Harriers 1, Harrogate Town 0

SUBSTITUTE Andre Brown struck late to hand Harriers a hard-fought victory over Harrogate Town.

The home side struggled for large spells against their well-drilled visitors and it looked like the clash was heading for a goalless stalemate until Brown pounced in the 87th minute.

He raced onto a Joe Ironside header before lobbing the ball over the keeper to secure what could prove a vital success in the promotion race.

Harriers were quickly out of the blocks as Ngwatala fired over from distance in just the second minute. But the clash soon hit a lull as the hosts uncharacteristically surrendered possession on a number of occasions when they tried to build from the back.

The best chance fell to Harrogate on 10 minutes when Ngwatala, dropping deep to collect the ball from keeper Hornby, misplaced a pass inside and gifted a big opportunity to striker Simon Ainge. He only had Hornby to beat but blazed well over the bar.

That was a massive let off for the hosts but still they couldn't punish Town for the miss.

Home debutant Ironside continued to feed off scraps up front and Reds didn't manager to register a shot on target until the 42nd minute when Ryan Croasdale hit a weak effort into the arms of keeper Peter Crook.

Harriers needed a reaction in the second half but still they toiled.

If anything it was Harrogate that had more joy as the clash wore on.

Sub Jack Emmett saw an effort gathered by Hornby just past the hour mark after Keith Lowe had initially blocked well from Ainge.

Defender Danny Ellis headed wide on the stretch from a 75th minute corner as they continued to look an opener.

In contrast, Reds couldn't work an effort on target as their visitors continued to close down the space well and frustrate John Eustace's men.

But the boss threw on Brown with just over 15 left on the clock and he stepped up to win it three minutes from time.

This time the hosts took the direct route as Hornby launched a free kick forward from deep.

Ironside rose to win it well and head on to his on-rushing strike partner. Brown got to the bouncing ball and managed to loop an effort beyond keeper Crook to joy of the Aggborough faithful.

The 13th successive home win, a post-war record for the club, also saw Harriers cut the gap to leaders AFC Fylde after they slipped up at Nuneaton.

Harriers: Hornby, Hodgkiss, Ezewele, Croasdale, Lowe (c), Tunnicliffe, Nti (Brown 72), McQuilkin, Ironside, Ngwatala (Truslove 62), Waite (Austin 45).

Unused Subs: Williams, Knights.

Harrogate: Crook, Turner (Emmett 45), Parker, Platt, Ellis (c), Burrell, Colbeck, Agnew, Ainge, Pittman (Day 77), Leesley.

Unused Subs: King, Porritt, Elliott.

Att: 2,012 (45)