RUSS Penn praised his ‘new’ Harriers side for snatching a play-off place in dramatic fashion thanks to a 3-0 win over Kettering at Aggborough.

Goals from Joe Foulkes, Joe Leesley and Ashley Hemmings ensured Harriers finished in the top seven of the table, thanks also to results elsewhere.

It’s a second successive play-off finish for the team, who now immediately turn their focus to the trip to Alfreton Town in an Eliminator match on Tuesday night.

Billy Heath’s men have been in and around the play-offs for much of the season, but won’t likely be relishing the visit of in-form Harriers, who’ve won the last six.

“They’ve had an excellent season and we’ve had an excellent two months, reflected Penn.

“I think that sums it up: they’ve consistently got points on the board and we’ve just done it full throttle for the last two months.

“Full respect to Billy; they’re going to fancy their chances at home, but our away record is the best in the league so we will go there full of confidence.”

A cagey first half against Kettering had looked to have put Harriers’ last-gasp play-off charge in doubt.

Kettering, needing a win to ensure survival on the last day, defended stoutly and kept the home side well and truly at bay.

The second half was an altogether different affair, Harriers striking at a vital time on 47 minutes as Leesley crossed for Foulkes to finish.

Leesley went from provider to scorer not long after the hour, opening his account for Harriers with a thunderous effort from distance that gave the goalkeeper no chance.

Hemmings rounded off the scoring in similar fashion with just 13 minutes remaining, while Kai Lissimore struck over in search of a fourth.

It means Harriers travel to the Impact Arena looking to go at least one better in the play-offs this season after defeat in the Eliminator against Boston at this stage in 2022.

Penn is glad to have extended the season with his revitalised group, whose make-up and form bears little resemblance to the side who started the campaign.

He added: “I said to Jimmy before the game ‘I hope this isn’t the last game of the season today’, because this feels like a new team now.

“We’re proving to the fans that we are capable of achieving our goals, so I am delighted that we have an extra couple of days at least.

“Our aim is to pick a team and prepare right to beat Alfreton on Tuesday.

“The lads are playing with freedom, are enjoying it and sticking together, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The winner of Tuesday’s tie at Alfreton Town will travel to face King’s Lynn Town in a semi-final match on Sunday.