HARRIERS netted a spot in the last 16 of the FA Trophy with a penalty shoot-out win over league rivals Altrincham at Aggborough, following a 0-0 draw.

The game was overseen by Jimmy O’Connor in the dugout while new Manager Phil Brown watched in the stands ahead of his assuming first-team duties on Monday.

The former Hull City and Southend boss was appointed at Aggborough earlier in the week and will be charged with guiding the club away from relegation danger in the National League.

For this Trophy test, however, it was O’Connor who had named a starting eleven with two changes. Amari Morgan-Smith dropped out of the side, as did Reiss McNally, while Gold Omotayo and Kai Lissimore were drafted in.

McNally’s wait for action was no more than six minutes once the game was underway, however, as Harriers lost Sammy Robinson to an injury.

Despite that disruption, Harriers started brightly enough, Omotayo and Jack Lambert having early sights of goal held by goalkeeper Ethan Ross, before Christian Dibble did well to hold from Matty Kosylo.

Ross was busier nearer the midway point of the first half as he twice needed to save well from Ashley Hemmings as he took aim with one dipping effort and a rising drive respectively that had to be dealt with.

In the final minutes of the period, Altrincham almost stole ahead in sensational style when a wildly dipping free kick from Alex Newby clattered the bar.

Early after the restart, Shane Byrne glanced a header wide before Newby fired into the side netting as the game opened up.

Past the hour, incredible defending kept Harriers level. Alex Penny had cleared an Altrincham cross into the air, the ball met at close range by Angus who was thwarted on the line by Caleb Richards. Ten later, Dibble parried an Angus effort and then inexplicably kept out a certain goal on the rebound with a scoop also off the line.

That kept the visitors in the ascendancy and, deep in added time, Altrincham must’ve thought they’d won it when Dibble was adjudged to have fouled Justin Amaluzor to the award of a penalty. Substitute Chris Conn-Clarke stepped up but was denied by a good save from the Aggborough custodian.

That, ironically, forced a penalty shoot-out, with Dibble proving the hero of the day with two further saves from twelve yards.

Byrne, Morgan-Smith, Richards and Lambert all converted for the hosts – Omotayo the only player beaten by Ross – to ensure the team’s passage into the draw for the next round.

Next up for Harriers and Brown’s first test as Reds boss will be the home clash with play-off chasing Aldershot Town.