KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 1 BOSTON UNITED 1: Pilgrims battle back for first away point

Kabongo Tshimanga.
Kabongo Tshimanga.

Boston United picked up their first away point of the season with a 1-1 draw at Kidderminster Harriers.

Fraser Horsfall’s own goal seconds into the second half cancelled out Emmanuel Sonupe’s seventh-minute opener.

Boston will leave Aggborough thinking of what could have been as Adam Chapman saw a first-half penalty saved, but on reflection a point was a fair result for a team made to defend sturdily against a side packed with attacking intent.

With Gregg Smith and Brad McGowan both suspended, Jack Cowgill and Brad Beatson returned to the starting XI. They flanked Jordan Keane in a back three which effectively began as a five-man defence with wing backs Jan Yeomans and James Clifton dropping deep to combat the Harriers’ pace.

But the hosts were still creating spaces with their quick interplay, James McQuilkin seeing an early cross flash across George Willis’ goal.

The Boston keeper was beaten with just seven minutes on the clock, rushing from his area in a bid to beat Sonupe to the ball. The pacey Harriers man, however, got to keeper Brandon Hall’s long punt first, rounded Willis and fired into an unguarded net from 25 yards out.

In response, Clifton tried his luck from a tight-angled free kick but there wasn’t enough whip as the effort flew the wrong side of Hall’s crossbar.

Keane twice got his body in the way to deny Kidderminster striker Joe Ironside as he aimed an effort on target in a contest which saw action go from end to end.

As the Pilgrims took their turn to surge forward they were awarded a golden opportunity to pull level as Ashley Hemmings was upended just inches inside the hosts’ box by Tyrone Williams. But from 12 yards Hall guessed right to palm Chapman’s spot kick away, before smothering the rebound.

A stroke of good fortune pulled the Pilgrims level just four minutes into the second half when Kabongo Tshimanga’s strike was sailing wide until it struck the arm of Harriers defender Horsfall and deflected into his own net.

And the Pilgrims could have been leading seconds later when Tshimanga turned Williams in the box but saw Hall get down to save his low drive, before Sonupe found himself in the right place to nod Chapman’s header off the line.

Harriers’ first real chance of the half fell to substitute Andre Brown, but his snapshot flew well high. Ryan Croasdale went closer with his 25-yard drive while Willis was called upon to get down and push Dan Bradley’s goalbound effort away from danger.

The Boston stopper then pulled off two further saves to deny Sonupe and Joel Taylor, before Will Longbottom, on for Taylor, beat Willis but saw his effort ripple the side netting.

Looking for the win, Harriers peppered Boston’s box with late crosses, but the Pilgrims held firm.

HARRIERS: Hall, Austin, Taylor (Longbottom 83), Croasdale, Horsfall, Williams, Sonupe (Wright 79), McQuilkin, Ironside (Brown 58), Ngwatala, Bradley; Subs (not used): Weeks, Webb.

UNITED: Willis, Clifton, Yeomans (Hare 61), Beatson, Keane, Cowgill, Chapman, Tshimanga, Hemmings (Vince 58), Broadhead; Subs (not used): Waite, Hawley, McGuire.

Att: 1,463 (59).

Ref: Alex Kirkly.