Rochdale 0 Harriers 0

JAN Molby had taken his players back to basics during the week in a bid to shake off a couple of rotten displays.

The end result on Saturday left him understandably delighted as Harriers could even have snatched an unlikely victory late in the game.

Unlikely that is because a 5-1 mauling at Blackpool and 3-1 slip-up to Lincoln did not leave a great deal of hope for a trip to play-off challengers Rochdale.

But no doubt a few home truths in midweek produced the right reaction from the players, including the previously out-of-favour Tony Bird and Football League debutant Ben Davies.

Rochdale's recent form - no wins in eight games - was nothing to crow about but Harriers had to be happy with a hard-fought point.

And when Dean Bennett demonstrated his impressive fitness levels to race clear six minutes from time, it appeared Harriers were to complete a fine smash-and-grab raid.

Unfortunately, Bennett shot at the well-positioned keeper Neil Edwards from the edge of the area and the chance of three points was gone.

But Molby will not be holding that against the non-stop player who has not looked back since being transfer-listed in January.

Harriers had defended superbly, restricting their often unimaginative hosts to a serious drought of goal-scoring chances.

It was not hard to see why Rochdale sometimes struggle to score goals yet their generally miserly defence had their hands full with lone forward Drewe Broughton.

As ever, the troublesome Broughton was a handful with his aerial ability and aggression.

He did well to win a number of crosses into the box but most were difficult opportunities, ending up over rather than under the bar.

Rochdale, parading record £150,000 signing Paul Connor, had the first shot on-target with 25 minutes gone as Graham Lancashire's ambitious over-head kick flew straight at the grateful Tim Clarke.

But Harriers were not giving Steve Parkin's side an inch and that was highlighted in a hot-headed spell later in the first half.

Home centre-back Keith Hill was booked for pole-axing Broughton who followed him into the book for a lunge at Michael Oliver.

Rochdale's best spell of pressure with seconds of the half left saw Clarke parry Gary Jones' 30-yard bullet and push Connor's cross, deflected wickedly by Craig Hinton, around the post. Their introduction of sub Phil Hadland in the second period briefly threatened to liven things up with Clarke doing well to punch away his wicked cross.

But it was a job well done for Harriers and Bird twice fired wide before Bennett nearly broke the deadlock after Thomas Skovbjerg's perfect through-ball.

The match will never be remembered for entertainment with both teams packing their midfields but a crucial clean sheet broke up a run of 12 goals conceded in three games.