Harriers narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to the Football League on Saturday night but duly did their bit by beating Stockport County 4-0 at Aggborough Stadium.
In front of a packed house, Harriers did all they could to settle things down nice and early, Michael Gash and Anthony Malbon
both trying to do their best to test Ian Ormson in the opening stages.
Alex Kenyton took aim with the Hatters’ first chance of the day as he drove wide from distance, Sean Newton then drilling a bullet handsomely wide of the target close to the half-hour mark.
Soon after Newton again took aim but this time he was considerably closer with a fine free-kick delivery but as it rose towards the top corner, goalkeeper Danny Lewis
did well to get a strong hand to it and tip it over the target
A big chance went the way of Harriers in a matter of moments on 38 minutes just after the reds looked to have had a stonewalled penalty appeal turned down – the ball lined up by Kyle Storer who looped one goalward, the effort thumping back off the upright.
On 41 minutes the very same woodwork was rattled but this time it was a Hatters man on the end of the effort; Marvin Johnson
’s driven cross intercepted by Jordan Fagbola who could only turn it on to his own upright.
The second half started with a flashpoint moment – inside 20 seconds indeed as the ball fell to striker Malbon inside the area; he shot more or less first time and had Ormson scrambling though the effort did fall just wide of the post.
49 minutes in and Josh Gowling
almost opened the scoring though his downward header from a free-kick was kept out well by the legs of Ormson then cleared well.
That had suitably upped the pressure enough for the home side to sneak ahead, however – the home masses lifted as Malbon latched on to a neat ball into the area before firing low into the bottom corner leaving Ormson with no chance.
There then followed an unfortunate delay of almost half an hour as a rather unsavoury spectator incident was attended to but when the players took their positions back on the pitch it was less than a minute before Harriers doubled their lead, a near carbon copy of the first but this time, rather than striking firmly across goal, Malbon drew the keeper before calmly placing the ball past him.
The ‘re-start’ had been just five minutes time by the time Harriers’ third flew in, Chey Dunkley
powering in a corner with a super header as all eyes to turned to Field Mill to see if Wrexham could do the ultimate favour of an equaliser.
Javan Vidal turned a neat effort over the bar on a rare Stockport attack with 66 minutes on the clock as the news came that Mansfield finished their job in claiming the title – Alex Kenyon’s close-range header back at Aggborough
kept out superbly by Daniel Lewis.
Rather beautifully, the news from elsewhere prompted a reaction of pride from home fans rather than despondency so it was with fine cheer that they greeted a fourth goal on 74 minutes, sub Martin Devaney finishing another corner no less than a minute after coming on from the bench.
Sam Sheridan’s trip on Devaney with seven minutes left on the clock gave Harriers a penalty that Lee Vaughan
strode up and struck well enough, Ormson meeting it with an equally smart stop for what can barely have been a consolation for visiting fans.