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Super-sub Morgan-Smith salvages a point for Harriers
5:03pm Saturday 22nd February 2014 in News
Harriers 2, Braintree 2
STRIKER Amari Morgan-Smith came off the bench to bag a fine double and rescue a draw against Braintree at Aggborough.
The Carpetmen had looked destined to taste defeat after Dan Holman and Matt Paine had fired the away team ahead.
But Morgan-Smith replaced Freddie Ladapo and bagged goals in the 78th and 82nd minutes.
Harriers boss Andy Thorn rang the changes from the side which lost to Lincoln City.
He handed starts to new signings Santiago Aloi, Adrian Cieslewicz, Josh O'Keefe and Freddi Ladapo.
Striker Anthony Malbon was recalled an handed a chance to impress with top-scorer Michael Gash out injured.
Braintree had not played in the league since January 11 because of the heavy rains which have ravaged the country.
Harriers had started brightly and Argentinian Aloi showed flashes of his skill. But for all their pressure in the first 25 minutes, the home side did not really rest keeper Nick Hamman.
The host's best chance came in the 22nd minute when O'Keefe dived to meet Kyle Storer's corner but headed wide.
Braintree slowly started to take control as their direct approach paid off. Keeper Nathan Vaughan was in fine form. He punched away a good corner from Bernard Mensar in the 26th minute.
Moments later, he did well to take Sean Marks's volley at the second attempt.
O'Keefe ensured it was honours even in the 38th minute, clearing a header from Dean Wells off the line.
Harriers were handed a scoring chance at the start of the second half when Cieslewicz was fouled but Mickey Demetriou's free-kick flew wide.
But the away side took the lead in the 53rd minute when Paine pounced on a flap by Vaughan at a Kenny Davis corner and fired home.
But the Carpetmen slipped 2-0 down in the 67th minute.
Substitute Holman had been on the pitch 60 seconds when he applied a lovely finish at the near post after good work by Bernard Mensar.
O'Keefe had a chance to pull one back in the 71st minute from an excellent Jackman cross but he headed wide at far post.
Thorn hauled off Ladapo to replace him with Morgan-Smith, who turned the game on its head.
He grabbed a lifeline in the 78th minute when he slotted a right footed effort beyond Hamman.
The striker levelled four minutes later, hammering a left-footed effort from the edge of the box into the back of the net.
Josh Gowling thought he had fired the hosts ahead in the 88th minute when Braintree keeper rushed inexplicably out of the box but the defender's header crashed off the bar.
Braintree had a chance to win the march in time added on after a good break by James Mulley but substitute Dan Sparks saw his effort fly over the bar.
But in the end, Harriers survived and take some pressure off under fire boss Andy Thorn, who was subject of some barracking from unhappy Harriers supporters.
Harriers: N Vaughan, Demetriou, Storer, Dunkley, Malbon, Jackman, Ladapo (Morgan-Smith, 54), O'Keefe, Cieslewicz, Aloi (Byrne, 71), Gowling.
Subs not used: Lewis, Rowe, Grimes.
Braintree: Hamman, Peters, Habergham, Paine, Davis, Marks (Holman, 66), Massey, Mensar (Daley, 81), Wells, Mulley, Laurent (Sparks, 81)).
Subs not used: McDonald, Long, Sparks, Daley.
Referee: Simon Bennett (Staffs).
Attendance: 1653 (27)