A STRONG second half showing wasn’t enough to prevent Harriers slipping to a 1-0 defeat to unbeaten Solihull Moors in the televised clash at Aggborough.

Russ Penn made just the one change to his starting eleven, Gerry McDonagh restored to the side in favour of Ashley Hemmings who dropped to the substitute’s bench. Krystian Pearce, back from international duty, was back in the squad but also given a sub’s berth.

As seems so frequently the case, Harriers began the brighter of the two sides. With just five minutes gone, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain rose at the far post to head a teasing delivery just the wrong side of the upright, before firing over the bar with a second effort several minutes later.

It was Moors who broke the deadlock with just a quarter of an hour on the clock; their first chance seeing a free-kick headed simply into the path of Matt Warburton who, rising higher in the six-yard box, had the relatively simple task of nudging it beyond Christian Dibble in goal.

Harriers did their best to fashion a response and went close before the break when Barry Magurie’s drive was deflected on to the bar, and Alex Penny’s far-post header drew a good save from Tommy Simkin. The clearest cut of all the openings came the way of Oxlade-Chamberlain after he was set free by McDonagh, only to fail to get a shot away when through on goal.

Harriers stayed among the chances in the opening minutes of the second half. Jack Lambert thumped a header over the bar before forcing Simkin into a save with a well-taken half volley, while Amari Morgan-Smith diverted the ball over the target three minutes later when a header from Reiss McNally looked to be heading in.

With 13 left, Simkin once again extended himself to preserve Solihull’s lead. Off the bench, Hemmings showed great feet to keep the ball before laying it into the path of the onrushing Oxlade-Chamberlain – his shot tipped over the bar.

Hemmings himself had his shooting boots on with just five minutes left to play as he charged down on the target. He unleashed an effort from more than 25 yards that dropped wide of the target with Simkin seemingly beaten.

A one-sided second half will be of little comfort to Penn and his Harriers side, who slip into the bottom four with nine games played.

A relentless start to the season shows so signs of slowing down for Harriers. Tuesday night sees them journey to the International Stadium in Gateshead to face the Heed, before trekking down to Hampshire to meet Eastleigh on Saturday.