Another excellent away performance from Harriers stretched their unbeaten run to eight
games with a fine 2-1 win over in-form Bristol Rovers.
Harriers started confidently in front of a crowd of nearly 9500, clearly not looking to settle
for a point. Manager Ian Bitton had been forced into a change when Mark Clyde reported
in sick and was replaced by Dean Bennett who came in at wing back and Craig Hinton moved
back into the centre. Bennett took his chance with both hands and gave a good hard-working
Clear-cut goalscoring chances were few in the opening half, despite the confident Harriers
start it was the home team who had the first good opportunity which fell to Giuliano
Grazioli but his snap shot was turned away well by Stuart Brock. Grazioli had
another chance that he wasted and Robert Quinn blazed a shot over the bar before the opening
goal came. A free-kick deep in the Harriers half was worked out to the right and played
forward, the ball ran into the middle of the field where JJ Melligan swept it home from the
edge of the penalty area.
Rovers almost equalised soon after, Wayne Carlisle curling a shot wide from a free kick
on the edge of the penalty area. The Harriers back line stood firm and kept Rovers
to shots from distance, Carlisle had another which didn't trouble Brock.
After the break, Harriers again started brighter but again it was the home team that came
closest to scoring, Vitalijs Astafjevs saw his shot kept out by the diving Brock. Harriers
caused the home team all sorts of problems in their approach but could not find the "killer"
final pass or shot. Drewe Broughton was denied by Scott Howie and missed another
chance before setting one up for Melligan instead of shooting and Melligan's shot was
deflected for a corner.
Against the run of play, Rovers equalised in the 74th minute, Astafjevs' corner from the
left found the head of the unmarked Paul Tait whose looping header flew past Brock and
into the far corner. The setback was only temporary, however, a sweeping move down
the field saw Broughton set Melligan free on the right, his cross tothwe far post was
headed back across goal by Sam Shilton and Bo Henriksen dived to head in from close
Henriksen almost stretched the lead shortly afterwards, a quickly taken free-kick on the
left was crossed to the near post by Shilton and the Dane got in ahead of his marker but
could only steer the ball narrowly wide of the upright. From somewhere the officials
found five minutes to add on at the end of the game but Harriers held on comfortably and sent
the 383 travelling supporters home happy.