Harriers 3, Bradford Park Avenue 0

HARRIERS maintained their play-off push with victory over Bradford Park Avenue at Aggborough.

A brace from Joe Ironside and an Ashley Chambers header saw Kidderminster cut the gap to seventh-placed Telford to three points.

They had to stand up to second half Bradford pressure but did it well to pick up an important victory following back-to-back away defeats.

Reds made one chance as Declan Weeks was replaced by Sam Austin in the starting line-up.

It saw Liam McAlinden deployed in a deeper role in midfield alongside youngster Milan Butterfield and it was the on-loan Cheltenham man that forced the first chance of the game after a menacing burst from half way inside the opening five minutes.

The ball eventually broke in the area for Ironside but the striker’s effort was well blocked by the Bradford rearguard.

It was a scrappy start to the clash but Harriers did enjoy more of the ball, with Chambers curling over the bar from the left corner of the area after nine minutes.

Bradford’s first effort saw Danny East fire over from 25 yards two minutes later.

It was the hosts that opened the scoring on 17 minutes when McAlinden’s corner found an unmarked Chambers at the far post. His volleyed effort was parried by keeper Charlie Andrew but Ironside was on hand to head home the rebound.

Bradford reacted well to going behind and soon got a foothold in the clash. It took a good defensive header from Harry Flowers to see away one attack before Romany Crichlow-Noble headed just wide from a corner on the half hour mark.

It needed a fine save from keeper Brandon Hall on 35 minutes to maintain Kidderminster’s advantage. He put out a strong hand to deny Alex Hurst after Mark Ross played him in after a direct burst from deep.

Harriers were still able to carve out openings of their own and Ironside headed narrowly wide on 38 minutes.

They did find a second just a minute before the break when Chambers headed home via the underside of the bar after Sam Austin’s cross from the right.

It was a big blow for Bradford after their showing since going behind and it put the home side firmly in the driving seat at half time.

The visitors upped the tempo at the start of the second half as they looked for a quick response.

They nearly found it on 53 minutes but Milan Butterfield got back on the line to clear Jake Beesley’s low shot.

Still it was Bradford that pressed and it took an important Austin interception on the hour mark to deny Nicky Clee after Beesley had worked space in the box but chose to pass rather than shoot at the vital moment.

Substitute Oli Johnson nearly made an immediate impact on 68 minutes but Hall tipped his powerful header over the bar following Lewis Knight’s free-kick from the right flank.

Despite that pressure, it was Harriers that came close to netting against the run of play a minute later when Ed Williams rattled the post with a curling effort from just inside the box.

Reds did find the killer third in the 77th minute as Ironside headed beyond Andrew at the far post after McAlinden’s dipping cross.

Bradford wasted more chances in the closing stages as Johnson and Beesley both headed over from good positions.

Harriers saw out the final moments to also pick up their first clean sheet in six games.

Harriers: Hall, Austin, Taylor, Flowers, Horsfall, Johnson (c), McAlinden, Butterfield, Ironside, Chambers (Thomas 85), Williams (Penn 85).

Unused subs: Higginson, Richards, Plamer.

Bradford: Andrew, Ross, Lowe, Hurst (Johnson 65), Crichlow-Noble, Havern (c), Knight (Nowakowski 81), Branson, Beesley, East (Spencer 60), Clee.

Unused subs: Toulson, Killock.

Att: 1,606 (40).