HARRIERS were held to a 1-1 draw at National League North rivals Altricham. 

Before kick off, there was some mixed news for Harriers on the treatment room front; the positive being the return to the starting line-up of Ashley Hemmings after he’d missed the win at Guiseley.

Less good was the word that Declan Weeks was added to list of those missing. His toe complaint saw him join Ed Williams and Richard Peniket on the sidelines.

Despite being low on numbers, Harriers looked bright and sharp from the outset and controlled much of the first half – almost taking an early lead when, with just eight minutes on the clock, Chambers was threaded through cutely by Austin before shooting. Only a strong stop from Tony Thompson between the sticks prevented the marksman recording his 11th goal of the campaign.

Harriers persisted, though, and did get their breakthrough 12 minutes later with a well-worked goal; Austin again the threat as he twisted and turned past his man before delivering an inviting ball into the area that Butterfield nodded downward and into the back of the net.

Altrinham, though not immediately, did start to edge more into the game after the half-hour marl; Peers twice going close to getting a good sight of goal, but seeing one effort blocked before not quite being able to connect with another.

Six before the break Walker fired over the bar for the Robins before Peers again was a threat, curling an effort wide of Mannion from the edge of the area, but also past the post.

Injury woes worsened for Harriers at the break when Chambers, having pulled up just prior, found himself unable to continue, Jimmy Shan bringing on U23s forward Ethan Freemantle who stepped into the breach with a committed performance.

Altrincham probably shaded the second half, but it was far from one-sided. After Moult had driven straight at Mannion at one end, Hemmings drove wide with an opportunistic shot at the other which was tipped wide.

Moult would then have a header held before, on the break, Harriers had a great chance to extend their lead; Freemantle superbly keeping the ball alive before playing in Shenton who, through on goal, saw his shot saved by the feet of Thompson.

The equaliser came with 13 minutes left to play and after Harriers had failed to clear their lines from a corner. Through a crowd of bodies, it was eventually Moult who applied the final touch to bring his team level.

There was a chance each to win it as well; after Davidson had crashed wide on the angle for the visitors, the hosts went close as Hannigan’s header bounced just off target.

HARRIERS: Mannion, Austin, Davidson, Moyo, Johnson, Williams, Prosser, Butterfield, Shenton, Hemmings, Chambers (Freemantle 46).

Subs not used: Diau, Scott, Palmer, Digie.

Attendance: 988 Referee: Peter Shacklady