GARY Whild hailed Harriers' defensive lynchpin Josh Gowling after another inspirational display helped to secure an important 1-0 victory over play-off rivals Barnet yesterday.

Top-scorer Michael Gash returned from injury absence to bag a 60th minute winner.

But Gowling was named man of the match after making countless tackles and vital interceptions.

Lee Vaughan also vitally blocked Kieron Cadogan's close range effort on the line at the start of the second half.

Keeper Danny Lewis also made two vital saves, tipping over Cadogan's free-kick in the first period and Harry Crawford's last gasp header.

"We had said how well we defended against Macclesfield last week but we went one better this time," said Harriers' manager.

"It was exceptional. Josh Gowling, Jamie Grimes and all the boys in there, it was hard to single one out "That is part of the game you have to do."

Victory lifted Kidderminster just one place to eighth in the Skrill Premier but they are crucially level on points with fifth-placed Halifax, who have superior goal difference.

In fact, Halifax, Harriers, Grimsby and Barnet all have 57 points.

Whild said:"I thought in the first half we weren't quite where we needed to be.

"We said at half-time that we didn't want to wait until something happened until we improve.

"We were more like us and when we got the goal we had the likes of Nick Wright and Marvin Johnson causing the opposition problems with their pace."

Harriers' manager also felt Graham Stack's 82nd minute straight red card for catching Marvin Johnson in the face was correct.

He added: "I thought it was a blatant red without a doubt.

"Marvin got there first and the lad clattered into him.

"That was what we wanted  him to do, get himself in good positions and cause problems with his pace."

Meanwhile, top five side Alfreton have had three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player in their win at Harriers in December.

Keeper Jon Wornsop had only just signed on an emergency loan from FC United of Manchester on December 14 but had not been registered in time.

That saw Nick Law's Derbyshire see slip one place to third.