Report by Matt Wall - stats provided by the Press Association. Pic: Stefan Rapacz.
Harriers eased to a comfortable victory in Steve Burr's first home game in charge of the club on Tuesday night as they put four goals past struggling Grays Athletic at Aggborough Stadium.
The game started off with Grays determined to pack the midfield and keep an energetic Harriers side at bay - the best the hosts had to show for their opening ten minutes was a blocked shot from Damian Spencer and a wayward curling effort from Duane Courtney that Richard Martin was able to watch over his bar.
The Sky Blue back-line was proving a tough nut to crack for Harriers but they worked out a first meaningful chance of the night with 20 minutes on a clock - a fine ball from midfield seemed to baffle the Essex outfit as Brian Smikle pounced on it, raced down on goal and forced a neat save from the legs of Martin.
Five minutes later, however, there was nothing the shot-stopper could do as the home side finally picked the lock - after Chris McPhee's fine work out-wide had kept the ball in, play was re-cycled to Courtney who in turn fed Brian Smikle in the area who wrapped his boot beautifully around it, his shot pinging in off the upright.
Before the visitors really had chance to catch their breath, it was 2-0 as Harriers turned the screw; Smikle turned provider by feeding the ball to Spencer who controlled well with his chest before turning superbly and firing home with style.
Just when the three home sides of Aggborough started to relax, the goals continued to come and nine minutes from tine it was one for the travellers. It was perhaps no surprise it came from the penalty spot given their attacking input up to that point, but Jamie Guy made no mistake from the spot after Martin Riley was penalised, somewhat oddly, for handball - despite the ball hitting him in full flight and on the very edge of the box.
Grays began the second period with a little more enthusiasm but within five minutes of the re-start the pace and movement returned to the home side's play and with it came a third goal - fine work on the edge of the area from Smikle saw John Finnigan played in on the angle; the assistant gaffer fired past Martin for his second strike in consecutive games, much to his delight and indeed those behind the goal.
2 IN 2 FOR FINNERS: Celebration Time!
Two minutes shy of the hour mark Smikle should have had a second and Harriers a fourth; the winger completely out-foxed the home defence with the magical footwork and his effort with the outside of his boot looked to be heading in only for it to curl just wide of the upright.
Two minutes later, however, it was indeed 4-1 - the unplayable Smikle was again causing problems. He'd beaten Grays all ends up, so much so that Gavin Hoyte had no choice but to haul him down in the area. This time there was no doubt as the referee pointed to the spot - it was the job of McPhee to ram home an emphatic kick past Martin's helpless palm.
The visitors to their credit continued to press despite the heavy deficit, on 68 minutes Harlee Dean found himself one on one with home debutant goalkeeper Jasbir Singh, a chipped effort bouncing off the upright and away.
Ten minutes later Sigh was down early to save superbly from the tireless Guy, whilst on 82 minutes it was Smikle again in amongst it as he rounded Martin, but the former WBA man could only square an effort just wide of the post.