Harriers 1, Barnet 0

MICHAEL Gash returned from his month long injury absence to bag the winner and settle a battle of the play-off chasers at Aggborough.

Harriers returned to action after a month out win a hamstring injury but his 60th minute strike settled a game where there was little to choose between the teams.

Barnet were reduced to ten men late on when keeper Graham Stack was shown a straight red card for a foul on substitute Marvin Johnson.

Harriers made one change from the side which defeated Macclesfield on Tuesday.

With winger Adrian Cieslewicz still injured, top-scorer Gash was welcomed back into the side.

Barnet's slick looking midfield dominated the first half.

Kidderminster carved out their first chance in the 13th minute when right back Lee Vaughan swapped passes with Gash but tamely shot at keeper Graham Stack.

Gash was looking the most likely to create a chance and in the 21st minute he sprayed a well-timed pass out to the left, only for Mickey Demetriou to volley over the bar.

Barnet were seeing more of the ball bit crating very little in terms of goal-scoring opportunities.

But they came close to breaking the deadlock in the 33rd minute after a foul by Danny Jackman.  Kieron Cadogan's free-kick best the wall a dipped dangerously but keeper Danny Lewis was on hand to tip it away.

Bees striker Jon Nurse then fired in a fine shot which hots defender Josh Gowling.

Striker Anthony Malbon nearly bagged a goal on the stroke of half-time. The hitman skilfully escaped the attentions of his markers on the region and powered towards goal, only to fire over the bar.

Cadogan was presented with a gilt edged chance in the first minute of the second half.  Good work by Marciano Mengerink and Nurse presented the wideman with a close range effort but Vaughan bravely blocked it on the line.

Manager Whild took off O'Keefe and replaced him with Jack Byrne in a bid to pep Harriers' midfield.

The attack-minded Vaughan created a chance in the 56th minute with a dangerous low cross but Demetriou hammered an effort over the bar.

But Gash broke the deadlock on the hour mark. Danny Jackman made a good run with midfield and found Callum Gittings.

The midfielder slipped the ball to the striker who lofted a shot over keeper Graham Stack.

The away side nearly conjured up an immediate reply when Harriers shot-stopper did not come for a dangerous low cross from Mauro Vilhete, luckily for the hosts a sliding Mengerink could not make contact.

A tiring Gash was replaced by Nick Wright, who is enjoying his second spell with Kidderminster.

But as Barnet pushed in search for a leveller, defender Josh Gowling came to the fore.

The defender had made vital interceptions throughout but he excelled himself in the 76th minute when he put his body on the line to deny Cadogan's snapshot and then the attacker's follow-up.

The away side were reduced to the men in the 82nd minute.  Johnson had chased down a long ball and got the better of Stack in the air and the keeper cynically caught the wideman in the face.

Nurse was sacrificed for Barnet as back-up keeper Nick Jupp was brought on.

There was a tense end to the game after the fourth official indicated six minutes of time added on.

Barnet desperately pushed for a goal to rescue a point but when Lewis tipped over Harry Crawford's last minute header.

Harriers: Lewis, L Vaughan, Demetriou, Malbon, Grimes, Jackman, Morgan-Smith, O'Keefe (Byrne, 54), Gash (Wright 70), Gowling.

Subs not used: N Vaughan,  Johnson, Bell.

Barnet: Stack, Yiadom, Weston, Crawford, Abdulla (Marsh-Brown, 75), Cadogan (Gamblin, 78), Mengerink, Vilhete, Nurse (Jupp, 83), Stephens, Gjokak. Subs not used: Johnson, Warren.

Referee: Paul Rees (Somerset) Attendance: 1950 (158)