JIMMY O’CONNOR was delighted to see Harriers withstand the pressure of Saturday’s Cup tie at Bedfont to seal a 1-0 win and make the FA Cup First Round proper.

The Reds sealed their place in the hat for this stage of the competition for the first time in four years with the narrow but deserved success in London, delivered courtesy of Amari Morgan-Smith’s second-half goal.

Having seen his side net and then stand strong to pick up a valuable clean sheet against an opposition with nothing to lose, O’Connor rightly praised his team, saying: “We lifted it a little bit in the second half, and getting the goal when we did was great for us.

“We were put under pressure at the end of the game, which can always happen in a Cup tie when there’s only a goal in it.

“To be fair, I thought our lads stood up to it well and defended excellently.”

Harriers opted to stick with the same starting eleven that slumped to a hugely disappointing 2-0 league defeat against Brackley Town seven days prior, with Ethan Freemantle and Amari Morgan-Smith retaining their places as a front two.

The first half was an evenly matched as we’ve seen Harriers in a Cup tie so far this season, with the hosts forcing arguably the clearest chance of it after just two minutes when an alert Simpson needed to turn away a shot from experienced former AFC Wimbledon man Ricky Wellard.

Harriers had few chances of note in the first 45 but did force a save before the quarter-hour mark when Sam Austin dug out a shot that home stopper Dimitrios Kyriatzis palmed over the bar.

Virtually everything else was off target from the visitors, with Penny and Hemmings each trying their luck and, later, Morgan-Smith chancing his arm from distance with an effort that arced up but then back down again too late, nestling over the top of the goal.

Patient Harriers had to wait until the hour for their opening goal. Richards and Austin had caused real problems for Bedfont with their delivery and another one saw them almost concede an own goal – Kyriatzis did manage to prevent that, but at the expense of the ball finding Morgan-Smith who finished the scraps to net his third FA Cup goal of the season.

The stopper then extended himself to parry away an Austin header, and similarly a low Hemmings shot, too. Sub Sterling then saw a free-kick tipped away before Martin raced to the edge of the area to meet an Austin pull-back that Kyriatzis smothered.

Harriers: Simpson, Richards, Penny, Cameron, Bajrami, Martin, Carrington, Hemmings, Freemantle (Sterling 64), Austin (Lowe 90), Morgan-Smith (Bell 86).

Subs not used: Emery, Tolley, Lissimore, White.

Attendance: 412

Referee: Ben Atkinson