HARRIERS were held to a 1-1 draw at relegation battlers Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday.
Although Harriers had started brightly, their early threat was snuffed out and it was Gainsborough who took the lead, striking first blood through Nathan Jarman to take a single-goal lead to the break.
Within five minutes of the break Harriers were level through Andre Brown, with a home rearguard determined to not be breached a second time as they held on for dear life to a point that could secure their place in next season’s North.
The start from Harriers signalled they were more than up for this one; James McQuilkin almost caught home goalkeeper Tom Nicholson off-guard with a low shot that very nearly ended up going in.
Soon after and still with less than a quarter-hour played, Harriers were again going close as a firm effort from Ngwatala was sent crashing wide after good play in the area by Ironside.
The visitors were made to pay for not making more of those chances as Gainsborough strode ahead with their very first of the day; Jarman’s low shot rolling slowly into the bottom corner after Harriers had failed to stop a charge up-field.
Jordan Thewlis then struck the bar for Trinity as they went in search of more goals to secure their divisional status in the final moments of the half, Jarman then going close with an attempted lob from distance within seconds of the restart.
Brown was a half-time substitute and he needed just five minutes to make the crucial impact Harriers and their fans needed – nipping in between defender and goalkeeper as the ball ran loose before tapping it neatly between the legs of Nicholson and into the back of the net.
McGovern then sliced a volley wide for Gainsborough before, with just over a dozen left to play, Gnahoua was again on the prowl, forcing a shot just wide.
Home sub Chib Chilaka went on to force Hornby into his first real save of the day as we entered the last ten minutes, a fine parry from the reds’ loanee to keep out his rising effort before the hosts spurned the follow-up.
A point meant the hosts are in the driving seat to secure survival ahead of next weekend’s final round of matches, while Harriers secured home ‘advantage’ in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
HARRIERS: Hornby, Francis-Angol, Williams (Austin 78), Lowe, Tunnicliffe, Croasdale, McQuilkin, Ngwatala (Truslove 65), Nti (Brown 46), Gnahoua, Ironside.
Subs not used: Carter, Waite.
Attendance: 902 Referee: Matthew Dicicco