Report: Harriers collapse late

Harriers surrender two points late on in dramatic finish at Blyth Spartans…

Ed Williams, Kidderminster Harriers

HARRIERS threw away two points at the death after conceding twice against ten-man Blyth Spartans.

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On an eventful afternoon, it was the hosts who scored first after 42 seconds as Maguire finished, but levelled through Ed Williams.

Blyth then had goalkeeper Jameson dismissed for bringing down Ironside in the area. The striker converted the penalty to make it 2-1.

Harriers then had a number of chances to extend their lead before eventually doing so through Williams with 20 left to go.

That should have been that, but a combination of Blyth’s spirit and some unforgivable defending allowed the home side back in it – striking in the 88th and 93rd minute to steal a point they should never have been allowed to come close to getting.

The tone for a dramatic afternoon was set early with barely 40 seconds on the clock when the first goal arrived – an effort from distance deflecting wickedly off Maguire and into the net past a stranded Hall.

Just five minutes later it was 1-1. Clayton-Phillips was the provider as he kept hold of the ball before looping a cross into the area, where a perfectly-directed header from Horsfall beat Jameson and dropped into the far corner.

The turnaround was complete for Harriers with 20 on the clock; an expertly-timed tackle from Butterfield allowed him to stride out of his own area before finding Ironside with a long pass – the striker nudging it beyond Jameson before being pulled to the ground. With no genuine attempt to win the ball, the referee had no choice but to award the goalkeeper a red card as well as the penalty. Ironside did the honours from twelve yards in beating striker Bobby Dale, the stand in-goalkeeper.

Austin was lively down the flank three minutes later and cut inside before finding the side netting, before Dale’s miss-kick only found Ironside who tried to guide it back on goal where the stopper was on hand to gather.

Before the half hour, Maguire forced Hall to tip the ball over the bar before Green did similar – the home side continuing to make the best of the chances before the break when Maguire again almost on target with an overhead kick that went just over.

Harriers should have gone into the break 3-1 up as Horsfall’s header on the stroke of the interval was palmed at by Dale and looked to have edged over the line before eventually being cleared.

Williams, Austin and Daniels all had chances for Harriers soon after the break, the visitors not doing enough to seriously test Dale between the sticks.

That was the theme as we went past the hour mark, Taylor supplying Williams who forced Dale’s only real save of the afternoon with an effort that needed tipping over the bar.

Williams would be the man to eventually extend the lead on 71 minutes, good build-up seeing Daniels cutting the ball back to the former Cheltenham man who guided it into the bottom corner.

That should have been it, but Harriers paid the price for failing to convincingly see off the hosts, who were never short of belief as Reid powered a header over and Maguire went close.

Despite the deficit in personnel and goals, the momentum always seemed to be with Spartans and they reduced the arrears all too easily with two left of normal time – Nicholson left all-too free inside the area to back-heel the ball to Maguire who took his time and picked his spot beyond Hall.

Before Harriers could really compose themselves, their day’s work was undone as Blyth snatched their equaliser. Buddle was the man of the hour – watching a scrap for the ball in the area unfold, he was left free to drive it home as it fell loose to send the home fans into raptures.

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