adam Boyes 9, Richard Brodie 8, Daniel McBreen 7.
Subs not used: Mimms, Sodje, Radcliffe, Russell, Wilkinson.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire
City’s star man: Rusk – a busy presence in the City midfield, using the ball sensibly and breaking forward at the right times.
Kidderminster: Adam Bartlett, Keith Lowe, Martin Riley, Luke Jones, Lee Baker, David McDermott, Dean Bennett (Martin Brittain, 59), Darryl Knights (Brian Smickle, 71), Andy Ferrell, Justin Richards, Matthew Barnes-Homer.
Subs not used: Mark Creighton, Stefan Moore, Dean Coleman.
Yellow cards: Barnes-Homer 65, Brittain 68, McWilliams 85.
Shots on target: Harriers 7, York 7
Shots off target: Harriers 7, York 3
Corners: Harriers 5, York 5
Fouls conceded: Harriers 13, York 8
Offsides: Harriers 5, York 3
Referee: Steve Cummins (Runcorn). Rating: made mistakes, but none were glaring.
Attendance: 1,153 (153 from City).
Tackle of the match: There was little room for error when Jones slid in to take the ball from McBreen after just five minutes.
Shot of the match: Boyes’ left-footed strike was a memorable first goal.
Miss of the match: Barnes-Homer hitting the post with the game’s best opportunity.
City player watch: Adam Boyes
Goal attempts on target: 1
Goal attempts off target: 0
Blocked goal attempts: 0
Passes to own player: 18
Passes to opposition: 3
Crosses to own player: 1
Crosses to opposition: 0
Pass completion rate: 86.4 per cent
Dribbles ball retained: 5
Dribbles ball lost: 4
Dribble completion rate: 55.6 per cent
Clearances, blocks and interceptions: 2
Fouls won: 3
Fouls conceded: 1
Yellow cards: 0
Final summary: Boyes dispelled any lingering doubts about his readiness for first-team football with an impressive all-round performance. His excellently-taken goal was supplemented by an ability to retain possession with only three of his passes going astray in 90 minutes. The 18-year-old’s commitment was also illustrated by a terrific tally of 14 tackles and he won a healthy number of headers, as well as drawing three fouls from the hosts.