Harriers 2, Chester 2

HARRIERS saw Chey Dunkley sent off as they squandered a 2-0 lead against Steve Burr's Chester at Aggborough on Bank Holiday Monday.

The hosts had been leading 2-0 through Dunkley and Callum Gittings before.

But the game changed completely at the start of the second period when Dunkley was sent off for hand ball and Chester piled the pressure on the hosts.

Eventually, Craig Hobson and Wayne Riley levelled the scores and earned a point for former Kidderminster boss Burr, who was making his first return to Harriers since leaving in January.

Harriers made two changes from the side which drew at Macclesfield, drafting in midfield pair Jack Byrne and Gittings.

Chester had started brightly and created an opportunity in the third minute when Kingsley James delivered a fine cross from the right but captain Josh Gowling headed away powerfully.

But two goals in three minutes saw the hosts punish some poor defending by Chester.

A deep cross from the left by Kevin Nicholson caused chaos in City's area and Gittings slid home from close range to score in the sixth minute.

In the ninth minute, Chester keeper Freddie Hall came for but missed Kyle Storer's corner and Dunkley headed home.

The hosts could have added more as City's defence crumbled. Craig Reid fired a right-footed effort wide in the tenth.

Reid then had a header cleared off the line by Danny Taylor in the 22nd minute.

Chester were trying to get forward but not really testing Harriers shot-stopper Danny Lewis. They created a chance in the 33rd, when John Rooney raced to the byline and pulled the ball back, only for Hobson to fire over the bar.

Hobson steered an effort at Lewis but Johnson nearly added a third in the first minute of time added on.

The wideman cut in from the right wing with pace and unleashed a venomous right-footed shot that Hall tipped over the bar.

Harriers were handed a disastrous start to the second half, when Dunkley was shown a straight red card for blocking Hobson's shot with his hand.

Lewis came to his side's rescue, diving to his right to deny Chris Iwelumo from the spot and then reacting brilliantly to block Hobson's rebound.

The hosts were  being pushed back but they continued to defend stoutly.

Chester came close in the 57th minute when Rooney fired an effort across the face of goal and Jared Hodgkiss make a crucial block at the far post.

Harriers boss Whild range the changes, taking off Reid, who saw an effort ruled out for offside only seconds before, and replacing him with midfielder Aman Verma.

Michael Gash also came on to lead the line as a loan front man for Nathan Blissett.

Lewis was having a busier afternoon than he has been used to lately and he did well to grab hold of a header from the towering Hobson in the 64th minute.

Harriers had been weathering heavy pressure from the away side but they finally made the breakthrough in the 81st minute when Hobson headed home a deep cross from Danny Taylor.

Two minutes later, Gareth Roberts' effort rattled the bar and substitute Riley stole in to nod in the rebound.  Riley nearly won it when he strode free but slammed a right-footed effort wide.

But Harriers withstood Chester's pressure to hang on for a point.

Harriers: Lewis, Hodgkiss, Storer, Dunkley, Johnson (Grimes, 48), Reid (Verma, 59), Blissett (Gash, 63), Byrne, Gittings, Nicholson, Gowling.

Subs not used: Styche, Singh.

Chester: Hall, Brown, Harrison, Kay, Roberts, James (Riley, 78), McConville, Iwelumo (Winn, 59), Taylor, Hobson, Rooney.

Subs not used: Heneghan, Worsnop, Blake.

Referee: Paul Rees (Somerset) Attendance: 2304 (397)