For the second straight game Harriers netted in the 89th minute as Anthony Malbon scored his first of the season to hand his team a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Southport.
The home side controlled the early stages and should really have had at least one goal by the ten minute mark; Richard Peniket and Danny Pilkington had both seen good openings come their way before the first real chance of the day arrived with nine on the clock.
Great play around ten yards from the area saw Marvin Johnson released out wide – he seemingly caught the Southport defence off guard by going for an effort almost first time, his shot being spilled by Tony McMillan in goal, Pilkington only denied a goal on the follow-up thanks to a fine last-ditch challenge from Simon Grand.
With 17 minutes gone the breakthrough was made and it went with play as Harriers took the lead; a another strong team move seeing the ball fall to the feet of the day’s skipper, Kyle Storer, who drove one with might towards McMillan who could only help it into the bottom of his net at the near post.
Storer’s celebrations summed up his joy at the strike – but the midfield man’s deserved jubilations were cut short just five minutes later as he picked up a knee injury that signalled the end of his afternoon, replaced by Manny Panther who made his home debut.
Near the half-hour mark the visitors had their first real chance of the day as Harriers failed to clear their lines; Michael Bakare was the man who tried his luck with a well-taken effort that rolled narrowly wide of Nathan Vaughan’s upright.
On 33 minutes it was another save apiece for the two goalkeepers as Johnson’s corner was tipped over well by McMillan before Shaun Whalley’s free-kick was well held by Vaughan.
Over ten minutes later and in the final moments of the first period Harriers might easily have made it 2-0 but were denied by another strong effort from McMillan; Peniket threaded through neatly on goal but matched evenly by the stopper as he shot.
Southport began the second period brightly but it was Harriers with the first chance of the half, on 50 minutes, as Peniket picked up Lee Vaughan’s fine cross after good work from Pilkington, the on-loan hit-man taking a touch before trying to chip one over McMillan only clip the bar.
Six minutes later McMillan was at it once again as the lively Peniket set Harriers off on a fantastic counter, releasing Johnson who charged down on goal before seeing his shot on the angle well saved.
When the keeper dived down low to deny the same player once more just a minute later you sensed the hosts might just be made to pay for not extending their lead and within moments they had; a mix-up between Gowling and Nathan Vaughan seeing both go for the ball but nobody really take it, Gowling’s attempted clearance eventually finding Karl Ledsham who turned it back over their heads and into the back of the net.
Two after the hour James Vincent almost restored his team’s lead as he blazed just inches wide after making a great angle for himself; but there was despair in amongst the ranks on 62 minutes as the visitors took a lead they in no way deserved.
One angled ball forward was enough to split the home defence completely and left Whalley one-on-one with Nathan Vaughan who had no choice but to make a challenge; winger down, penalty given and Tony Gray the man making no mistake from 12 yards.
Frustration took over at both ends of the field for Harriers and they struggled for any composure in either area; and needed a good stop from Vaughan with 78 on the clock as the lively Whalley raced away before supplying sub Steven Tames who shot straight at the ‘keeper.
Pilkington forced another McMillan save as we entered the final ten, Johnson seeing a half-volley blocked by a scrambling defence. Not to be denied, however, they did get themselves an equaliser in the 89th minute as the pressure told – a corner routine seeing good work from Chey Dunkley with Anthony Malbon, off the bench, the man on the spot to nod home for his first goal of the season.
Report - Matt Wall
Stats & line-ups - PA
Gallery - Stefan Rapacz