Harriers’ struggling start to the season continued on Saturday as, despite a hugely bright start, they lost out 1-0 to Dartford at Princes Park.
Early on in this one and inside the first ten minutes there was a period of play that brought about a quartet of chances on the home goal; a driving run from Jack Byrne saw him have two bites at the cherry, one being well saved by the Dartford goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and one being well blocked – the follow up saw Ryan Rowe tee up Marvin Johnson but the winger saw two of his own shots charged down.
Harriers continued to break well from midfield and on 17 minutes James Vincent was the latest player to try his luck from the edge of the area but his well-taken effort was tipped away well by Bettinelli.
Anthony Malbon’s header on 22 minutes was sent just wide as the visitors moved forward with far more purpose, Ryan Austin smashing a volley into a defender on the edge of the area after another neat move had forced a corner.
The opening goal came on 37 minutes and it was undoubtedly against the run of play; a delightful corner delivery powered into the net by substitute Lee Burns who engineered himself enough room in the area to get on the end of it.
With just over a minute to the break Dartford’s Harry Crawford almost made it 2-0 as he stung the hands of Danny Lewis after catching a ball over the top with a sweet volley; Johnson up at the other end seeing another rising effort of his own sail just wide.
Harriers made two changes at the break with Anthony Malbon coming off for Nathan Blissett and Keith Briggs making way for Mickey Demetriou and six minutes after the restart there was a chance as Rowe saw a close-range header held.
With nine played in the second period Ryan Hayes was denied by Lewis as his curling shot was tipped away well nerves beginning to appear in both sets of players just as the skies almost blackened with a threatening thunder storm.
Harriers thought they’d got level on 67 minutes as Rowe turned in at the far post but an assistant’s flag put an end to the celebrations as he called for offside.
Crawford had an even better opportunity to arguably put the game to bed with 72 minutes on the clock as Harriers pushed forward and found themselves hit on the break; the Dartford man’s far-post header was good but was matched by an excellent, low stop from Lewis.
There was an even bigger blow for Harriers with five minutes left to play as they lost the industrious Byrne to a nasty looking ankle injury late on.