Ironside 4; McQuilkin 20; Bradley 59
- Harriers win three straight against promotion rivals
- Win ends Stockport's six-match winning streak
- Ironside and McQuilkin strike in the first half
- Bradley peach makes it 3-1 after Ball had levelled
HARRIERS were victorious against Stockport County on Tuesday night thanks to an impressive 3-1 victory.
The reds were ahead through Joe Ironside early on before County swiftly hit back - James McQuilkin's goal sending the hosts through in front at the end of a breathless first half.
Back in the team, Dan Bradley made it three for Harriers, who held on to see out a deserved win.
The reds had the ball in the net and took the lead with just four on the clock; Ironside striding across the edge of the area before driving low past Hinchcliffe, but there was an immediate response from County. After a mighty scramble saw Pearson clear off the line, the Hatters charged forward again moments later when Ball and Turner exchanged passes before the former fired past Hall at the near-post.
On 20 minutes Harriers made it 2-1, nudging themselves back in front as Bradley's superb pass was latched on to by McQuilkin who drew out the goalkeeper before rolling the ball beyond him and into the bottom corner.
The game was played at a relentless pace, and Harriers could have extended their lead eight minutes before the break when Bradley forced a strong parry from Hinchcliffe.
The hosts were called upon to do some stellar defending - O'Connor at the heart of much of it - but kept the visitors confidently at bay as the second half opened up.
Five before the hour, Croasdale poked the ball beyond Hinchcliffe after a poor pass only for the ball to roll on to the post, before Stockport went close at the other end when Stott struck wide.
The decisive goal came on 59 minutes; midway into his own half, Bradley chested down a pass and strode virtually the length of the pitch before finishing into the back of the net, sub Sonupé almost making it four soon after replacing him with an effort that flashed wide.
Harriers had to mop up plenty of pressure as County looked for a way back into the contest but Brandon Hall's goal never really came under serious threat - the closest the visitors came to a second goal came on 72 minutes when a Wharburton header landed inches past the upright.
The reds put bodies on the line where necessary to see out the win and gain another important three points.
JOHN Eustace wants Aggborough to be buzzing for the visit of Stockport County in National League North on Tuesday night.
It’s a meeting with the division’s form side for Harriers, with the Hatters having won six matches in succession.
While Harriers were winning away at Blyth Spartans this past weekend, County were also successful on the road as they triumphed 3-1 at North Ferriby United.
It sets things up nicely for a tasty-looking encounter between fourth-place Harriers and Stockport, currently sitting in fifth.
And with the Hatters undoubtedly coming to town with a good level of support, the gaffer has called upon the Harriers faithful to respond.
Previewing the game for the official website, Eustace praised the energy within his squad; something he wants replicated across the ground for Tuesday’s encounter.
He said: “It’s going to be a really tough game – they have a fantastic manager there, a good group of players and good support.
“So we really need Aggborough to be rocking on Tuesday night and to get the fans right behind the boys; we’ll put a shift in and hopefully will be competitive.
"...we’ve just come off a three-game losing run and the response has been great." John Eustace
“Every game is tough, and we have ups and downs throughout the season – we’ve just come off a three-game losing run and the response has been great.
“We just take each game as it comes, and these lads are all young and excited; they just want to work for each other, the team, the club and the fans.”
Harriers welcomed back Jimmy O’Connor from injury at Blyth Spartans, but will again be without the suspended Lee Vaughan against Stockport.
The reds were dealt a further blow with the loss of Dan Bradley to injury going into the weekend’s game, and the influential former Alfreton man remains a big doubt for Tuesday night.
Joel Taylor (illness) also continues to struggle.
Kick-off at Aggborough on Tuesday night is at 7:45pm.
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