Harrogate Town suffered a first defeat in seven National League North games when they went down 1-0 at Kidderminster Harriers, Andre Brown netting a late goal for the home side.
Simon Weaver’s men looked set to make it seven games unbeaten on the road before the substitute looped a finish over Peter Crook with just two minutes left to play at Aggborough.
“It’s a cruel game. We shouldn’t have lost, but you do occasionally lose games like this and you can be unlucky,” the Town manager reflected.
“We played with intensity and a good cohesion and stopped Kidderminster playing throughout.
“They’re a good footballing team but we were the better team today and I told the lads in the dressing room how proud I was of the performance.”
There was just one change to the starting XI from last weekend’s 2-1 win over Chorley, as JP Pittman replaced the injured Lloyd Kerry.
Danny Ellis almost gave Town the lead eight minutes in when heading Joe Leesley’s corner towards goal and sparking a goalmouth scramble that Harriers eventually managed to clear.
Simon Ainge then squandered what was to prove Harrogate’s best chance of the afternoon after he capitalised on a defensive mix-up to stride through on goal, but smashed uncharacteristically over the bar.
A number of misplaced passes prevented the contest developing any kind of rhythm inside the opening half-hour, with Town just about edging the proceedings.
While the away team had the better of the chances at the start of the half, John Eustace’s men ended the first period the stronger as Joe Ironside saw his header blocked by Ellis, and Ryan Croasdale’s side-footed shot was kept out by gloveman Crook.
Like the first 45, the opening part of the second half featured few clear opportunities, though it took some brave defending prevented Ainge finishing off Joe Colbeck’s inviting cross.
Weaver had introduced Jack Emmett at the interval, and the winger almost created the opener after 65 minutes, winning possession and finding Ainge, whose left-footed effort was well blocked by Keith Lowe.
With 15 minutes to play, neither defence looked like it was going to budge, as Ellis could not stretch far enough to divert Leesley’s free-kick delivery on target.
But just as the contest looked set to be heading for a goalless draw, substitute Brown popped up inside the box and managed to loop his finish over Crook and into the back of the net to claim all three points for the hosts.