KIDDERMINSTER Carolians left it late to maintain their unbeaten league start with a thrilling finish against Earlsdon.

KCs began brightly and only a last-gasp tackle prevented Arthur Morgan from a try after two minutes.

Earlsdon regrouped and applied pressure to win a penalty which provided a slender lead that was extended after 30 minutes when their powerful forwards created a chance for a try which was converted.

KC’s task was made harder when number 8 Jess Smith was yellow carded for a team offence after successive penalties.

Both sides put together strong attacks but organised and committed defence was the main feature as players worked hard to close down space and deny scoring opportunities.

Kidderminster's backs threatened when they had possession but supply was choked-off by the visitor's forwards in scrum and lineout play.

The score remained 10-0 to Earlsdon at half-time.

The Carolians began the second period with a penalty score by Freddie Morgan but Earlsdon replied with an unconverted try.

The host repelled a series of attacks from Earlsdon's pack before surging runs by Jess Smith and man-of-the-match Scott Lovell led to a try by Smith which was unconverted and the gap shrank to seven points with 10 minutes to go.

A try by KC's skipper Mike Protheroe was converted by Freddie Morgan to level the scores and it was Kidderminster now on the front foot.

With the hosts spreading the ball wide at every opportunity a strong run by winger Ryan Teine led to a penalty in the last seconds, which was kicked by the composed Freddie Morgan to make the final score 18-15.

The win left Carolians four points clear at the top of Midlands Two West (south), they travel to eighth-placed Evesham next Saturday.