Report - Matt Wall
Stats - Provided and generated by the Press Association
Harriers comfortably saw off the challenge of an ill-disciplined Newport County on Monday to record a 3-1 win and rise to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier...
It was a bright opening to the game played in bright conditions and within a couple of minutes both goalkeepers had been called into action and been made to make some important blocks; Ismail Yakubu getting close to Daniel Lewis at one end before the recalled Steve Guinan tested Newport's Glyn Thompson with a shot inside the area.
Some six minutes later it was another of the players back in the starting eleven who was making an early impression; Dave Hankin released on the flank and charging toward the touchline before whipping a neat ball beyond his man and the defence on to he head of Guinan who guided an effort off target.
It was all-action in these early stages and just a couple of moments later there was an excellent opportunity for the hosts to break the deadlock; a free-kick from the impressive Danny Rose finding Gary Warren inside the area whose header looked destined for the back of the net only for Lewis to get down well to it and throw his body over the ball.
Just after it was Rose with another delivery from deep - this time his free-kick was direct and headings straight towards goal; on its way towards the far corner it was again Lewis keeping Newport at bay with an excellent save.
A fairly mild game up until around the 26 minute mark was given a spark when flashpoints involving Vaughan and Yakubu saw both yellow carded; ten minutes later things going horribly wrong for the home side as skipper Warren was given his marching orders, sent off for a late lunge on Guinan as the Harriers hit-man looked to break through on goal.
On the stroke of half time there was a brace of half chances for the visitors as they looked to press their numerical advantage; first Kyle Storer with a driven free-kick that was palmed away excellently from the target by Thompson, the goalkeeper then holding Jack Byrne's shot as the midfielder struck an effort about a minute later.
It was a perfect start to the second half for Harriers as within four minutes they got themselves ahead; it all came from Vaughan's simple throw down to Guinan - he turned his man with ease at the byline and lofted a a perfectly weighted ball into the six-yard box and on to the head of the onrushing Byrne who powered the ball past Thompson and into the net.
It was short-lived joy, however; Harriers caught cold and perhaps still mid-celebration; losing the ball in midfield they were made to pay as Rose combined with Craig McAllister to set-up former Harrier Sam Foley who raced away on goal before firing the ball under Lewis on the angle to level the scores within 90 seconds.
Five after the hour, though, Harriers again found themselves in front with a moment of real confusion - the one certainty about the whole affair was the delivery; a fantastic corner from substitute Callum Gittings was whipped towards the near-post and was forced home unwittingly by Yakubu for an own goal - the Newport man's wholly horrible afternoon being completed just five minutes later when he was sent off for a second bookable offence, County down to nine for the second game in succession.
You sensed from that point that Harriers were just a set of cool heads away from getting themselves the full three points - with just ten minutes to go they managed to wrap up the game; this time it was an assist from Hankin - just reward for his strong performance as he crossed into the area where defender Luke Jones was there waiting to meet it with a strong back header that found its way into the back of the net off the upright.
Dazzling play by Gittings set-up Kyle Storer deep in injury time as Harriers went on the hunt for more goals, the midfielder's rasping drive tipped over the bar at the last by Thompson.