HARRIERS closed the gap on second-placed Brackley to just one 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 side showed real character in getting rid of the Pilgrims.
Ashley Hemmings hit a good 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 acerbic response saw Harriers hit back with Amari Morgan-Smith’s header.
It was the reaction to conceding that goal that praised 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 will never hit our guys 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 momentum was with us in that moment. We defended well and grew in the game.
“It was a tough game – when Boston comes to town and you get the three points, that’s huge.”
Hemmings’ 26th-minute goal – an accurate 20-yard finish – was indeed a rare moment of exceptional first-half quality, but Harriers controlled the second half very well.
Visiting keeper Marcus Dewhurst was busy with a number of saves straight after the restart, including from a Hemmings header.
Morgan-Smith’s superb pass played to Austin who brushed aside his man in the box 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 a Boston shot well but couldn’t stop forward Elliott from finishing the rebound.
This halving of the deficit only lasted a few minutes, however, with Sterling supplying Richards who in turn crossed for Morgan-Smith; he rose high in the zone to power a header past Dewhurst, putting the play past Boston in the process.
The Harriers are now a point behind Brackley, who sit second in the table – a trip to the first Gateshead also ahead of Penn’s men in ten days.
Before then, the Reds will travel to Farsley Celtic, with a large away crowd expected to make the trip thanks to a reduced offer on trips away from the club.
Penn added of their support: “What they are doing for the club at the moment reflects what we are doing on the pitch.
“They have to keep going and keep believing. We’re going to go through tough times and they’re going to pick us up because they’re our 12th man – and 13th man!