Harriers 1, Leamington 2

KIDDERMINSTER’S quest for a National League North play-off place is on the brink of being over after defeat against Leamington.

Harriers, who named the same side that beat FC United last Saturday, suffered a disappointing defeat at Aggborough despite going ahead early in the clash.

It took the hosts just four minutes to break the deadlock as Joe Ironside fired beyond visiting keeper Tony Breeden from the edge of the area.

The forward turned neatly after collecting Ash Chambers’ ball and netted his 17th goal of the campaign.

However, that was as good as it got for the Reds as Leamington reacted well to going behind and were level just six minutes later.

Jordan Murphy escaped down the right flank and crossed low for an unmarked Colby Bishop. His close-range effort was saved by Tom Palmer but Jack Edwards was on hand to convert the rebound.

Harriers were enjoying more possession but struggled to get any sort of tempo into their attacking play.

They should have been back in the lead on 21 minutes but Chambers’ weak header from Sam Austin’s cross was easily gathered by Beeden.

Leamington continued to pose a threat themselves as they found space too easily around the Harriers area.

They should have punished Harriers just before the half hour mark after Fraser Horsfall’s miscued back pass put Colby Bishop in on goal. But Harry Flowers got across well as the forward shot narrowly wide.

However, the visitors were ahead on 32 minutes when Junior English rose to head home Murphy’s corner.

Harriers continued to look short of ideas going forward and took too long on the ball as they went in behind at the break.

Boss Mark Yates switched to a back four for the second half as Russ Penn replaced Harry Flowers.

Despite that change it was Leamington that carved out the first real chance of the second period when Palmer pushed away Bishops drive.

Harriers came close to an equaliser on 52 minutes when Liam McAlinden rattled the bar after Austin’s ball in reached him at the far post.

Joe Ironside then thought he’d levelled three minutes later but saw his effort ruled out after referee Scott Simpson spotted a handball in the build up.

The Reds were applying more pressure but Leamington were able to drop deeper to contain them.

Headers from both Ironside and Chambers were all they had to show for it as the contest reached the final 15 minutes.

Sub Kane Richards almost made an immediate impact but he couldn’t react quick enough to connect with Joel Taylor’s low cross.

Ironside shot wide on 77 minutes and Milan Butterfield saw a dipping effort from distance clawed away two minutes from time as Harriers were left frustrated.

It means a win for AFC Telford United at Hereford tomorrow will all but end Harriers’ outside hopes of a play-off spot this term.

Harriers: Palmer, Austin, Taylor, Flowers (Penn 45), Horsfall, Johnson (c), McAlinden (Richards 75), Butterfield, Ironside, Chambers, Williams.

Unused subs: Higginson, White, Heaton.

Leamington: Breeden (c), English, Gudger, Clarke, Mace, Lane, Murphy, Gittins (Flanagan 62), Bishop, Edwards (Wilding 70), Obeng (Hodges 78).

Unused subs: Taylor, Parker.

Att: 1,515.