Harriers 2, Curzon Ashton 2

HARRIERS were denied a much-needed victory at Aggborough as Curzon Ashton fired in a late equaliser to take a share of the spoils.

Harriers had twice led in the contest through captain Ryan Croasdale and forward Joe Ironside but were twice pegged bag as their defensive frailties showed late on.

Harriers, unchanged from Saturday's draw with Boston United, had started the brighter and soon got their passing game going on the slick Aggborough surface.

Lively early movement from Dan Bradley and attacks down the right from the impressive Sam Austin kept the visitors pegged back.

Tyrone Williams and Joe Ironside had early headers at goal as Harriers employed a high press.

The first real opening fell to Mani Sonupe on 15 minutes as he raced clear after Ironside's headed flick on.

The winger could only drag an effort past the far post with only Curzon keeper Cameron Wilson to beat.

Ironside squandered another good opportunity three minutes when he headed straight at Wilson after meeting Josh McQuilkin's ball in.

However, after failing to find the breakthrough the home side lost some of their intensity approaching the half hour mark.

They remained dominant in possession without troubling the Curzon rearguard.

Bradley hit one effort from range five minutes from the break that Wilson got down to collect but Harriers continued to struggle to find that killer final ball, a task made harder by McQuilkin's enforced departure with an ankle injury.

But just as it looked like it'd be goalless at half time, up stepped the Reds skipper to break the deadlock and net his first of the campaign.

Croasdale spotted a gap in front of him, bust into the right corner of the penalty and fired an angled drive beyond Wilson into the far post.

The goal came during a lull in proceedings two minutes from the break but the hosts were good value for the advantage after their all action start.

Curzon Ashton started the second period with more purpose and found more joy in the final third. Williams almost put into his own net on 48 minutes when cutting the ball out at the near post but he did prevent forward Niall Cummins connecting behind him.

Kidderminster's failure to bag a second goal haunted them at the weekend and it was a case of déjà vu for the hosts as Curzon found a leveller on 51 minutes.

A short corner saw Max Leonand cross from the right and Matt Regan turn the ball home from inside the six yard box.

Brandon Hall produced his first real save of the night four minutes later to push away Joe Guest's drilled effort from distance.

Harriers continued to wobble and again Hall was called into action on 58 minutes when he palmed away goal scorer Regan's powerful drive.

Harriers needed a reaction quickly and they got it when Ironside restored their advantage with his third of the season on the hour mark.

He rose at the near post to beat the keeper to Austin's in-swinging delivery.

The clash remained a much more even affair compared to the first half but with chances at a premium.

Harriers found themselves with some defending to do heading into the final five minutes as Curzon threw men forward looking for a way back.

Once again Reds couldn't hold out as they dropped deep. A neat lay off in the area found Cummins and he fired powerfully past the attempted save of Hall in the 89th minute.

It was another big blow for Harriers who will again look to missed chances early on and a fragility at the back as more points go begging.

Three away games now follow for John Eustace's men, starting with Saturday's trip to Southport.

Harriers: Hall, Austin, Taylor, Croasdale (c), Horsfall, Williams, Sonupe (Brown 76), McQuilkin (Longbottom 36), Ironside, Ngwatala, Bradley (Wright 68).

Unused subs: Weeks, Webb.

Curzon Ashton: Wilson, Bailie, Guest, Hunt (c), Shaw, Regan, Crothers (Byanga 81), Marshall. Cummins (Wharton 90), Howson, Leonard (McKenzie 76).

Unused subs: Thornley, Madeley.

Att: 1,281 (10)