Harriers are out of the FA Trophy after they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat at National League side Barrow.
There were three changes to the side that made such comfortable work out of Nuneaton Town last time out; perhaps the biggest omission being that of Ryan Croasdale through injury, with the versatile Ash Carter taking his place. Elsewhere, Mani Dieseruvwe came in up top in place of Andre Brown, while Darryl Knights dropped to the bench in favour of Tyrell Waite.
The well-travelled visitors and their higher-graded hosts traded blows in the early stages of this one; Moussa Diarra and Richard Bennett slicing off target for the Bluebirds while, all within the first 15 minutes, Harriers also saw sight of goal as both Ngwatala and Gnahoua dragged shots off target.
Gnahoua would then roll another one wide, before Carter’s interception stopped home skipper Danny Livesey finding the back of the net as a long ball dropped into the area.
Harriers were in control of the game from a footballing point of view, but always had to be on the guard against a powerful and determined Bluebirds side who were strong in the tackle. They had the last chance of the first period when Diarra rose well in the area before planing a header just over the bar.
It was the hosts who struck first blood early after the restart; nobody on hand at the far post to deal with the lurking threat of Richard Bennett – he made contact with a Shaun Tuton cross and sent the ball past Palmer and into the net.
Harriers have responded well to most goals conceded this season but, on this day, struggled to really hit back at Barrow, who expertly snuffed out their threats and cling on to their narrow lead. And yet despite it all, the visitors spurned two great, late openings as a McQuilkin shot was nodded off the line by Turnbull, before Lowe’s header looked set to secure a replay only for Jon Flatt to turn it on to the post.
HARRIERS: Palmer, Ezewele, Lowe, Tunnicliffe (Knights 71), Williams (Austin 80), Carter, McQuilkin, Ngwatala, Waite (Truslove 80), Dieseruvwe, Gnahoua.
Subs not used: Brown, Thomas.
Attendance: 1,173 Referee: Steve Rushton