Alfreton held to draw by Kidderminster

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Alfreton Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Blue Square Bet Premier’s basement club Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, despite taking a 29th minute lead.

Still without a win the visitors belied their lowly position to merit a share of the spoils, while the Reds had to balance missed chances with a string of outstanding saves from keeper Jon Stewart in a lively encounter.

Just 20 seconds had elapsed when Nathan Arnold was presented with the first of those opportunities after a wicked deflection off defender Josh Gowling from an Anthony Wilson cross had sat up invitingly for him, but keeper Nathan Vaughan parried his shot.

Leigh Franks then attempted an overhead kick from a Josh Law corner which was held by Vaughan, then the first of Stewart’s saves was needed in the ninth minute after Callum Gittings had played James Vincent through.

A 20 yard free-kick from Law found a gap in the wall but could not beat the alert Vaughan, then at the other end Anthony Malbon and Richard Peniket went close for Kidderminster.

Dan Bradley’s shot from 15 yards deflected off Gittings from a 27th minute Law corner, but two minutes later Bradley steered the ball past Vaughan from eight yards for his third goal in as many games after Wilson and Arnold had combined to set up the opening.

Harriers responded as half-time approached with Malbon firing across the face of goal, Blissett seeing his shot parried by Stewart before Connor Franklin cleared it of the line and then Malbon’s thunderous drive looping up off Theo Streete to land on the roof of the net.

One creditable statistic to emerge from this period was that Alfreton did not commit their first foul of the game until the 43rd minute.

Two minutes after the break Blissett’s shot was blocked by Adam Quinn, then Wilson set up Arnold again for a shot that almost crept in at Vaughan’s back post.

Peniket’s crisp header from a 55th minute Gittings free-kick had to be hacked clear by Streete, then another good save was required by Stewart to repel another Gittings free-kick.

Harriers drew level on 65 minutes when Malbon curled Blissett’s cross past Stewart from 12 yards, then a belter from Anton Brown took the slightest deflection to take it safely behind off a Kidderminster defender after more good work between Wilson and Arnold.

Another Stewart save denied Malbon after a prolonged run in the 83rd minute, then sub Simon Russell shied at goal from 22 yards but his effort was saved by Vaughan.

Finally in the second minute of added time Wilson set up Arnold on the edge of the area, and after side-stepping two defenders and apparently picking his spot the keeper again came to the visitors’ rescue.

ALFRETON: Stewart; Law (Tomlinson 73), Quinn, Streete, Franklin, Franks,

Meadows (Russell 52), Bradley (Taylor 79), Brown, A.Wilson, Arnold.

other subs: Clayton, Worsfold. Att: 659