Harriers 2, Chester 2

HARRIERS fell victim to a Steve Burr fightback as they allowed a two-goal lead to slip on Bank Holiday Monday.

Kidderminster’s ex-manager is a specialist at stirring comebacks and before his surprise departure from Aggborough in January, his four years at the club were littered with such revivals.

So it was almost fitting that on his first return to the Reds his Chester charges continued that tradition.

Even when Harriers were two goals up and in total control in a one-sided first half, there was a sense a third goal was needed to avoid the inevitable.

Callum Gittings and Chey Dunkley had punished suicidal defending by the visitors with strikes in under ten minutes.

But Kidderminster failed to turn their dominance into an even healthier lead. Craig Reid flashed an effort wide and Dunkley saw another fine header cleared off the line by Danny Taylor.

The hosts felt they could waltz through Chester’s leaky defence, but a lack of killer instinct let the Blues off the hook.

Marvin Johnson came closest on the stroke of half-time, cutting in from the right, but his powerful effort was athletically saved by goalkeeper Freddie Hall.

But it started going wrong in the first minute of the second half. Dunkley unnecessarily blocked Craig Hobson’s shot with his hand and was shown a straight red card.

However, Danny Lewis dived to his right and saved Chris Iwelumo’s half-hearted penalty and Hobson’s follow-up.

Harriers sat deep and tried to defend their lead, though, and time and again the ball came back at the home team, despite the introduction of Michael Gash to hold it up.

Rejuvenated Chester poured forward and the hosts were under constant pressure with no outlet for release.

The inevitable happened in the 81st minute when a deflected Taylor cross outfoxed the defence and Hobson headed home to create a sense of panic in the home defence.

Two minutes later, Wayne Riley pounced after an effort from Gareth Roberts had crashed off the bar to seal a frustrating day for Harriers manager Gary Whild.

He said: “If I am honest it is two points lost. We scored two early goals and the reaction from some of our lads was that they thought it was going to be an easy afternoon.

“The sending off made it difficult and while I was pleased with the players’ hard work I was disappointed.

“I was disappointed with the first half, when we should have been more clinical.

“And even in the second half with ten men, I expect better from us. I expected better decisions from a young centre-half who has aspirations to go higher.”

HARRIERS: Lewis 7, Hodgkiss 6, Storer 7, Dunkley 3, Johnson 6 (Grimes, 48, 5), Reid 5 (Verma, 59), Blissett 5 (Gash, 63), Byrne 5, GITTINGS 7, Nicholson 6, Gowling 6. Subs not used: Styche, Singh.

CHESTER: Hall, Brown, Harrison, Kay, Roberts, James (Riley, 78), McConville, Iwelumo (Winn, 59), Taylor, Hobson, Rooney. Subs not used: Heneghan, Worsnop, Blake. Referee: Paul Rees (Somerset) Attendance: 2304 (397 away).