HARRIERS closed the gap on second placed Brackley to just a point with an impressive 3-1 win over Boston at Aggborough.

Playing just days after losing defender Matt Preston to a serious ankle injury in the abandoned game against Alfreton, Russ Penn’s troops showed real character to dispose of the Pilgrims.

Ashley Hemmings struck a sweet opener against his former club in the first half before Sam Austin doubled the lead in the second.

The Reds conceded their first league goal since January as the visitors made it 2-1, but another sharp response saw Harriers hit back with Amari Morgan-Smith’s header.

It was the reaction to conceding that goal that leased the manager the most, as he explained after the final whistle.

“Even their goal came from our attack,” he said of his adventurous outfit. “I’ll never knock our lads for wanting to drive with the ball.

“[But] then we scored again within five minutes and that was vital.

“It kind of took the sting out of it, and the impetus was with us then. We defended soundly and grew into the game.

“It was a tough game – when Boston come to town and you get the three points, it’s massive.”

Hemmings’ 26th minute goal – an accurate 20-yard finish - was in truth a rare moment of standout quality in the first half, but Harriers very much controlled the second period.

Visiting goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst was kept busy with a number of saves just after the restart, notably from a Hemmings header.

Morgan-Smith’s superb pass played in Austin who side-stepped his man in the area before firing in his 12th of the campaign, before a run of six league games without conceding a goal came to an end. Simpson in goal had parried well from one Boston shot but couldn’t prevent striker Elliott from finishing the rebound.

That halving of the deficit stood for just a few minutes, though, with Sterling supplying Richards who in turn crossed for Morgan-Smith; he rose highest in the area to power a header beyond Dewhurst, putting the game beyond Boston in the process.

Harriers are now a point behind Brackley who sit second in the table – a trip to first placed Gateshead also ahead for Penn’s men in ten days’ time.

Before that, the Reds travel to Farsley Celtic, with a sizable away following due to make the trip thanks to a reduced offer on away travel from the club.

Penn added of their support: “What they’re doing for the club at the moment mirrors what we’re doing on the pitch.

“They’ve got to keep going and keep believing. We’re going to go through some tough times and they’re going to pick us up because they’re our 12th man – and 13th man!”