Harriers lost at Aggborough for the first time since August on Tuesday as they went down 1-0 to rivals Hereford United in a gutsy local derby.
Back on Boxing Day it was the Bulls who bossed the best of the early stages only for Harriers to take the lead – here it was a case of roles reversed as the home side flew out of the blocks before going behind.
Keith Briggs fired a couple of early sights at goal for Steve Burr’s men while Jamille Matt only narrowly missed out on getting on the end of what would have been a great headed chance as the visiting defence regrouped.
But it would be the Bulls who broke the deadlock with a little less than a quarter hour played; Josh Gowling adjudged to have fouled Chris Sharp in the area and Josh O’Keefe doing the honours from twelve yards.
With just over 20 on the clock there would be a super chance for Harriers to draw level as a deep ball came across the area; James Vincent chesting it down well at the far post before driving an effort at goal that was well cleared off the line by Hereford’s Stefan Stam.
Six after the half-hour mark the Bulls came close to adding a second as they burst through some midfield battles and got the ball to the by-line where a cross was met in the area by Marley Watkins who could only direct a header straight at Danny Lewis.
Soon after Lewis was at hand to keep Hereford at bay once again as he saved superbly to stop a Kyle Perry effort finding the net after Brian Smikle had broken away; while up at the other end the post came to the visitors’ rescue as Lee Vaughan’s cross was met by a shot from Jamille Matt that thumped off the foot of the woodwork.
On the very stroke of half time there were two more chances for the lively Matt as Anthony Malbon fizzed the ball into the area; met by his fellow striker’s shot with Matt drawing a fine stop by Bittner, the ball then re-worked with a deep cross that the former Sutton Coldfield man could only plant wide.
There was an explosive beginning to the second half from both sides as challenges flew in and bodies flew just about everywhere – one overzealous challenge being duly punished however, as Mickey Demetriou was floored in the area by Andy Corbett to the award of a penalty.
It would be agony for Harriers and for taker Kyle Storer, though, as the midfielder’s effort from 12 yards was stopped by Bittner.
Seven after the hour it would be Bittner again to earn his corn as he made another fine save – this time as his own defenders had pretty much left him to it in terms of dealing with the attack; the ball falling to the feet of Ricky Shakes who drove firmly but found Bittner in good form.
Approaching the latter stages Harriers made their first change by introducing Ryan Rowe and, on 73 minutes, Bittner was again kept busy as Briggs took aim once more, Rowe curling one effort straight at the stopper soon after his introduction.
Hereford delivered two goal-line clearances amid five minutes of injury time as Harriers finally beat Bittner only for the Bulls defenders to stay strong.