Harriers Take Big Step Towards Play-Offs: Harriers 3-1 Stockport County
Harriers moved four points clear of their opponents and ten clear eighth place with an impressive victory at Aggborough.
Dan Bradley returned to the side after missing the weekend trip to Blyth with injury but it was leading scorer Joe Ironside who got Harriers off to a flying start in a frantic opening to the game. With the football being played at breakneck speed there were just three minutes on the clock when Ryan Croasdale and James McQuilkin combined on the right to set up Ironside who fired a shot from just outside the penalty area past Ben Hinchcliffe in the County goal with the help of a deflection for his 21st of the season.
There was a mad scramble in the Harriers goalmouth shortly afterwards; McQuilkin blocked Jason Oswell and then after Rhys Turner's shot had been parried by Brandon Hall James Pearson hooked the ball off the goal-line. The lead lasted only five minutes; Jimmy Ball sent through the inside-left channel before firing a shot through the hands of Hall that the keeper will have been unhappy not to have kept out.
Harriers restored their advantage in the 20th minute; building from the back with an extensive passing move that ended with Bradley splitting the visiting defence wide open for McQuilkin to chase into the penalty area before sliding his shot past Hinchcliffe and inside the far post.
Hinchcliffe pulled off a good save to deny Bradley late in the half; the Harriers man's curling shot from the left looked destined for the top corner before the keeper got across to push it away for a corner.
Early in the second half Harriers could have gone further ahead when Hinchcliffe's attempted clearance hit a defender and landed at the feet of Croasdale. The skipper's slipped the ball through the keeper's legs but it had little power on it and came back off the post and Hinchcliffe was able to recover.
Just ahead of the hour mark Harriers did grab their third goal; Declan Weeks won the ball in midfield and fed Bradley who advanced on goal through the inside-right channel. With passing options on either side he opted to go for goal and fired past Hinchcliffe from the edge of the box to record his seventh goal of the season, all scored in his last six appearances.
Late on Harriers could have had a fourth goal; another extensive passing move saw Harriers switch the ball from the left flank to the right and back again before substitutes Manny Sonupé and George Waring playing a one-two to get the former into the penalty area but his shot hit the outside of the post and bounced away to safety.