HARRIERS suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Boreham Wood in the National League despite Gold Omotayo’s first goal for the club and a strong second half rally.

It was very much one-way traffic in the first half as the visitors strode into a two-goal lead thanks to a brace from striker Lee Ndlovu.

Their second came in added time at the end of the first half, just seconds before Omotayo reduced arrears with a fourth goal of his campaign and first in Harriers colours.

That gave the hosts a lifeline they desperately needed, and it proved to be platform to build on, a vastly improved showing in the second half seeing them lay siege to the Wood goal, but ultimately without reward as Luke Garrad’s men held on for three points.

The men in red made two changes to the starting line-up from that which rescued a point at the death at Boreham Wood on Boxing Day.

Having netted an injury time penalty in Hertfordshire after initially being an injury doubt, Ashley Hemmings was restored to the elven, while Ryan McLean also came in having impressed as a substitute in the same game.

Amari Morgan-Smith missed out as a result and dropped to the bench, while Matt Preston missed out on a spot in the 16 altogether.

Jack Lambert put in a Man of the Match shift for Harriers and embarked on a match-long battle with visiting goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore who, in turn, performed impeccably between the sticks.

The former Darlington man tried his luck from distance several times before Boreham Wood stole ahead on 27 minutes, Ndlovu outmuscling Krystian Pearce before slotting the ball beyond Christian Dibble.

Five minutes later Harriers should’ve been level when Ashley Hemmings wasted a gift of an opening by firing at Ashmore, his team made to pay when Ndlovu latched onto a stepover in the six-yard box to net and make it 2-0.

Thankfully the riposte came second later when a towering header from Omotayo found the top corner.

Lambert became a thorn in the side of Ashmore, sending a volley his way on 52 minutes before the keeper kept out Omotayo’s drive, Shane Byrne then clipping the post on the follow-up.

Byrne, with 20 left, saw a low shot edge towards the bottom corner before Ashmore turned it around the post, before another Lambert double saw one effort saved and another thump the woodwork with the keeper finally beaten.

The final minute of normal time saw Ashmore lose out in the air, the ball falling to Lambert who struck his shot over the target.

Moments later, Morgan-Smith thought he’d secured a point for his team, but his header was ruled out for a foul on Ashmore to the dismay of the home supporters.

Harriers face a tough challenge to open 2024 on Saturday, 6th January when they travel to play-off chasing Rochdale.