HARRIERS produced a superb performance to come from behind and edge past a dogged Darlington outfit and pick up a 2-1 win at Aggborough.
While it took just one goal to settle it, the return fixture against this opposition provided one of the games of the season for Harriers as they picked up a great win.
So it was no surprise that this was a great game from the off; Darlington flew out of the traps and almost netted with barely five on the clock when Terry Galbraith met a cross into the area, Keith Lowe getting back to hook the ball off the line.
The bright, early start got its rewards, though, and with seven on the clock they struck first blood; Beck supplying Gillies who drilled in a grounded cross into the area where Dave Syers was on hand to put the ball past Sam Hornby.
To be fair, the response from the hosts was good – ideal in fact. Within 60 seconds they were level with their first attack of the game as Ngwatala’s fine pass supplied McQuilkin – he finished past Jameson but saw his shot come back off the post, albeit straight to the foot of Waite who duly put it where it was needed!
The game then degenerated a little from its early sizzle and pitted the two teams exclusively in the middle of the park for a prolonged spell as they traded time on the ball without seriously managing to great opportunities.
Past the half-half mark, that eased a little and chances started to flow a little more; Arthur Gnahoua started to set his sights as he took aim with two efforts before the break – sending one header just wide and arrowing another shot over the bar.
Ngwatala’s distance drive also went close, with the visitors almost latching on to a long-range ball through the middle of the park with their last chance of the half – Beck lifting the ball over Hornby but, thankfully, also high of his target.
The furious start to the first half was far from repeated after the break as a familiar kind of battle ensued again.
Close to the hour, James McQuilkin lined up a dangerously-placed free-kick but saw his drive well charged down; the visitors sitting all ten men back to frustrate and thwart their hosts.
The Quakers were dogged and determined in their defending and so it was no surprise that one of their very few second half chances came from a set play – a free-kick into the area finding the head of skipper Burgess who put over the bar.
To their credit Harriers kept on going and never got too frustrated and, with a dozen minutes left to play, they made a breakthrough as a splendid free-kick delivery from McQuilkin was met by the head of Keith Lowe, whose superb downward effort found the net.
Then, in a flash, there was a great chance for 2-1 to become 3-1 as Harriers were awarded a penalty after sub Dieseruvwe was needlessly felled in the area. Ngwatala stepped up from 12 yards and saw his effort, directed towards the bottom corner, smothered by Jameson.
That finally tempted Darlington out a little and for the final ten minutes they made a game of it – Beck going close with a header directed just wide and, soon after, Hornby doing terrifically to get a pair of palms to a drive through a crowd of bodies.