Lincoln 0, Harriers 0

A POINT at an unhappy hunting ground represented a solid start to the Vanarama Conference for Gary Whild’s Harriers on Saturday.

The Imps’ home has proven a place of woe for Kidderminster in recent seasons but the memories of last season’s surrender and the opening day loss for the 2012-13 campaign were erased.

But most pleasing about this result was Harriers’ fortitude when City poured forward with relish and their proactive response in the second half, when they could have picked up all three points.

In the first half, Harriers’ new look back four of Jared Hodgkiss, Josh Gowling, Chey Dunkley and Kevin Nicholson was given a rigorous test by a fired-up home side packed with new signings.

The quartet were given a thorough workout in the first 20 minutes, as City were given space to attack at will.

All of the host’s chances fell to Hamza Bencherif, who thought he’d broken the deadlock with a 24th minute header, only for the inspired Gowling to clear off the line.

Going forward, Harriers struggled, particularly Ahmed Obeng on his Conference debut, but striker Craig Reid nearly won it for Harriers with two moments of sublime magic.

The forward struggled to impose himself but like the best conjurors nearly pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in the 36th minute with a smart spin and swerving strike, which keeper Nick Townsend athletically tipped wide.

Lincoln’s on-loan Birmingham keeper produced another fine save in the 52nd minute, tipping a 30-yard effort over the bar at the last minute following a knock down from Nathan Blissett.

With substitutes Michael Gash and Marvin Johnson both adding guile and forward thrust, Harriers ended the game the better team.

“You don’t want to lose on the first day of the season or lose away from home,” said Harriers’ manager Gary Whild.

“In the second half we were the better team and if you look at the work their goalkeeper has had to do throughout the game he has pulled off some excellent saves.”

HARRIERS: Lewis 7, Hodgkiss 7, GOWLING 8, Dunkley 7, Nicholson 7, Verma 7, Storer 6, Gittings 6, Obeng 5 (Johnson, 51), Blissett 7 (Styche, 74), Reid 6 (Gash, 63). Subs not used: Grimes, Singh.

LINCOLN: Townsend, Caprice, Diagne, Brown, Newton, Bencherif, Nolan, Power (Mendy, 66), Marshall, Burrow, Tomlinson. Subs not used: Kabba, Ledsham, Robinson, Farman. Referee: Karl Evans. Attendance: 2,598 (177)