HARRIERS closed the gap to AFC Fylde at the top of the table to three points with a big 2-1 victory at Gloucester City.

The reds struck early through Joe Ironside as he headed in his 22nd goal of the campaign, and the team could have been further ahead before Gloucester levelled with a fine strike.

Daniel Nti hit his first goal for Harriers around the hour to put the side back in front, before a fine defensive rearguard soaked up all the hosts’ pressure to seal the points.

Harriers were forced into two changes to their team following the defeat to FC Halifax after suffering a double injury blow.

Striker Arthur Gnahoua was forced out, replaced by Tyrell Waite out wide, while Elton Ngwatala’s ankle knock saw him withdrawn in favour of Darryl Knights.

On the bench there was a first appearance in the squad for Manny Sonupe, the recent loan signing from League 1 side Northampton Town.

Harriers had made far the better of the two starts and deservedly took the lead with a quarter of an hour played – by that time, they’d already forced Jas Singh into a save from Waite at the near post before McQuilkin’s corner was turned home by top scorer Ironside.

While on top, Harriers went on to concede from the hosts’ first real foray forwards, Williams crashing a finish beyond Hornby after a passing move opened up the visitors on the edge of the penalty area.

The teams then traded spells on top and both had good chances to go in to the break ahead – Harriers going close with an Ironside volley that flew wide, before Hornby got a good hand to a Joe Hanks free-kick to turn it over the bar.

Knowles was a constant threat for Gloucester but just after he headed one effort over, Nti’s goal arrived in the knick of time as he finished from close range having been smartly played in by Knights.

Keith Lowe got in a great block to keep Harriers ahead at one end before, at the other, crashing a shot off the Gloucester bar as the team went in search of more goals.

The final talking point of the game was a sour one where Gloucester were concerned – they were reduced to ten men as Jack Deaman was shown a red card for excessive chatter towards the referee.

Harriers, meanwhile, stood firm.

HARRIERS: Hornby, Hodgkiss, Francis-Angol, Lowe, Tunnicliffe, Croasdale, McQuilkin, Nti, Waite (Brown 54), Knights (Austin 76), Ironside (Williams 87).

Subs not used: Sonupe, Ezewele.

Attendance: 948 Referee: Anthony Tankard