Grays Athletic 1, Kidderminster Harriers 3 GARY Phillips’ Grays slumped to a 3-1 home defeat against Kidderminster Harriers.

Harriers proved themselves stronger, fitter and faster than Blues.

Kidderminster’s Kyle Hadley beat the offside trap in the seventh minutes and his cross forcing Cameron Mawer to concede the corner. Brian Smikle found himself in space from the corner but his header just looped over Preston Edward’s bar.

Their patience paid off as in the 11th minute Dean Bennett picked up a loose ball in the box to easily shoot home from close range.

Smikle should have made it two as a fine one-two with Hadley saw his shot, just sly over the bar.

Grays had no cutting edge up front and no supply from midfield.

Once again, Ronnie Bull looked laboured and short of fitness in midfield. The three other midfielders could not supply any decent ball to the hard working Jamie Slabber and Daniel Charge.

Pass after pass went astray, players were not closed down and in the summer heat, Grays simply looked unfit.

Harriers were beating the offside trap at will assisted by Grays conceding possession.

They paid the price in the 27th minute as Hadley sprinted into space and crossed to Smikle who scrambled the ball into the net.

Barnes-Homer could have made it three as once again the trap was sprung but Hoyte’s last ditch tackle spared further humiliation.

Grays brought Tommy Black on to inject some invention into the team. It worked.

In the 54th minute Gavin Hoyte’s central through ball sent Charge free and he made no mistake firing past Dean Coleman.

Route one seemed to work with Tom Harvey going close a minute later with a header from a corner.

The heat took its toll as Harriers didn’t mount an attack until the 65th minute when they had two goal-line clearances by Barnes-Homer and McPhee a desperate scramble in the Grays area.

For the rest of the half they seemed comfortable passing the ball around, cnserving energy but in the safe knowledge that the three points were in the bag.

Grays nearly stole a point in injury time as Charge had a close range shot charged down and Slabber’s curled shot from the edge of the area went wide.

As if to make a point, Harriers went up the other end and wrapped it up as Courtney strolled down the right, floated the ball across the area for McDermott to tap in for the three points.

After the 3-1 defeat Grays Boss Gary Phillips said “Let’s not panic. This is still a work in progress.

“Fitness levels are not what they should be but we will be working them hard next week.

“There may be players who just can’t cut it at this level. That will need to be sorted.”

Grays Athletic: Edwards, Davis, Hoyte, Mawer, Beavan, Graham (Black 46), Harvey, Bull (Long 77), Braham-Barrett (Makofo 61), Charge, Slabber. Subs Not Used: Lumley, Taylor. Goals: Charge 51.

Kidderminster: Coleman, Courtney, Caines, Riley, Baker, McPhee, Bennett (Knights 73), Finnigan (Dolman 83), Hadley (McDermott 55), Barnes-Homer, Smikle. Subs Not Used: Singh, Sharpe. Goals: Bennett 12, Smikle 28, McDermott 90.