HARRIERS’ National League survival hopes took a dent courtesy of a 3-1 defeat to a slick looking Altrincham side at Aggborough.

Needing points to keep up their bid to stay in non-league’s top tier following promotion last term, the Reds put in a strong first half showing.

They took the lead through Zak Brown’s well-taken effort but were pegged back by a swift vising move just four minutes later.

That stalled Harriers momentum, and a brace from the deadly Chris Conn-Clarke in the second period saw the visitors seal what was, in the cold light of day, a deserved win in the end.

It left the league table looking less than positive for Phil Brown, whose side now sit four points adrift, with an inferior goal difference and games played to Weadlstone in the coveted 20th position.

That would’ve been impossible to imagine in the first 20 minutes in which Harriers dominated, hitting the post through Ashley Hemmings before Brown’s instinctive finish from six yards found the top of the net to put his team ahead.

It was a short-lived lead, though, and Conn-Clarke played a part by finding Banks, who crossed for Regan Linney who side-footed home a leveller.

Hemmings went close twice more before the break as Harriers pushed for another, while Cole Kpekawa planted a firm header wide from a corner.

Brown’s half-time team talk would’ve still been echoing in the ears of his players when Altrincham retook their lead early in the second half. It was again simple but clinical as Conn-Clarke smashed home from close rang after another incisive counter.

Dibble denied banks with a save at point-blank range after the hour, but Harriers were unable to capitalise and fell further behind on 73 minutes when an ice-cool finish from Conn-Clarke secured his brace and his team’s third.

A treble change from Brown saw Todd Miller, Gold Omotayo and Sammy Robinson all enter the fray, but the visitors held on with a reasonable amount of ease, the strong start for the hosts seeming a distant memory.

Brown said after the game: “It probably sums the season up, that first half.

“I can’t answer whether it mirrors the season’s performance, because I’ve only been here for 13 games.

“But to not be two or three up at half time is probably the reason why we are where we are, and that’s not just blaming the strikers, it’s blaming everybody.

“You’re looking for quality in the final third and when the quality is being produced, you’ve got to take those moments.

“When the moment came and we went one up, that should have been two or maybe three up… and that spurred Altrincham into action.”

Harriers take their quest for survival into the season’s final four games, beginning at Champions Chesterfield on Easter Monday, 3pm.