Harriers progressed into the Second Round of the FA Trophy with a comfortable and professional performance away at Bradford Park Avenue.
Danny Frost scored late on for the hosts, but they were no match for their hard-working and skilful opponents who put in a strong display on an extremely difficult surface.
Gary Whild’s men will now face Altrincham at home in the next round, to be played on January 10th.
Harriers named only four substitutes as Jack Byrne and Aman Verma were forced to sit out through injury and illness respectively, with Jake Green and Reece Styche called in to replace them.
Meanwhile, Kennedy Digie, who featured for the Academy in their FA Youth Cup game against Blackpool last week, was included in the squad as a substitute and made his first-team debut late on.
The 18-year-old had already performed his initiation song over 48 hours earlier, having travelled with the squad as Harriers arrived in Bradford to find the pitch frozen and unplayable on Saturday afternoon.
Thankfully, tonight’s replay was given the green light earlier on in the day as the team made their second trip up north to battle out their FA Trophy tie.
Johnson gave his side the lead after just eight minutes, notching his sixth goal of the season in typical style.
A bursting run down the middle after receiving possession was finished by side-stepping goalkeeper John Danby and firing into the roof of the net.
The attack was initiated by Styche, who charged down an attempted clearance by a green shirt to win possession and send Johnson on his way to his left, as referee Ian Hussin waved away Avenue’s protests of handball.
Gowling added to Harriers’ tally only 10 minutes later, timing his run to perfection as he rose to nod home Reid’s corner.
Still not quite comfortable, it was Gittings who really secured Harriers’ victory after 57 minutes, pulling the trigger to fire a curving strike into the top right-hand corner following good build-up play by Reid and Styche.
And, to round off his side’s triumph, provider Reid turned goalscorer on the 69th minute, dispatching a smart low shot into the bottom corner after Kyle Storer had spotted his team-mate in plenty of space to his left.
Whild won’t have been pleased to see his side fail to keep a clean sheet, however, as Frost pulled one back for Avenue, latching onto the end of a free-kick to guide the ball home from close range.
It was a mere consolation for the hosts however, who had initially put up a fight in the first half and came close through Chib Chilaka and Lamin Colley with close-range efforts.
Gittings had the opportunity to quell any hopes of a comeback even earlier on the half-hour mark after he put Styche’s low left-sided cross wide, a chance which on first glance appeared easier to score in plenty of space at the far post.
However, the midfielder more than made amends with a bright performance and a goal to boot.
Jamie Grimes and Jake Green had further opportunities for Harriers, the former hooking the ball over the bar after Danby spilled a corner and the latter shooting low to force the Avenue defence into a swift block.
The second half saw Harriers control proceedings, presenting Whild with the opportunity to give Digie his debut from the bench in place of Storer with 20 minutes left.
The likes of Johnson, Styche and Reid looked dangerous throughout and the scoreline could well have been higher in Harriers’ favour, but it was a case of job well done for Whild and his side who progressed into the next round of the Trophy.