Harriers Cruise To Opening Day Win: Curzon Ashton 1-6 Harriers
Harriers stormed to their best Opening Day win since 1947 with a goal blitz that left their hosts bewildered.
For his first competitive team selection manager John Eustace handed debuts to four players - Sam Hornby, Ashley Carter, Tyrell Waite and Mani Dieseruvwe - with another four potential debutants on the bench.
Harriers were greeted with a superb playing surface at Tameside Stadium which allowed them to play their fast passing game and put their hosts on the defensive from the start.
Just six minutes were on the clock when Harriers opened the scoring; Arthur Gnahoua got away on the left, leaving the full back for dead, and pulled the ball back to the near post where Elton Ngwatala was on hand to sweep it past Hakan Burton.
On 12 minutes Ngwatala went close to adding a second but his header was pushed away fro a corner by Burton. The respite was brief, though, as Zaine Francis-Angol and James McQuilkin combined on the left with the latter crossing for Dieseruvwe the head in his first goal for the club. Midway through the half Carter got in the act; receiving the ball deep in midfield he advanced towards the home goal before despatching a low shot from 25 yards into the corner to Burton's left.
Harriers were unstoppable and on 34 minutes scored a fourth; Ngwatala's pass split the defence wide open allowing Gnahoua a clear run at goal before taking the ball around Burton and firing in from a narrow angle. The same two players combined for the fifth, Ngwatala winning the ball from a home defender and passing to Gnahoua on the left who scored with a shot inside the near post.
Early in the second half Australian Robert Stambolziev, on as a sub for McQuilkin, tried his luck from a free-kick 25 yards out but his effort flew narrowly over the bar. Harriers continued to dominate play but it was unlikely that the second half would live up the exploits of the first and so it proved, the next goal not coming until the 68th minute; substitute Liam Truslove scoring on his debut with a 20+ yard shot after being set up by Waite.
Disappointingly, Harriers were unable to keep a clean sheet, Joe Guest heading in from Connor Hampson's left wing cross with twenty minutes remaining.
Nonetheless Harriers were able to finish off the game with their biggest Opening Day victory since beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 'A' 6-0 in the Birmingham League in August 1947 and sit atop the (rather meaningless at this stage) early league table.