HARRIERS slipped to a poor 1-0 defeat at Maidenhead United on Saturday to slip back to five points from safety in the National League.

After a mini unbeaten run of four games and the 4-1 win over Stourbridge last time out, the positivity generated from the last couple of weeks at Aggborough is sharply crystalised by the realisation the side have one just one of their last nine outings following the trip to York Road.

Ahead of the game, Russ Penn made four changes to his starting line-up, effectively restoring his side to that of the last Harriers league game, the 2-0 win over Ebbsfleet at Aggborough. Back in came all of Bailey Hobson, Krystian Pearce, Sammy Robinson and Amari Morgan-Smith.

Zak Brown dropped out of the 16 altogether while there was still only a place among the substitutes for recent signing Gold Omotayo.

An uneventful first half yielded very few chances and won’t live long in the memory. Harriers had the first chance when Ryan McLean, fresh from his first Harriers goal against Stourbridge, nipped in to intercept the ball, but could only fire an angled effort at goalkeeper Craig Ross the goalkeeper smothered.

Seconds later, the visitors were given a significant let-off. A rare and momentary switch-off from Matt Preston gifted Reece Smith with the ball, but the Maidenhead man was unable to beat a stoic Christian Dibble who stood up to withstand his shot.

Not long before the break Harriers went close again when Jack Lambert got a low cross into the area, but Amari Morgan-Smith wasn’t able to generate enough power in his effort to trouble Craig Ross.

The visitors etched out their best chance of the afternoon four minutes after the restart, Hemmings nodding the ball down to Jack Lambert whose drive at Ross was deflected brilliantly away from the target by the recovering Will De Havilland.

Ashley Nathaniel-George took Maidenhead close on 53 minutes when he was denied by a good Dibble save, but there was no stopping Maidenhead’s opener seven after the hour. Quick feet in the area gave them the time they needed to supply Casey Petit who rushed on to the ball and tucked home a cool finish.

Harriers , sadly, never mustered a serious response to going behind and ultimately failed to trouble Ross, though a swerving Hobson effort needed his careful eye and sub Omotayo glanced a header wide in the dying stages.

At the other end, Maidenhead came close to a second when Dibble showed good athleticism to turn aside a rising effort from Smith.

Harriers head into the Christmas period with the visit of Southend United to Aggborough next Saturday, 23rd (3pm).