Harriers 0, Southport 1

HARRIERS saw their four-game winning streak halted by resolute Southport on Sunday.

Kidderminster enjoyed most of the play but failed to create many chances against their opponents, who are battling near the bottom of the Vanarama Conference.

The game was settled by a wonder strike by Luke George in the 66th minute.

Manager Gary Whild was forced to make two changes from the team which won so impressively at Forest Green on Boxing Day.

Academy youngster Luke Maxwell is handed his senior debut, while Craig Reid was also drafted in.

Kidderminster were without the injured duo of Aman Verma and Callum Gittings.

Striker Jamie Spencer, who was signed from Redditch United, was included on the bench for the first time since joining.

The hard work of the staff on the pitch  ensured the game went ahead but the playing surface, which experienced drainage issues, was badly cut up by the ran on Boxing Day.

In a lacklustre first half, Harriers had all the best chances to open the scoring.

In the eighth minute, Reid dragged a low shot just wide of the far post.

Jack Byrne also directed a header from a Kyle Storer cross straight at keeper David Raya Martin.

The midfielder was then booked for a foul on Charlie Joyce.

Sandgrounders skipper Luke Foster was also yellowed carded in the 30th minute for a late challenge on Reece Styche.

Southport's keeper then produced an athletic save to deny Marvin Johnson, who had tried to curl in an effort from the edge of the box.

Reid should have done better in the 38th when Styche teed him up with a raking through ball but mis-timed his effort and failed to connect 15 yards out.

The visitors had failed to really threaten the home goal but Mitchell Austin saw a left-footed effort fly over the bar.

But the hosts saw an effort from Byrne ruled out for offside on the strokevof half-time.

Harriers started the second half well and Styche produced a neat turn and shot but saw his effort saved by Martin.

But for all their pressure, Kidderminster were creating little in terms of chances against their hardy opponents.

The luckless Reid saw an effort hit a defender, while Styche shot at Martin after another lively turn.

But the hosts were stunned when Southport took the lead against the run of play in the 66th minute after an error at the back was harshly punished Substitute Liam Hattersley saw his cross from the right cleared by a Kidderminster defender straight to George, who rifled an unstoppable effort in to the top right corner.

Immediately, Harriers took off Reid and Styche and brought on Ahmed Obeng and Akwasi Asante to add some pace to the attack.

The hosts piled on the pressure in the game's dying minutes, but centre back Jordan Tunnicliffe was shown a yellow card in the 87th minute for a challenge on Austin.

Johnson's pace and dangerous crosses from the right were testing Southport's resolute defence and one such raking effort saw substitute Jake Green hit a firm effort which was deflected over the bar.

In the 91st minute, Byrne managed to dig out a driven effort from the edge of the box which hit a defender in a crowded box much to the relief of the visitors.

But all their efforts came to nothing as Southport held on for all three points.

Harriers, who saw a chance to move into the play-off spots go to waste, will be hoping to bounce back at home to Forest Green Rovers on New Year's Day.

Harriers: Lewis, Hodgkiss, Storer, Byrne, Johnson, Reid (Obeng, 66), Styche (Asante, 66), Grimes, Maxwell (Green, 74), Tunnicliffe, Nicholson.

Subs not used: Spencer, Hales.

Southport: Martin, Fitzpatrick,Collins, Foster, George, Brodie (Hattersley, 64), Joyce, Rutherford, Marsden, Smith, Austin.

Subs not used:  Roberts, Brogan, Lynch, Bakayo.

Referee: Darren England Attendance:  1883 (76)