A late Kaiman Anderson goal salvaged a point for ten-man Leamington at Aggborough this afternoon, writes Paul Okey.
The visitors had looked to be heading for an opening-day defeat after Ed Williams bundled home the ball from almost on the goal-line in the 71st minute to put Harriers ahead.
It looked even bleaker for Brakes when Jack Edwards was shown a straight red card for a challenge on David Moyo on the touchline.
However, fine persistence from Junior English saw him chase a lost cause to the byeline and his hook-back was swept home by Anderson three yards out to earn Brakes a share of the spoils.
Paul Holleran handed league debuts to Josh March, Cieron Keane and Jake Weaver, with Jordan Murphy going straight into the starting line-up after having rejoined from Solihull Moors on loan on Friday.
Edwards was handed the captain’s armband.
Weaver made a confident claim early on but he was lucky to escape in the sixth minute when a poor punch out was seized upon by Declan Weeks. However, with the debutant keeper out of position, Weeks sidefooted the ball tamely wide.
Ashley Chambers then shot straight at Weaver after cutting in past James Mace on the left.
Brakes were gradually gaining a foothold in the game and Junior English was teed up by Jordan Murphy at the other end after patient build-up play but saw his shot blocked by a defender.
The home side should have broken the deadlock in the 25th minute. A superb cross from Harriers captain Cliff Moyo picked out Milan Butterfield ghosting in at the far post but the former Brakes man got his connection all wrong, sending the ball out towards the corner flag.
Josh March’s appeals fell on deaf ears when he was sent tumbling in the box but he was later to find referee Kristian Silcock much more accommodating.
Kidderminster continued to have the better of the play, however.
Correy Davidson fizzed a shot past the far post after being allowed to advance down the left, while Weeks sent a free-kick just past the far post and then had the pace taken off another well-worked set piece to allow Weaver to comfortably collect.
Five minutes before the break, Leamington were ahead.
March was bundled over while challenging for a high ball with Ryan Johnson and Moyo and the referee was quick to point to the spot to the consternation of home players and fans alike.
March stepped up and sent Cameron Gregory the wrong way to open his and Brakes’ account for the season and trigger a one-man pitch invasion from a disgruntled home fan.
Stung by their late concession, the home side were quick to seize control after the break with Davidson the latest player to fail to take advantage of a less than convincing Weaver punch.
Weaver was then at his best to keep out a precise effort from Butterfield, springing full-length to divert the shot past the post with the Bermudian international already celebrating.
Butterfield spurned a free header after the ball was hooked back into the box by Rhys Williams before the pressure finally told.
A superb 25-yard effort from Alex Prosser bounced down off the crossbar with Weaver beaten and Chambers was there to bundle the rebound home, taking an anxious look over to the assistant referee before celebrating his goal.
Davidson was inches away from diverting a dangerous cross at the far post as Harriers maintained their hold on the game and they went in front in the 71st minute.
The Brakes rearguard failed to take control after Moyo’s header from a corner ballooned in the air and Williams was there to force the ball home from close range.
Edwards slid a header past the far post from a Murphy free-kick as Brakes looked to respond, while March was unable to steer a volley on target after English won back possession near the byeline.
Edwards’ involvement came to an end in the 82nd minute when a lunging attempted block left the Harriers captain Moyo in a heap on the touchline.
His red was followed by quickfire yellows for Joe Clarke and substitute Gift Mussa as the visitors’ frustrations threatened to spill over.
However, English summoned up his last reserves of energy to prevent a pass going out for a goal kick and Anderson was there to do the rest and earn Brakes a point which, in the circumstances, felt more like three.