A late goal from Josh Gowling ensured there was a happy ending to a deeply frustrating afternoon at Aggborough on Saturday as Harriers netted late to beat Nuneaton Town 1-0.
A game that was slow to start got its chance on eight minutes as, back in the side, Callum Gittings went close with an effort from midfield that was deflected just past goalkeeper Adam Smith’s upright.
Ten minutes later Smith had to be watchful as Lee Vaughan’s deep cross floated towards his far post and threatened to dip, the on-loan Leicester man doing the decent thing and clawing it over his bar.
Past the half-hour there was a second strong run in quick succession through the Town defence by Mickey Demetriou charged forward and shot on the angle with Smith getting down well to gather and keep hold of the ball.
That was literally the sum total of the first half’s events and so it was a relief when the second period began slightly more quickly as Nuneaton’s Adam Walker picked up from a throw in and charged down the angle before firing a shot that flew wide of the target occupied by the returning Danny Lewis – Nathan Vaughan injured in the warm-up.
With 53 minutes on the clock Adam Smith got down superbly to meet a driving effort from Ryan Rowe, parrying the ball away at the foot of his far post before defender’s managed to clear before, just shy of the hour, Gittings again took aim with a rising effort that went just over.
On 65 minutes, with all men forward battling all the Nuneaton men sitting back, Harriers almost conceded out of nothing as Connor Taylor exploited a huge gap in the home back-line, charging down on goal and blasting towards Lewis who stayed ‘big’ to block the ball with his thigh.
Steve Burr threw on Marvin Johnson with the half ongoing and it was his deep ball that created a good chance for the hosts – knocked down at the far post, the ball was played to Gittings who fired at it but saw the effort clash off one of his own men.
Inside the last six minutes good work by Anthony Malbon and subs Danny Pilkington and Johnson saw Johnson race into the area and nearly find the breakthrough but his low shot was saved superbly by Smith – the stopper really earning his corn two minutes later as he parried away a shot from another sub in Richard Peniket.
That forced a spell of corners, the latter of which was taken short by Pilkiington and drilled towards the far post by Vaughan where the stunning and beautiful haircut of Josh Gowling was there to meet it with a powerful header that crashed into the back of the net.
His first goal for Harriers, and what a time to get it.