Town denied as Kidderminster snatch 93rd-minute equaliser

Simon Ainge challenges Kidderminster goalkeeper Brandon Hall during Tuesday night's 2-2 draw at the CNG Stadium. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Simon Ainge challenges Kidderminster goalkeeper Brandon Hall during Tuesday night's 2-2 draw at the CNG Stadium. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Town were forced to settle for just a point from Tuesday night’s National League North clash with Kidderminster Harriers, following a grandstand finish.

Simon Ainge looked to have earned Simon Weaver’s men victory when he powered home a header to give the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 90th minute, only for Joe Ironside to net a late leveller, deep into stoppage-time.

Boss Weaver made two changes from Saturday as striker Ainge made his first start since August following an injury lay-off, while Bradford City loanee Ellis Hudson also came into the side.

Both teams made fast starts to the contest and shared four shots in the opening five minutes, though it was in the ninth minute that the evening’s first real chance arrived as Ainge’s effort was hooked clear off the goal-line.

Town’s George Thomson was next to go close, in controversial fashion as his shot trickled wide of the post while Harrier James McQuilkin was down injured.

McQuilkin soon recovered and tested the gloves of James Belshaw with a long-range effort that the Harrogate stopper did well to tip over after half an hour.

Ten minutes before the break, Jordan Thewlis went closer still to breaking the deadlock as he raced on to a flick-on, took the ball past goalkeeper Hall but saw his finish clip the outside of the post and go behind.

Town did however take the lead on the stroke of half-time as Josh Falkingham’s long free-kick into the area was cleared up rather than out, allowing Terry Kennedy to head the ball into the corner of the net when it eventually came back down.

Warren Burrell’s header from Thomson’s corner almost made it two shortly after the re-start, but the defenders effort was cleared from the line before Belshaw kept out Sam Austin’s drive at the other end.

Kidderminster’s Declan Weeks almost produced the spectacular in the 64th minute as he attempted to lob Belshaw from close to the halfway-line after the keeper had rushed out of goal to clear his lines, but was unlucky to only connect with the cross bar.

Harriers then hit Town with a quick counter-attack down the right that ended with Ironside heading home from close range.

Weaver introduced on loan Guiseley striker Frank Mulhern with a quarter of an hour to go, and the frontman nearly made the difference when closing down a short back pass and almost forcing the ball in.

Ainge seemed to have won the game for Town in the 90th minute as he rose highest to convert a typically powerful header at the back post from Falkingham’s free-kick, though there was more late drama to come.

In the final minute of injury-time, Ironside managed to curl into the top left corner to steal a point for the visitors.