Harriers’ unbeaten home record was tarnished by Grimsby Town as substitute Rhys Oates’ late goal snatched all three points for the Mariners.
The defeat leaves Harriers in 12th place as they slipped to their third loss of the season in a game they really should have won.
Despite numerous chances to take the lead throughout, the hosts lacked a clinical touch in the final third and in the last 20 minutes Grimsby stepped up the pace and took the lead with their only shot on target.
Gary Whild made two alterations to the side which beat Altrincham 4-0 on Tuesday, as Jake Green and Craig Reid dropped to the bench.
Jared Hodgkiss, who prior to Tuesday had played every minute of Harriers’ season so far, recovered from injury in time to take his usual spot at right-back, while Reece Styche’s goal-scoring substitute appearance midweek earned him a third start of the season.
Meanwhile, Grimsby, without a win in their last three, called up Daniel Parslow in place of Chris Doig following their midweek stalemate at Halifax Town.
The Mariners dealt the killer blow with five minutes remaining as Oates, who replaced Jack MacKreth on the hour-mark, was fed by Scott Brown on the left-hand side to unleash a low strike past Danny Lewis
from around 20 yards out.
It left Harriers rueing their missed chances as the three points should have well and truly been wrapped up for the hosts before Oates’ strike.
They enjoyed the better of the first half and should have taken the lead on the half-hour mark, with two separate attacks almost harvesting a goal on each occasion.
Firstly, a dipping Kevin Nicholson set-piece outside the box forced ‘keeper James McKeown into a scrambling save as he had to dive to his left post in order to push the threat clear, but Johnson’s interception found Jamie Grimes in the middle of the area whose close-range effort was blocked.
A subsequent Grimsby counter-attack was swiftly dealt with, allowing Johnson to storm the remainder of the pitch, skipping out of attempted challenges from blue shirts as he reached the box.
McKeown could only parry his shot into the path of Michael Gash, the striker well-placed to give Harriers the advantage, but he was unable to hit the target and instead launched his effort over the bar.
A bright start from Harriers had seen Grimsby’s back line called into action to clear a couple of Nicholson free-kicks to the right of the box inside the first 10 minutes.
Town came closest early on, as Brown’s curling strike was deflected out for a corner, before Johnson had the game’s first shot on target after 21 minutes, shooting straight into the hands of McKeown following a mazy run through the penalty area.
At the other end, Kidderminster had contained their opposition well, with the likes of Hodgkiss making some important tackles to keep the Mariners out, as Johnson’s pace was proving difficult for Grimsby to deal with.
Whild’s men picked up where they left off in the second half as they turned up the heat on Town, and it was down to Pearson to keep Chey Dunkley
’s powerful header from finding the back of the net after 56 minutes, a goal-line clearance necessary as McKeown was left well-beaten from the corner.
Harriers showed off some inspiring attacking movement as a Gash shot was deflected behind for a corner amidst cries of handball after 68 minutes, before Nathan Blissett
replaced him a minute later and had the ball in the back of the net on the 77th minute, with referee Lee Swabey ruling a foul against the hosts.
Grimsby upped the tempo in a highly-competitive last 20 minutes as they grew in self-belief, and almost snatched an undeserved lead after 71 minutes as Aristote Nsiala headed a corner against the crossbar, before a promising cross left Oates wrong-footed, failing to make a connection from a threatening spot in the box.
The Mariners continued to plug away amid Harriers attacks and finally found the breakthrough late on, an all-round positive performance by Kidderminster marred by that defensive lapse on top of their failure to find the back of the net.
Kidderminster: Lewis, Hodgkiss (Gittings 86), Storer, Dunkley, Byrne, Johnson, Gash (Blissett, 69), Styche (Reid, 74), Grimes, Nicholson, Gowling (c.)
Subs not used: Green, Verma
Grimsby: McKeown, Parslow, Magnay, Nsiala, Pearson, Clay, Brown, Disley (c.), Mackreth (Oates, 62) Neilson (McLaughlin, 86), Hannah
Subs not used: Bignot, Doig, Winfarrah