Harriers 2, Brackley Town 1

HARRIERS quickly returned to winning ways with victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Brackley Town at Aggborough.

Dan Bradley netted the winner two minutes from time as the hosts came from behind late on.

Town struck first in the 82nd minute through captain Gareth Dean but two goals in five minutes, the first from defender Fraser Horsfall, sealed a vital success.

The victory saw Harriers hit back following Friday's late loss at Boston and move seven points ahead of eight-placed Blyth as they took another step to securing a National League North play-off place.

The Reds made one change as Elton Ngwatala replaced Mani Sonupe in the starting line-up following Friday's late defeat at Boston.

It was the Frenchman that worked Harriers' first effort on target when he fired low into the arms of keeper Dan Lewis from the edge of the box after just three minutes.

The hosts were quick to get their passing game going as Ngwatala found space early on to dictate matters.

Brackley answered with a host of corners that had to be well defended by the home rearguard, particularly one goalmouth scramble just after the 10 minute mark.

Harriers' bright start had quickly petered out as Brackley battled.

The cagey contest nearly saw a spectacular Kidderminster opener on 25 minutes when Bradley's 30 yard rocket rattled the post.

Ryan Croasdale won the ball in midfield before playing it to Bradley. He burst forward and unleashed a powerful effort that had Lewis beaten but came back off the inside of the woodwork.

The game remained well-balanced for large spells with chances at a premium approaching the break.

It remained goalless at half time after Ngwatala's free-kick from the right edge of the area deflected off the wall and into the arms of Lewis.

Harriers were quicker out the blocks for the second period and worked two quick-fire openings. First Lee Vaughan's 25 yard drive was tipped over by Lewis just two minutes in. The resulting corner was then headed over by Horsfall when he should have done better when rising well at the far post.

Lewis then pulled off a sublime save to keep out Bradley's deflected effort after he'd cut in from the left flank.

Still Harriers pushed for an opener as Ngwatala drilled narrowly wide in the 53rd minute with Brackley dropping deep.

Next up it was Declan Weeks' turn to go close when his curling free-kick from a central position sailed agonisingly wide of the post. The chance again came from another direct Bradley run infield.

Harriers continued to dominate the ball but chances dried up heading into the final 15 minutes.

The home side needed a spark as boss John Eustace threw on Sonupe and George Waring looking for a winner.

Instead it was Brackley that found the crucial opener when Dean headed in on 82 minutes.

Hall did well to keep out an initial effort from range but the loose ball was quickly chipped to the far post by sub James Armson for the Town skipper to nod home.

Harriers responded just two minutes later when defender Horsfall fired in from 30 yards to level matters.

The Reds were soon ahead when Bradley swept home Vaughan's loss cross from the right on 88 minutes.

Sonupe freed Vaughan who cut the ball back for Bradley to net his sixth goal in five games.

On this occasion, Harriers saw out the closing stages to bag a valuable victory ahead of Saturday's long trip to Blyth.

Harriers: Hall, Vaughan, Austin, Croasdale (c), Horsfall, Pearson, Weeks, McQuilkin, Ironside (Waring 71), Bradley, Ngwatala (Sonupe 65).

Unused subs: Brown, Digie, Vaughan.

Brackley: Lewis, Murombedzi (Iaciofano 90), Lowe, Byrne, Graham, Dean (c), Walker, Nicholson (Myles 61), Ndlovu, Williams (Armson 61), Walker.

Unused subs: Brown, Streete.

Att: 1,935.