HARRIERS produced a stirring second half comeback to snatch a point from a game they couldn’t afford to lose, sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw at Oxford City.

Things looked bleak for the visitors when they were two goals behind and devoid of any confidence, but produced some of their best football of the season to avoid going home empty handed.

Harriers were forced into making two changes to the starting eleven as a result of injuries picked up in the midweek stalemate with Hartlepool United at Aggborough. Having played two games in the space of four days following a three-month lay-off, Matt Preston was shifted to the bench and rested in favour of Krystian Pearce. Caleb Richards also returned to the eleven following a knee injury to Sammy Robinson.

The visitors carved out the first chance of the day on just three minutes when Ashley Hemmings took the ball down well on he edge of the area and shot at goal, the effort firing over the bar. Two minutes later Hemmings was in a good position again but opted to shoot when Jack Lambert was in space in the six-yard area, Jack Bycroft holding his effort.

Oxford, nonetheless, were two goals to the good at the break thanks to goals of real contrast. First, Andre Burley charged down Krystian Pearce’s clearance in the Harriers six-yard box, getting rewarded as the ball struck his foot and crashed into the back of Christian Dibble’s net.

Seven after the half hour it was two. This time, a good footballing side in City went route one when Olly Sanderson took down a long punt forwards before coolly dispatching past Dibble.

Harriers did reduce the arrears six minutes later from the penalty spot. A shot at close range appeared to strike an Oxford hand to the award of a penalty, which Ashley Hemmings converted for his first league goal of the campaign.

Ryan McLean lifted over the bar with a chance to equalise for Harriers who pressed before the break, with Jack Lambert drilling wide on the angle with 90 seconds gone after the restart.

In truth, that set the tone for a half Harriers completely dominated. On 54 minutes they pulled themselves level when a slick team move saw Morgan-Smith control the ball excellently before slamming it home off the bar for his sixth goal of the campaign.

From there it was one-way traffic and Oxford had Byrcroft to thank for maintaining parity. He blocked Reiss McNally’s low shot on 64 minutes, before thwarting Hemmings with an instinctive stop nine minutes later.

With seven left to play, Bailey Hobson took aim with a fierce drive that a diving Bycroft did superbly to stop heading into his far corner, before Oxford went close by striking over from a free kick with a rare sight of goal at the other end.

Deep into added time there were two more chances. After sub Ben Tollitt struck over from inside the area, Hemmings spurned a last-gasp chance by spooning the ball high over the bar with jus Bycroft to beat.

Harriers are next in National League action on Saturday, 2 December when another newly-promoted side in Ebbsfleet United come to Aggborough (3pm) – Russ Penn’s men keen to avenge a miserable 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.