Report: Kidderminster Harriers 0 Blues 4

Goals from Jack Storer (2), Andrew Shinnie and James Vaughan capped off an impressive performance in front of decent crowd.

Blues played with an attacking intent throughout and they could have added more late on, once their superior fitness kicked it.

Nevertheless, it was a performance that will surely give Gary Rowett plenty of excitement and enjoyment ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship opener against Cardiff City.

Blues started in a 3-5-2 formation with Paul Caddis and Dominic Bernard as wing-back’s who were encouraged to get forward as quick as possible.

Josh Cogley, recent signing Daniel Cleary and Paul Robinson operated at the heart of the defence with Charlie Cooper just sitting in front.

Reece Brown and Andrew Shinnie were therefore given the licence to dictate play and provide for the energetic pairing of Jack Storer and James Vaughan.

Blues immediately started on the front foot and were ahead after three minutes.

Vaughan’s through ball to Storer was inch perfect and the striker composed himself, before striking a low shot under Jono Brown and into the far corner.

The attacking onslaught continued immediately and it was two, minutes later.

Shinnie burst past Storer’s left shoulder, received a pass in his stride and fired a fierce first-time effort past Brown.

And Rowett’s side continued the high tempo and look destined for a third.

Vaughan had a good claim for a penalty rejected by the referee, whilst Brown nearly latched onto a poor back pass that the 'keeper just hooked clear.

The hosts had a decent spell just after the half hour mark with Adam Legzdins forced into a terrific one-handed save.

A half clearance fell to Ashley Carter outside the area and his shot deflected through a crowd of Blues defenders. Legzdins however, did excellently to change direction and palm his effort round the post.

But before Kidderminster could build on their pressure, Blues struck again.

Cooper intercepted a short pass and found Vaughan charging into the area. The striker’s first effort from 8 yards was well saved by Brown, but he was able to tap in the rebound for his first Blues goal.

The first-half ended without a clear opportunity and the second became a tight affair with Kidderminster making Blues work harder for possession. 

Neat build-up play from Shinnie and Brown after the hour mark led to Cogley finding Vaughan in the right channel, but his first time strike hit the near post sidenettting.

Cooper went close when Blues broke at full pace from a Kidderminster corner, whilst Vaughan could have added to his tally, but he just couldn’t get a full connection on a header.

Blues had settled once again and it became four from a wonderful Storer finish.

Michael Onovwigun passed straight to Brown and the midfielder immediately found the striker outside the area.

Storer looked up, angled his body and curled a first time effort over the stretching ‘keeper and into the top corner.

A host of changes from both sides disrupted the flow, but Blues had their chances to make it five.

Luke Maxwell’s first time effort from eight-yards was straight at Brown, whilst the ‘keeper made an excellent low save to deny Storer a hat-trick at his near post.

KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS: Brown, Hodgkiss (Millichamp 76), Hancocks (Smith 79), Carter (Clarke 67), Trialist, Thomas, Austin, Onovwigun (Forsyth 67), Brown (Taylor 46), Truslove, Stambolziev.

Subs not used: Palmer

BLUES: Legzdins, Caddis, Bernard (McDonald 83), Cleary (Harding 61), Robinson (c), Cogley, Brown, Cooper (Maxwell 66), Storer, Shinnie, Vaughan.

Subs not used: Weaver, McFarlane.