Harriers 3, Macclesfield 1

IMPRESSIVE Harriers blew play-off chasing Macclesfield away in a stunning first half display to boost their own hopes of escaping relegation.

Three goals in 23 minutes for Keith Lowe, Harry White and Arthur Gnahoua ensured Kidderminster made it three league wins in a row for the first time since December 2014.

But more importantly, it cut the gap to safety to just seven points as Harriers continue to pull off a surprising improvement in form.

Harriers were forced to make one change from the team which had defeated Eastleigh 3-2 in midweek.

With Elton Ngwatala set to be out for six weeks with a knee problem, Tyrone Williams was drafted into provide solidity in midfield, while Luke Maxwell was pushed forward.

Macclesfield made a surprise selection as former Kiddy striker Reece Styche was picked ahead of 21 goal top-scorer Kristian Dennis.

The away side made a good start as they won a corner in the first minute but White cleared Neil Byrne's header off the line.

But the hosts opened the scoring in slightly fortunate circumstances in the 10th minute.

Ben Whitfield's corner bobbled across the box and hit Lowe, who was stationed at the far post, and rolled over the line.

Kidderminster made it 2-0 six minutes later when Maxwell and Whitfield combined to release White.

The on-loan Barnsley man took his effort early and it hit the legs of keeper Shawn Jalal and rolled over the line.

Harriers made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with a brilliant sweeping move.

Maxwell swept the ball to Whitfield on the right and he cut into the box and teed up Gnahoua, who shot home from 12-yards.

Such was the shock that Macclesfield made two changes, taking off the out of sorts Styche and Rhys Turner for Dennis and Danny Rowe.

The away side tried to get back into the game and Danny Whitaker tested keeper Dean Snedker with an effort.

Dennis had Macclesfield's best chance near the end of the first half when he drilled a dangerous ball across the box but luckily for Harriers, there was no one on the other end to finish.

Macclesfield started the second half strongly and dominated possession as they looked for a lifeline back into the game.

Jack Sampson spun on the edge of the box and directed a shot wide in the 56th minute.

To Kidderminster's credit, they defended resolutely to restrict the visitors and deny them the chance to creat scoring opportunities.

Rookie Evan Garnett replaced White in the 65th minute and he produced a hard working performance to keep Macclesfield's defence on their toes.

Ousmane Fane was imposing in midfield with a series of strong runs that left the Macclesfield midfield struggling in his wake.

Harriers threw on fresh legs in the 78th minute when Omari Patrick came on.

The fleet-footed forward made a lung-busting run towards goal and it needed a fine challenge from Andy Halls to stop him in the 80th minute.

But there was a nervous end to the game when Macclesfield pulled a goal back in the 90th minute.

Kelvin Langmead pushed Dennis in the back and Macclesfield hitman curled a fine free-kick into the top left corner.

But Harriers held on for a win that stokes hopes of an incredible escape from the bottom four.

Harriers: Snedker, Hodgkiss, Langmead, Lowe, Francis-Angol, Maxwell, Fane, Williams, Gnahoua (Jones, 82), White (Garnett, 65), Whitfield (Patrick, 78).

Subs not used: McQuilkin, Brown.

Macclesfield: Jala, Halls, Byrne, Pilkington, Turnbull, Sampson, Fitzpatrick Whitaker, Styche (Rowe, 26), (Cowan, 84), Sutherland, Turner (Dennis, 26).

Subs not used: Branagan, Diagne.

Referee: Steven Rushton (Staffs).

Attendance: 1693 (81))