Brackley Town’s first ever visit to Kidderminster Harriers’ Aggborough stadium brought a goalless first half followed by an incident-packed second period that saw Saints reduced to ten men for the second successive Saturday as Brackley and Worcester City shared the points despite late chances at both ends to seal the win.
Robbed of Remy Clerima and Ryan Austin, Saints juggled the team again with Brett Solkhon moving to partner Tom Sharpe at the centre of defence with only four fit players available to fill the bench.
The home side were out of the traps quickly, pegging Saints back and Ethan Moore was only denied by Billy Turley when one-on-one in just the third minute before City had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for pushing.
The Royals had Saints under further pressure as the imposing physical presence of centre forward Aaron Brown caused defenders headaches throughout the game.
Saints had their chances also as from a fine move on 14 minutes that saw David Bridges’ shot just wide and just before the half hour a lightning break presented Glenn Walker with the chance to shoot with only the keeper to beat but Leigh Bedwell saved the day for City.
The visitors grabbed the lead on 52 minutes as Ryan Rowe touched home Glenn Walker’s pacey free-kick. Shortly after, Brett Solkhon’s far post header was well saved by Bedwell before City had Saints under pressure from successive corners.
On 63 minutes a defensive muddle presented Ethan Moore with sight of goal. Brett Solkhon threw himself to the ground to block the shot and was adjudged to have handled the ball. The award of a penalty and a red card to Solkhon was the controversial and defining moment of the game as Saints reorganised again defensively but surrendered their lead to Moore’s firmly struck spot-kick that Turley got a glove to but could not keep out.
Prior to this, a touchline incident had threatened to steal the headlines as City’s Wayne Thomas was yellow carded and Saints manager apparently sent to the stands following a heated exchange that drew in players and officials from both sides.
The Royals failed to make their numerical advantage count as Saints defended manfully. In the final moments, leading scorer Daniel Nti hit a fierce shot that Turley saved well before the tireless Ryan Rowe saw his effort clawed away at the last by a relieved Bedwell.