Harriers kept up their end of the bargain in the play-off race as they beat Cambridge United 3-2 at Aggborough on Saturday in an afternoon of more comfort than the score line would suggest.
It was the U’s that were the quickest to get going in awful conditions and within a minute they might have taken the lead as Michael Gash got things going by winning a header well – the ball drilled across the area to Luke Berry who shot only to be denied by a good stop from a quick-thinking Danny Lewis
Harriers’ first chance came just shy of the 20 minute mark when Lee Vaughan
struck wide, Rossi Jarvis doing likewise up at the other end as the U’s looked for a way to break the deadlock.
The first goal of the afternoon did arrive with about 25 minutes played; Kyle Storer and Anthony Malbon
did well to open up the United defence, the ball eventually knocked back to Malbon who dropped the ball into the box where Chey Dunkley
burst in from close range to crash the ball home.
Debutant Amari-Morgan smith fired over on his Harriers debut soon after but on 35 minutes the U’s went close to an equaliser on 35 minutes as Harrison Dunk took aim on the angle that just fizzed wide of the far post.
Some superb build-up play with four minutes left of the half saw the hosts’ lead doubled; a delightful move capped with Storer’s deft pass to play in Marvin Johnson
who did the business with a firm finish across Craig Ross and into the bottom corner.
The route back into the game was barely a minute in coming for United; however. Gash was superb again in the air and he managed to win the ball, playing it across the face of goal where an unwitting Josh Gowling
turned the ball past Lewis and into his own net, on the stretch and desperate to make a clearance.
Harriers started the second half in thoroughly dominant style and they got their reward just five minutes after that restart as they stretched their lead again – this time the assist coming from Mickey Demetriou
as is powerful header played in Malbon – one on one and without a goal in 16 matches, the striker looked the coolest man in the ground as he slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Substitute Danny Pilkington
almost made it four for Harriers four minutes after the hour mark; he was played in by Morgan-Smith and made a driving run through the United midfield and defence before lining up an effort and shooting towards the bottom corner, turned around the post by Ross.
fired over with a deflected effort soon after, and there was warm applause from all around the ground as Morgan-Smith made way for another debutant in Nat Jarvis.
Though it was an afternoon largely of comfort for Harriers there was a tense finale set up when, in the final minute of normal time, Harrison Dunk crossed into the home area where it was met by a top-quality header from Gash who planted it beyond Lewis to make it 3-2.