HARRIERS showed small glimpses of a revival under Russ Penn with an improved performance and a point from a 1-1 draw with Gateshead.

The Reds have won just one of their last ten matches in all competitions but looked decidedly brighter in the second half of this contest at Aggborough and were arguably unlucky not to have won it.

They had led through Ryan Johnson’s first-half header, only for The Heed Army to level soon after. Chances came and went in a competitive second period, with Ashley Chambers and Brandon Diau going close.

Caretaker manager Russ Penn had been forced into one change, the injured Milan Butterfield replaced by Richard Peniket, while Ed Williams added his name to the casualty list, withdrawn after seven minutes of the game by Alex Prosser.

Harriers recovered from the early set-back, though, and took the lead on 11 minutes when a Hemmings corner was thumped into the net by the head of Johnson who recorded his first goal of the season. The lead would last just seven minutes, a dangerous low cross turned in by Gateshead’s Preston as the visitors equalized.

Through Hemmings and Chambers, the hosts had further openings before the half hour as they looked to re-take the lead, before only a last-ditch defensive intervention from Gateshead prevented Peniket from re-establishing the lead in the final moments of the half.

In chilly conditions, a sparse crowd of just 948 were in good voice for what was an enjoyable second period. Peniket again remained in the thick of the chances and, just after the hour, directed a diving header straight at the goalkeeper from a dangerous position.

Seven minutes later Chambers really ought to have put Harriers back in front with what would have been his tenth goal of the term; threaded through by a poor back-pass, he rushed his shot and fired straight at the keeper when well placed.

Gateshead were never out of it – within the space of ten minutes in the game’s final third they had two key openings to snatch a lead, but Preston curled a shot wide of the target in search of his brace, before Lees dragged a header wide when left in acres of space to meet a cross with a header.

The home side had the last big say and the final major look-in at goal – Hemmings had seen his shot charged down when, with just two minutes left, Diau saw his follow-up blocked when it looked on its way to the back of the net.

HARRIERS: Mannion, Austin, Davidson, R Williams, Johnson, Weeks, Moyo, E Williams (Prosser 7), Hemmings, Chambers, Peniket (Diau 74).

Unused subs: Digie, Shenton, Palmer.

Attendance: 948

Referee: Dale Bains