RUSS Penn paid tributed to the professionalism of his team after they sealed a 3-1 FA Cup victory at Sporting Khalsa.

Harriers dominated almost the entirety of the Second Qualifying Round tie against their opponents, who are ranked two leagues below the men from Aggborough.

But after a wasteful first half in which they spurned at least half a dozen clear-cut chances on goal, signs of an upset began to emerge with Harriers fans dreading a repeat of the Cup exits that have blighted the last two seasons.

The visitors stuck to their guns, however, and after Sam Austin’s sweet strike past the hour put them ahead, there looked to be no other outcome.

The result was confirmed thanks to a brace from Nyal Bell, the substitute netting his first goals for the club following his summer arrival.

Khalsa registered on the score sheet courtesy of Jake Gosling’s 90th minute penalty, but it wasn’t enough to halt Harriers’ progress to the third and penultimate qualifying stage of the competition.

"It was a really good Cup game,” reflected the Aggborough chief after the final whistle.

"At half time I thought 'is it going to be one of those days?'

"Our top goal scorer missed four one on ones and you're thinking 'oh my god, here we go...' but we just kept churning away.

"We were patient, and we were professional, and at the end of the day, we got the goals we probably deserved."

Going into what was a must-win Cup tie, boss Russ Penn at least had the assurance continuity brought about by an unchanged starting line-up.

Nathan Cameron (hamstring) remained absent through injury, but there was a return on the bench for Ethan Freemantle after his own short lay-off. Included in a first-team squad for the first time this season was Jack Tolley, also on the bench.

It was a first half that Harriers thoroughly dominated, and after Hemmings and Gosling traded early chances, the away side took over.

Hemmings, Omari Sterling and Amari Morgan-Smith all went close before the half hour, with Austin then seeing an effort clip off the post.

An in-form home goalkeeper was doing his best to thwart Hemmings in particular, but on the stroke of half time the Harriers marksman looked to have him beat after the stopper chested a ball into his path – other for the Harriers man to strike his shot off the woodwork.

After the break, even Lewis Montrose got in on the act in forcing Arnold into a good save, with Austin’s 55th minute shot also extending the custodian as he tipped the ball over the bar.

Minutes later, though, Austin finally had his team ahead in his own inimitable style, firing low and hard into the corner from the edge of the area.

That seemed to settle nerves but there was no let-up in the attack; ten minutes later it was 2-0 after Bell, with the ball at his feet, turned in the six-yard area and planted the ball low into the net.

That was his first goal for Harriers and his second soon followed, a composed finish on the angle that saw him drive across the goalkeeper with real aplomb.

The one blot on the cop book for the day game in the final moments when a rare mistake from Geraldo Bajrami resulted in a foul in the area – Gosling stepping up to blast the penalty into the net.

Harriers: Simpson, Foulkes, Richards, Lowe, Bajrami, Montrose, Martin, Austin (Lissimore 77), Sterling, Morgan-Smith (Bell 60), Hemmings (White 73).

Subs not used: Tolley, Emery, Penny, Freemantle.

Attendance: 687 Referee: Dale Baines