HARRIERS go into the play-offs with a spring in their step after a 3-1 home win against a talented Bradford Park Avenue side at Aggborough on Saturday.
Harriers knew that a win would confirm them as runners-up for the division this season as well as giving them home advantage in any possible play-off final.
So if their wish was to start well, they managed it – just two minutes on the clock when some neat interplay saw Ty Williams through to shoot – Ed Hall doing well to block his attempt.
Half chances then followed for Zaine Francis-Angol and Ty Waite, before Sam Hornby was extended up at the other end by a fine header from Chris Sharp which he managed to turn away.
With 21 on the clock Harriers took the lead as top scorer Joe Inronside strode coolly on to a strong Williams delivery with a firm header that sailed past Hall and into his net.
Two minutes later, home reactions had to be sharp and they were as Bradford pushed forward on a quick counter; a cross sweeping across the face of goal where, if it hadn’t been for the timely intervention of Ryan Croasdale’s boot, Sinclair would have tapped home.
Avenue did a good job of stifling the home side’s forward momentum from there but oddly abandoned any attempt to defend when Harriers doubled their lead with four before the break – Tunnicliffe’s fine header from a great Knights delivery coming totally unchallenged.
With a little momentum behind Harriers it took a fine Hall save to stop two becoming three in the dying stages of the half – he denied Arthur Gnahoua when it looked like his angled, low drive was heading towards the bottom corner.
There was early action after the break as both ends caught sight of a chance, Jamie Spencer clipping the foot of Hornby’s post before Joe Ironside turned inside the area and drilled a shot low and hard that Hall was able to watch just wide.
Eleven minutes into the period, Avenue won their first corner after Hornby saved well from Danny Boshell, doing similar from a close-range effort from Johnson soon after after he’d been threaded through inside the area.
They would pull a goal back six post the hour, Nicky Wroe confidently dispatching from the spot after Johnson had been fouled in the area.
Playing good stuff throughout, Avenue continued to impress with a style that never looked present in the first half and they went within inches of an equaliser with 20 left to play when, with the ball at his feet, Spencer saw a shot blocked at close range on to the post.
Harriers had to soak up some serious pressure and, having done that, they expertly counter-attacked with a dozen minutes left to re-establish a two-goal lead; sub pairing Truslove and Sonupe combining well for the former to flick a head at a cross from the latter to find the back of the net.
Avenue rallied to try and pull another goal back at the game’s end, but Harriers stood firm to secure another three points.