HARRIERS got back to winning ways with a comfortable and professional 3-0 victory over Alfreton Town at Aggborough.
It was something of a new-look Harriers side that took the field, with top scorer Arthur Gnahoua missing and the likes of new signing Dan Nti and Sam Austin handed starts.
Harriers are accustomed to being on top in home matches and they made a bright start to this one, forcing Fabian Spiess into a brace of neat saves within the first quarter-hour.
First, his strong pair of palms parried away a stinging drive from Liam Truslove as Austin nodded the ball down to him to cue a half volley.
Then, moments later, Nti was neatly threaded through inside the area and only quick reactions from Spiess kept out his low shot.
The impressive shot-stopper was powerless to prevent Harriers from taking the lead on 19 minutes - Alfreton will have fumed at the concession of a penalty as Smith sat on the ball for far too long inside the area before fouling Tunnicliffe after the defender took it from him. Up stepped James McQuilkin to power the penalty home.
John Eustace’s men have made an impression from set plays this season and, before the half hour, another routine doubled their advantage on this day as a ball, swept on to the penalty spot from a corner, was duly dispatched by the onrushing Truslove.
Just three minutes later it was 3-0; Harriers gliding forward as Ezewele was set on his way, the full-back providing an expert cross to the feet of Waite inside the area who carefully guided a shot beyond Spiess and into the bottom corner.
The third goal did little to stem Harriers’ enthusiasm for creating chances; three minutes later Ziane Francis-Angol forced another good side from Spiess while Truslove almost bagged a second only for covering defender Wilson to shin the ball on to his own bar.
Sam Austin went close with a pair of efforts before the break, the former drawing yet another save from the goalkeeper as a looping, curling drive made its way to goal, a later chance firing over.
After the restart, Craig Westcarr’s tame shot forced Hornby into a save to register the visitors’ first shot of the day before, up at the other end, Spiess needed to punch strongly through the ball to stop Waite converting an Nti cross.
While Alfreton never really managed to frighten Harriers from a footballing perspective but by increasing their physicality they certainly managed to halt the flow of chance after chance – Tunnicliffe, Austin and Croasdale all needing treatment on the field as the half progressed.
Harriers did their bit to freshen things up by introducing Knights and Brown in quick order; it was the latter who got Spiess back to work on 78 minutes as he raced away on the counter before shooting – the goalkeeper getting a hand to it to divert it.
Into injury time, Brown again found Spiess equal to another strong shot, a low effort turned away with one of the last kicks of the match.