HARRIERS were held to a 1-1 FA Cup draw at lower-ranked Ware on Saturday, leaving Russ Penn’s men facing a replay at Aggborough on Tuesday. 

Penn’s charges had looked to have seen off the challenge of the side who ply their trade two levels below the Reds, but an 88th minute leveller saw Wodson Park erupt in celebration as Leigh Rose’s goal cancelled out Amari Morgan-Smith’s early opener. 

Given Harriers had controlled much of the tie without ever killing it off, a frustrated manager spoke after the final whistle, reflecting: “I’m disappointed, more so with the manner of the goal at the end really.

“It was a typical Cup tie, it was to and fro and fair play to Ware, they stuck at it and they’ve got the replay on Tuesday.

“On our part, we started the game really well but just weren’t ruthless enough today, so we’ll move on to Tuesday and try and get a positive result.”

With neither Omari Sterling nor Lewis Montrose able to shake off injuries sustained in last weekend’s league defeat at AFC Fylde, Boss Penn was forced to make two changes to his starting line-up.

Jaiden White was handed a first start of the season in place of Sterling, while Mark Carrington was brought back to slot in for Montrose having completed a three-match suspension.

A tense atmosphere greeted the two teams but it was the visitors who sprang out of the traps and netted inside a minute – a sweeping ball forward knocked into Morgan-Smith’s path who fired it into the net to open his account for the term.

Ware always remained a threat, though, and Simpson was soon forced into action to deny Buchanan, shortly before Harriers suffered a further injury blow with the loss of Foulkes to what Penn admitted looked like a serious knee injury. 

Hope blazed over the bar for Ware on 25 minutes as the hosts attacked again, while Carrington kept home stopper Robinson alert with a low shot that needed a firm hand to divert it away for a corner. 

Harriers did enjoy a measure of control in the game as it went on, but 1-0 never seemed enough and an ominous warning as to what would follow came around the hour when skipper Rose saw a header cleared off the line. 

The visitors actually had two big chances to put the tie to bed before Ware’s goal. They both came within a minute with 73 on the clock, Hemmings first going close as a well-taken free-kick hit the bar. Austin then showed a flash of his brilliance with a touch and shot in the area that drew a smart stop from Robinson. 

As it was, the home side were left celebrating the continuation of their Cup run by at least a few more days when Simpson parried a curling effort from outside the area on the wet surface – Rose reacting quickest and managing to fire it beyond him into the net.

Harriers: Simpson, Richards, Foulkes (Penny 15), Cameron, Bajrami, Carrington, Martin, Austin, Morgan-Smith (Bell 76), White, Hemmings. 

Subs not used: Emery, Tolley, Lissimore, Lowe

Attendance: 538

Referee: Wayne Cartmell