BOSTON UNITED 2 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2: Pilgrims fight back to force FA Trophy replay

Kabongo Tshimanga.
Kabongo Tshimanga.

Boston United and Kidderminster Harriers will do it all again on Tuesday night as the Pilgrims scored twice in as many minutes to force an FA Trophy draw.

Debutant Adam Curry and Kabongo Tshimanga - with his 10th of the season - forced an unlikely stalemate as they cancelled out goals from Andre Brown and Joe Ironside.

Boston looked dead and buried as Harriers took a deserved lead, but Craig Elliott’s first home game in charge will be remembered for a late flurry - as well as a mind-boggling decision from referee Declan Bourne.

How the first half ended goalless is anybody’s guess as the Harriers should have had the tie wrapped up within the opening 25 minutes but, by the time the whistle blew, the hosts should probably have had a penalty and be facing 10 men.

The impressive and attack-minded Kidderminster side dominated the opening exchanges, doing everything but score as Brown brought a firm near-post save from George Willis while Joe Ironside and Ryan Croasdale saw powerful efforts fizz inches wide of the target.

Declan Weeks rounded Willis but found Jamie McGuire in the right places to head off the goalline while Elton Ngwatala wasted a free header at the back post.

But with 10 minutes to go until the interval referee Bourne found himself raising eyebrows with a questionable decision.

Harriers keeper Brandon Hall collected a routine ball and, as he looked to begin a move upfield, moved Pilgrims striker Reece Thompson out the way with an arm to his opponent’s face.

Thompson dropped to the floor and referee Bourne blew his whistle.

But instead of pointing to the spot and dismissing Hall he booked both players and awarded Kidderminster a free kick.

If the official felt Thompson had impeded the Harriers stopper and elected to let play continue until given a decision to make, that’s fair enough.

But Hall’s contact with his opponent - although more a shove than a swipe - was definitely enough to warrant further action.

Thompson then had a chance to put the hosts in front but his glancing header from Ashley Hemmings’ cross drifted across the face of goal.

Persistence paid off in the 56th minute when Kidderminster broke the deadlock through Brown.

Ironside connected with James Pearson’s cross and the Harriers forward was first to react to the loose ball, sweeping home on the turn.

That lead was doubled 10 minutes later as Ironside peeled away from a packed front post and - totally unmarked - headed home James McQuilkin’s perfectly-weighted corner.

The defending was sloppy, but the movement superb.

However, two goals in as many minutes drew the Pilgrims level as the away side twice failed to clear corners.

Curry - on loan from Hull City and handed his debut alongside Derby County defender Kyron Stabana - gave Boston hope in the 78th minute as he rifled a loose ball high into the Harriers net, before substitute Tshimanga took his tally into double figures, tapping home Hemmings’ low cross.

Willis kept the scores level as he held on to Emmanuel Sonupe’s effort while Hall was called upon to keep out a Hemmings drive.

UNITED: Willis, Stabana, Curry, McGuire, Beatson, McGowan, Clifton (Tshimanga 63), Keane, Thompson, Vince (Rollins 63), Hemmings; Subs (not used): Yeomans, , Smith, Broadhead.

HARRIERS: Hall, Pearson, Austin, Croasdale, Horsfall, O'Connor, Weeks, McQuilkin, Ironside, Ngwatala (Sonupe 67), Brown; Subs (not used): Klukowski, Danko, Eve.

Ref: Declan Bourne

Att: 732.