IT was a tale of two penalties at Aggborough as Harriers were beaten by FC Halifax Town thanks to a late spotkick from Jordan Sinnott, after James McQuilkin had erlier missed from twelve yards in first-half stoppage time.
Joe Ironside had given Harriers an early lead and despite Tom Denton’s first-half leveller, McQuilkin had the chance to put Harriers ahead at the end of the first period, but the hosts were left to rue his miss from twelve yards.
Harriers had the better of the opening exchanges and went close from the first corner of the game after only five minutes. Jordan Tunnicliffe rose high above the Halifax defence to direct his header at goal but Sam Johnson smothered the effort well.
Ironside tested Johnson again only a minute later with a neat turn and shot from the returning Arthur Gnahoua’s lay-off, before the Frenchman was again in the thick of the action setting up Zaine Francis-Angol but the marauding left-back couldn’t control his wayward shot.
This Harriers spell of pressure though was the prelude to them breaking the deadlock in the 11th minute. Ironside rose excellently in the box to nod home McQuilkin’s excellently delivered corner and give the hosts a deserved lead against a Halifax side that were yet to put their stamp on the game.
The opening goal did seem to galvanise the Shaymen though, and they gave warning of their equaliser a minute before the half-hour mark. Sinnott’s free-kick from the left was met by a completely unmarked Dion Charles, but his free header sailed wide of the post.
It was Denton who made no mistake though to level things 60 seconds later, as he met Kevin Roberts’ cross to power the equaliser past Sam Hornby.
Harriers looked to respond and Ironside, a key forward outlet for Harriers, set Daniel Nti free but his volleyed effort was easily dealt with by Johnson.
But the golden chance for a second came in first-half stoppage time. Ryan Croasdale was fouled by Sinnott but McQuilkin’s spotkick was dragged wide of the left-hand post.
Harriers began the second half the stronger of the two sides and Nti drew another good save from Johnson, who tipped away his header with one hand.
A fine move from Harriers shortly before the hour mark cut apart the Halifax defence as Francis-Angol combined with Gnahoua, before crossing for McQuilkin who met it on the half-volley, but again Johnson was equal to the task.
The aerial threat of Denton was a constant problem for the Harriers defence all afternoon and his looping header from a Sinnott free-kick beat Hornby, but the angle of the post and bar ensured the scores remained level.
The pair combined again in the 78th minute but the ball fell harmlessly wide but it was six minutes later that the key moment of the half came. Halifax substitute Cliff Moyo, who was yet to touch the ball, made a run into the box and was adjudged to be brought down by Croasdale. Sinnott blasted the ball down the middle to give the visitors the lead from the resulting spotkick.
Sub Darryl Knights almost forced a leveller on 90 minutes as he struck the ball well from Francis- Angol’s cross, but Johnson again thwarted Harriers.