HARRIERS were held to a fourth consecutive home draw after a late goal cancelled out Joe Leesley’s first strike of the season against Rochdale.

The 1-1 draw against The Dale means Russ Penn’s men still have just the one win so far in this National League season after toiling in the sun against much-fancied opposition.

It was nonetheless an improved showing in front of the Aggborough faithful, who saw their first goal of the campaign following three successive goalless draws.

After a galling late defeat at Southend the prior week, Russ Penn made two changes to his starting eleven for – albeit one enforced thanks to Krystian Pearce being unavailable due to his International duties with Barbados. Alex Penny was restored to the starting eleven, as was Barry Maguire.

Harriers were ahead with 17 minutes on the clock. It was a goal of quality that saw Jack Lambert’s superb skill rewarded – he’d jinxed past a number of players before digging out an inviting cross to Leesley who slotted it with composure into the top corner of the net.

The relief around the ground was palpable, evident by the fact there was almost a quick-fire second as a prowling Amari Morgan-Smith took aim from distance. His swirling effort looked destined for the top corner, only for Wolves loanee Louis Moulden to parry it away with a diving stop.

Rochdale’s biggest threat in the first half came on 21 minutes when Harvey Gilmour went for goal on the angle. His effort looked to have Christian Dibble beaten, but the ball whistled past the foot of the far post.

On the stroke of the interval Harriers should’ve again doubled their lead as a dangerous cross from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain found Caleb Richards at the far post, only for the full-back to scuff his shot wide. Six after the restart the Aggborough stalwart went close again, denied by a smart Moulden stop.

At that point Rochdale edged into the contest more as an attacking force, with Harriers arguably tiring from their earlier exploits. Ethan Ebanks-Landell headed, unchallenged, into the hands of Dibble on 74 minutes. It was a warning the hosts failed to address as the same man promptly nodded an unmarked header into the far corner barely a minute later to level the scores.

With eight minutes of added time at the end of the game there was one chance each for the two sides to find a winner. Dibble showed good reactions to save from Jesurun Uchegbalum inside the six-yard area, before Harriers sub Kieran Phillips took a fraction too long to get a shot off when one-on-one with Moulden, a covering defender able to get back to block at the last moment.

Up next for Harriers is another home clash on Saturday, 16th September, as they entertain Solihull Moors in a televised National League North match, kick off 5:30pm.