HARRIERS did serious damage to their late play-off hopes as they shipped two late goals to draw 3-3 at ten-man Blyth, who’d had their goalkeeper sent off.

There was mixed news for Harriers as the team news was confirmed at Croft Park.

Ed Williams was handed his first start of 2019 after missing several weeks of action through a combination of injury and illness. He replaced Liam McAlinden who was unable to make the lengthy journey after being unable to shake off the sickness bug that had struck the camp.

There were other returns; Russ Penn slotted in to midfield in place of Billy Daniels who made the bench, where there was also a place for returning defender Josh Heaton.

To say the first half was eventful would be an understatement, and it all started in frantic fashion with two goals in the first six minutes – Blyth going ahead after Green’s effort ballooned off Maguire and into the net past a wrong-footed Hall. Harriers responded in ideal fashion, and Fraser Horsfall was on hand to expertly guide Nick Clayton-Phillips’ cross into the far corner.

That was far from the end of the drama, however. On 20 minutes, Ironside was brought down in the area by goalkeeper Jameson who was given his marching orders – the resultant penalty saw the striker net for the third consecutive game.

Maguire, up at the other end, turned well and fired at goal to force Hall into a good save, Nick Clayton-Phillips, seconds later, with quick feet on the edge of the area before firing off target. The home side’s chances became fewer as the game went on but they had a big one three after the half-hour when Green nodded at goal, Hall tipping the ball over the target.

Moments before the break, another header from Horsfall looked to have extended the Harriers lead but, somehow, stand-in goalkeeper, striker Dale, clawed the ball off the line.

Daniels and Williams had early sights of goal for the visitors early after the restart but neither could find the target, Johnson and Chambers then going close in quick succession after a corner, only for the hosts to survive.

Williams stung the palms of Dale on 67 minutes but there was no stopping the Harriers man three minutes later as he finished off a good move that ended with Daniels playing the ball into his path.

That should really have been it, but there were always signs that Blyth were never prepared to give up the ghost. After Maguire almost slotted home a deep cross, the real alarm bells starting ringing eight minutes later. With just two minutes left to play in normal time, Nicholson and Maguire were given far too much time on the ball, the latter eventually keeping his cool and slamming the ball past Hall.

With three minutes of added time signalled, home tails were up and what looked to be an improbable result was secured when the ball was allowed to run free inside the area to the onrushing Buddle who found the bottom corner with aplomb.

Harriers: Hall, Austin, Taylor, Penn, Horsfall, Johnson, Clayton-Phillips (Daniels 45+5), Butterfield, Ironside, Chambers (Richards 78), Williams (Truslove 83) Subs not used: Higginson, Heaton.

Attendance: 705 Referee: Paul Brown