Harriers picked up a thoroughly deserved opening day win in the Skrill Premier as they beat Gateshead 3-1 at Aggborough on Saturday.
Harriers began well and it was before the quarter hour mark that they took the lead with their first corner of the campaign; Kyle Storer whipping in the delivery where deadly Michael Gash did the rest with a superb header past ex-Harrier Adam Bartlett in goal.
and Callum Gittings
both had chances soon after; Malbon then finding the side netting with a strike near the half-hour mark after some superb build-up play from Steve Burr's men, Gash then keeping Bartlett at full stretch with another swirling effort.
The home side were by far the better of the two on show in the first period but in only having one goal to show for it they were always going to be leaving themselves venerable and, on 42 minutes the Heed equalised; getting in behind Harriers for the first time in the afternoon, Richard Brodie tapping into an empty net with a loose ball as Danny Lewis
had done well to parry an initial effort.
It was the visitors who started the strongest after the break and should surely have netted again, if not through Adam Boyes then through Ben Clark but some tremendous defending at the last and some awareness from keeper Lewis kept them at bay.
lashed a firm, angled drive wide of the angle of bar and post on 52 minutes but the same man did have his team in front around the hour mark; set-up superbly by Storer who skipped past two challenges before teeing up the midfielder who met it with the ideal finish into the bottom corner.
Gateshead remained a constant threat in the Harriers penalty area but the home defending was solid and organised, another goal almost coming back at the other end as Lee Vaughan
's looping cross clipped the inside of the post before bouncing away.
Late on there was a chance for Gash to net his second from 12 yards as Harriers were awarded a penalty after Joe Tait handled a cross but the former Cambridge man saw his effort slam off the underside of the bar and away.
The third goal would come for Harriers with around ten minutes to go, though, and it was the influential Gittings with the assist as he lifted a ball to the far post that was met by Chey Dunkley
, returned with interest back over Bartlett.