Saturday, September 10, 2005

STRIKER Iyseden Christie found his scoring touch to so nearly claim a storming Nationwide Conference success for Kidderminster Harriers at early leaders Grays Athletic.

But Christie's double was tainted in second-half injury-time as goalkeeper John Danby dropped a corner from Grays sub Bertie Brayley to allow him an easy equaliser on his debut.

Though Harriers boss Stuart Watkiss may have been happy with a point before kick-off, it was a huge disappointment to see Harriers throwing away two in similar style to their trip to Scarborough last month.

While Kidderminster have enjoyed the rub of the green at Aggborough with several late strikes, the opposite is true on their travels -- but they are now unbeaten in five games.

Watkiss was taking the positives out of a largely impressive display against unbeaten Grays, who romped Nationwide South last season, and defended Danby.

He said: "I can't be too hard on him because for 93 minutes he was excellent and had made some good saves. We all know that a goalkeeping error has cost us two points but the lads are rallying around John.

"He is obviously more gutted than any of us but it was a mistake he's made and one he's taken responsibility for."

Christie's second-half brace followed a deflected winner against Canvey Island which was his first since breaking his foot in March 2004.

And the former Mansfield forward seems to be striking up a better understanding with target man Taiwo Atieno who had a hand in both goals.

Watkiss continued: "I think he and Tai worked brilliantly with one another and they're flourishing with every game they play together. It's great to have that kind of partnership where if one doesn't score the other is more than likely to do so.

"We're pleased to have taken a point even though we're obviously disappointed not to have sealed the win -- it keeps our run going and hopefully keeps the confidence up. I am really proud of my players for their total commitment and effort."

With Wayne Graves handed a full debut and Gareth Sheldon recalled to the line-up, Danby was called into early action with stops from Gary Hooper and Dennis Oli.

Ashley Bayes tipped over a now-trademark header from Atieno on 23 minutes but Harriers received a let-off close to the interval when Grays midfielder John Martin wasted a chance.

Christie fired the visitors ahead three minutes into the second-half after latching onto Atieno's nod-on from a Sheldon centre.

But Grays equalised within five minutes when Hooper tapped home easily after Martin raced away down the left flank to wisely draw 'keeper Danby.

However, Christie reclaimed the initiative with a confident finish from another Atieno flick-on on 63 minutes.

Grays turned the screw in pursuit of an equaliser and Danby brilliantly kept out an Aaron McLean header only to lose his grip on Brayley's corner deep into injury-time.

HARRIERS: Danby; Evans, Jackson, Burgess, Hatswell; Fleming, O'Connor (Wilson 43), Graves (Russell 64); Sheldon (Burton 87), Atieno, Christie. Subs not used: Thompson, Lewis. ATTENDANCE: 1,316.