Jared Hodgkiss’ first Harriers goal helped earn Kidderminster a scrappy victory at home to Welling United.
After Chey Dunkley
’s effort sent Harriers into half-time with a 2-0 lead, the Wings threatened a comeback after Harry Beautyman found the net, but Harriers maintained their composure to seal their first win in three and move into ninth place.
There was an unusual atmosphere surrounding Aggborough
as Harriers played host to a group of protesting Hereford United fans, who were vocal throughout, and a harmonious mood enveloped the ground.
Manager Gary Whild made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 at home to AFC Telford United on Saturday. The suspended Josh Gowling
- who picked up his fifth booking of the season at the weekend - was replaced by Jamie Grimes, while Reece Styche dropped to the bench in favour of Craig Reid.
His opposite number Jamie Day also made two alterations, after Welling too drew 1-1 at the weekend. Jake Gallagher, also suspended, and Jon Nouble were replaced by Zac Fagan and Barney Williams, while player-manager Day also named himself amongst the starting XI.
Having played all but one game so far this season, Hodgkiss added a goal to his Harriers record to give his side the lead after 13 minutes.
The right-back stepped up to fire home from the edge of the area - it was a shot which looked to have taken a deflection but the goal was undoubtedly Hodgkiss’.
Harriers added to their advantage after 37 minutes but there was confusion surrounding which player had actually guided the ball into the back of the net.
Kevin Nicholson sent a perfectly-crafted free-kick into the area, prompting Welling ‘keeper Jon Henly to spring from his line and attempt to send the ball clear with a powerful punch.
Unfortunately for him, but to the delight of the home faithful, after connecting with the ball, Henly could only deflect his effort off one of the many bodies in the box and into the back of the net.
There was confusion as to who exactly the ball had struck to double Harriers’ advantage - many have credited it to Dunkley, but various fans claim it was Wellings’ Jamal Fyfield who got the unlucky touch.
But we’re going to give it to our defender, who currently stands as the club’s leading scorer this season with four goals.
Initially Harriers looked reasonably comfortable without really having to shift into a higher gear, but Welling retaliated in the second half through Beautyman.
Eight minutes after the interval, the Wings’ leading goalscorer found space in the box and slotted home a low angled strike into the bottom right-hand corner.
Welling’s best opportunity of the first half fell to player-manager Day, who curled a delightful goal-bound strike off the very corner of the crossbar after 26 minutes.
Fyfield headed narrowly wide from a corner, while Joe Healy’s attempted shot was deflected behind by Hodgkiss.
But Harriers, on the whole, remained unthreatened throughout the first half and showed the occasional flash of great attacking play.
This was typified by Kyle Storer and Marvin Johnson
, the former picking out the latter with a high pass which enabled the winger to drive down the flank and cut in from the right.
It was a lovely move which unfortunately couldn’t be finished by a goal, as Johnson rippled the side netting with his close-range effort.
Whild’s men really required a third goal to see the game off and quell any ideas of a Welling comeback, and it was substitute Nathan Blissett
who almost did the job.
With 12 minutes to go, set-piece specialist Nicholson found Blissett with a corner but the striker’s header whistled inches wide - a glorious chance which should really have seen him bag his second goal of the season.
Blissett’s opportunity was sandwiched in between two efforts by Reid - one was a strong header which was directed straight at Henly, the other a blazed shot over the North Stand.
The game fizzled out without any further goalmouth action of note and, although it wasn't exactly pretty, Harriers saw the game out to claim an important three points.