A late, late goal from makeshift forward Gavin Caines handed Harriers a narrow victory in a game they dominated, downing Crawley Town 1-0 at Aggborough Stadium on Saturday.
Crawley had started the game far the brighter of the two sides and should perhaps have got themselves ahead with the first effort of the game after just a few minutes but after getting past his man, forward Calum Willock's effort wasn't strong enough to trouble Dean Coleman between the sticks.
In the 12th minute the danger was even more present as Town pressed a Harriers side who just hadn't started - Barry Cogan hitting an effort from the edge of the area that Coleman deflected on to the woodwork, the ball then cleared by a relieved defence.
At the other end the home side nearly punished them by netting against the run of play as Simon Rusk's poor back-pass was pounced on by Matthew Barnes-Homer who forced the smartest of saves from Simon Rayner at close range.
On the 20 minute mark Crawley had appeals for a penalty waved away after Willock hit the deck a little too easily - Duane Courtney forcing a save from Rayner with a rising effort from distance at the other end some four minutes later.
With 27 gone there was another half chance for the hosts - Martin Riley heading wide from a Darryl Knights corner as the game began to even itself out. Shortly after, Brian Smikle teed up Knights on the edge of the area, a decent shot going over the bar.
Harriers got their first golden chance of the day two minutes after the half hour, a determined run from Lee Baker ended in a diamond of a ball across the six yard box that had everyone beaten, from three yards out debutant Aaron Farrell was presented with a relatively empty net but his downward header bounced inches over the target.
A half which Crawley had controlled at the start was now being dominated by the men in red and white; seven minutes before the break it really should have been 1-0 Harriers - first, John Finnigan fired into the body of Rayner after he was one of three players left one-on-one with the Crawley goalkeeper - shortly after, Barnes-Homer lashed wide of the far post despite having Farrell free at his centre.The second half was even slower to get started than the first and it was fully 15 minutes old before it had its first real goalmouth action - Barnes-Homer firing across the face of goal despite having better options in front of him in the form of Knights and Farrell.
On 64 minutes Barnsey was again the man giving Crawley a headache - he almost embarrassed Rayner after nicking possession as the 'keeper looked to gather. He centred it across the face of the open goal, defender Glenn Wilson there to clear the danger for the visitors.
Crawley had the ball in the back of the net on 74 minutes but sub Ben Smith's finish past Coleman was chalked off for offside. There was a talking point at the other end just after, Smikle looked to have been took down in the area after taking the ball away from the goalkeeper but any penalty appeals were half-hearted.
Barnes-Homer knocked the ball down to Knights outside the area on 78 minutes as Harriers continued to create, but again the finish was lacking as the former Yeovil man hit wide.
Persistence from Riley and Farrell kept possession alive for Harriers eight minutes from time, the latter moved into space and lofted a ball into the box that was headed wide by Gavin Caines.
Boss Mark Yates pushed Caines up front for the final five minutes and his pass helped set up another good chance, Barnes-Homer playing in sub McDermott whose attempted shot should have done better but failed to trouble Rayner.
The Caines move may have looked a touch odd to a few but the decision proved a master-stroke as the deadlock was finally broken in the penultimate minute of normal time. A loose ball caused havoc in the Town area - cue Caines, who controlled it before slotting it past Rayner to finally break Crawley's brave resistance.
It could have been 2-0 in injury time - McDermott held it up at the by-line before slipping it to Knights, whose smart shot could barely have been closer as it drifted wide of the post.