Harriers capped arguably their finest display of the season with two late goals as they downed AFC Telford 2-0 at the New Bucks Head to continue their fine run on Saturday.
The weather was chilly in Telford but the atmosphere was warm on both the pitch and in the stands to start; Chey Dunkley having the first chance of the day for Harriers as he headed over Kyle Storer’s corner delivery.
It was the opening to a strong early onslaught from the visitors and they had further chances in the following moments, Nathan Blissett and Marvin Johnson both drawing strong saves from home stopper Ryan Young, the latter in particular very impressive as the winger struck it first-time with a rising effort.
Young had more than proved his worth to the Bucks in previous games but early on here he was making sure that everyone knew he was every bit the top-drawer goalkeeper; flying to meet a superb Callum Gittings shot on 14 minutes to claw it out of the air on its way to the top corner to send it over the bar.
A few minutes later Blissett went close again as the visitors’ domination continued, he struck over the bar from close range after great work by both Marvin Johnson and Anthony Malbon – the only concern coming as Harriers had failed to net from a series of such clear-cut chances.
With that being the case you always knew that Telford would grow in confidence and get themselves into the game and they duly did so – on 28 minutes they hit the woodwork as Kieron St Aimie aimed a header at goal that looked to have caught the defence wrong-footed; Josh Gowling able to gather his senses and block the follow-up shot.
Lewis’s opposite post was hit by Jordan Rose as the half drew to a close, Telford making good use of free-kick play, though the Bucks’ man was much further away with a second chance moments later as he blazed over from distance.
Just as Harriers had dominated the early stages, so Telford took control of the first moments of the second period – Lewis doing well to turn one corner delivery over the bar before Chris Sharp fizzed another one wide.
On 53 minutes the moment came that Jamille Matt and so many others had waited for arrived as the hit-man made his competitive return to action after almost nine months, replacing fellow forward Blissett.
Three minutes later Lee Vaughan, against his former club, kept the excellent Young busy with an effort after bursting into the area that was tipped over the target as a close game again became wide open; Telford’s Phil Trainer going close on the hour as the action spilled up to the other end.
Thereafter followed one of Harriers’ best passing spells of the season as they made Telford chase shadows – a big chance coming with 70 on the clock as the ball spilled from Matt to Josh Gowling inside the area, the defender’s shot palmed away by Young with nobody on the follow-up.
The reds continued to bang down the door and the openings kept coming though the home defence appeared unbeatable – that was until the 82nd minute when the goal that the play truly deserved finally came – superb play again from all capped by Johnson to arrowed a smart finish into the bottom corner of Young’s net to wild celebrations.
You’d sensed that would set up a grandstand finish as Telford would push on hard to ensure they weren’t defeated but Harriers’ performance was thoroughly dominant and in the end when the second goal arrived it was just as deserved - Matt playing a key part as the ball was threaded through to Ryan Rowe who tucked it between Young’s legs for his seventh of the season.