HARRIERS secured back-to-back league victories with a smash and grab 1-0 success at Hartlepool United to continue Phil Brown’s winning start at the club and move off the foot of the table.

Fresh from a statement 4-2 victory over Aldershot Town in his maiden match at the helm, Brown made just one change to his starting eleven at the Suit Direct Stadium. Gold Omotayo was brought in to replace Amari Morgan-Smith who dropped to the bench – both having got on the scoresheet against the Shots at Aggborough.

Harriers began brightly and arguably should’ve been ahead after 15 minutes of a prosperous opening that saw Omotayo pounce on a spill by home goalkeeper Joel Dixon, only to be thwarted by covering defenders as he looked to finish into an unguarded net.

Five minutes later, Hemmings made space for himself and let fly, Dixon this time getting good contact on a parry, albeit straight into the path of Jack Lambert who skewed a follow-up well over the upright.

Before the tenth minute there was another good chance for the men from Worcestershire; Lambert’s low cross finding Sam Bellis inside the area. The on-loan Barrow man took the ball expertly in his stride before turning sharply and firing the ball just over.

Having weathered that early onslaught, Hartlepool came further into the contest under the watchful eye of incoming Manger Kevin Phillips. With 19 on the clock, Tom Crawford’s low drive was parried by Christian Dibble, the Harriers shot stopper standing up superbly to then block away Anthony Mancini’s intended follow-up.

Harriers suffered a scare when Alex Penny appeared to upend Courtney Duffus as the Pools man rounded Dibble, but any penalty appears were soundly waved away by referee John Milligan.

Mancini and Duffus combined well before the break for the latter to fire wide, before Zak Brown’s deflected effort finally punctuated an uneventful start to the second half as it scurried away for a corner after the hour.

Minutes later, the pivotal moment of the game arrived as Dibble made a good save from Mancini’s deflected effort before playing up field, the ball finding Hemmings whose curled cross deceived Dixon and bounced into the far corner of the net.

To their credit, Harriers then put on a mini masterclass of defending under pressure, restricting Hartlepool to very little possession inside the final third, while through Shane Byrne and Bellis they even had sights of a second goal – the latter in particular going close before deflecting wide.

There was one piece of digging in to be done in the dying seconds, a cross was nodded down into the path of Luke Hendrie who looked to finish, only for Dibble to bravely intervene with a last-ditch block.

Harriers are again on the road this weekend as they face Dagenham and Redbridge in the National League.