BATTLING Town can look onwards and upwards after the sort of win which earns honours rather than headlines.

No-one would write home about the patchy performance or the scruffy goal which Jon Stead stabbed home to secure the points.

Yet this was just the sort of result which needs to be eked out when tired legs can't produce their most fluent form and when inferior opposition are determined to dig in.

Credit to Kidderminster; they fought like hell off the back of a 6-1 drubbing at Hull and threatened on more than one occasion to ruin Town's night.

Peter Jackson's men, however, were equally focused on not slipping up and a second successive clean sheet for Ian Gray and his defence was just as richly deserved as the points.

Perhaps it was no surprise that Stead should score his ninth goal of the season, because this was one of his best performances.

Realising from the opening minutes - when he fired a volley just over the top - that he was too quick, strong and skilful for the visitors' defence, Stead dominated them all night in front of scouts from Everton, Newcastle and Leicester.

He muscled possession on several occasions when he had no right to win the ball and he chased lost causes - creating opportunities for Andy Booth and Danny Schofield which should have brought further goals.

Kidderminster looked a shambles at times, largely because of Town's superior passing and movement, and they were in disarray when going behind on 12 minutes as Stead prodded in a Steve Yates pass.

By that stage, loan man Lee Fowler had already served notice of his desire to win the ball and pass it and Schofield was the first to benefit, racing free down the left before cutting inside for a shot deflected wide.

That was typical of Schofield's unselfish running all game and had Town been at their best, he could have run riot.

Bo Henriksen appeared the only real danger to Town, punishing defensive slackness with a couple of dangerous balls across the box, but it wasn't until the last 10 minutes that Jackson decided on the extra insurance of substitute Efe Sodje at the back.

The Nigerian international had to be content with the bench because the manager felt he couldn't drop any of the back three, but he was influential in the late re-shuffle designed to combat the pace of visiting sub Lloyd Dyer.

By then, Town had survived two scares in front of a home contingent of 8,185 who responded magnificently to the manager's call for backing throughout.

The first came on 57 minutes when Henriksen skipped round Paul Scott and hammered a low drive for the near post which Gray smartly smothered.

The second was five minutes later when Scott Stamp's inswinging free-kick found Danny Williams unmarked at the back post, only for the No4 to head the ball so powerfully down that it bounced over the bar.

Apart from those worrying slip-ups, the Yates-Scott-Mirfin combination gave Gray an easy night, although distribution from the back wasn't all it should have been.

Town usually mopped up, however, and Booth's cleverness was often to the fore as Stead, Jon Worthington and Schofield carved some threatening attacks.

Schofield, in fact, was unlucky not to register his first goal of the season on 33 minutes when latching onto a first-time pass from Stead after a long ball inside from Andy Holdsworth.

Schofield tried to plant the shot with the outside of his right boot and keeper Stuart Brock got down well to his left to save.

Kidderminster didn't learn their lesson, because when Stead burst superbly down the left just 90 seconds into the second half, Schofield should have netted from the lay-back but was just half a stride out of synch.

With Tony Carss linking nicely down the left on his return - and supplying some testing corners - Town threatened to take the game by storm, causing problems for themselves only when Fowler or Stead over-elaborated.

Stead still went close with a couple of cracking drives after having what looked a perfectly good goal chalked out for offside, while Booth was denied at the near post by Brock after Worthington and Schofield had created furiously down the left.

From the following corner, Booth had a header tipped over the top from Carss' driven delivery and it appeared at that moment that any lingering worries were over for Town.

Towards the end, when Jackson sent on Sodje for Holdsworth and posted the splendid David Mirfin to right wing-back, Town sensibly killed time by getting the ball deep into the Kidderminster corners.

It wasn't a pretty tactic, but few Town fans will be complaining if their side can continue to build on this fourth straight home win - a run in which nine goals have been scored and only one conceded (to Bristol Rovers).

Jackson says he wants to make the McAlpine a fortress and it looks like he is well on the way to doing just that.

MATCH FACTS (Town 3-5-2)

Ian Gray Didn't have a serious save to make, although he was down smartly to block from Henriksen in the second half. Rating: 6/10

Andy Holdsworth Worked hard and got in a couple of decent crosses. Looked tired late on, but he has done his job in a great week for the club. Rating: 6/10

Tony Carss Looked lively on his return and supplied some excellent corners. Linked well with Stead and the midfielders. Rating: 7/10

Steve Yates Another solid and determined display at the back and played his part by creating pressure for the goal. Rating: 6/10

Paul Scott Not one of his best games, but got stuck in and will be sick to miss out through suspension against Southend. Rating: 6/10

David Mirfin Probably the pick at the back, where he won plenty of headers. Switched to right wing-back late on. Rating: 7/10

Lee Fowler Inspirational at times and a controlling influence in front of the defence. Found the runners pretty well. Rating: 7/10

Jon Worthington Tireless worker in the centre and made some smashing breaks through the middle, buoyed by Fowler's anchoring play. Rating: 6/10

Danny Schofield Did lots of excellent running off the ball and looked at probably his best all season. Had a couple of decent shots. Rating: 7/10

Andy Booth The skipper went close with a couple of cracking headers and his hold-up play was a key factor again. Rating: 7/10

Jon Stead Scored his ninth of the season and edged the top mark because of his strong running and battling for the ball. Rating: 8/10


Brock, Smith, Stamp, D Williams (Parrish 76), Bennett (Bishop 67), J Williams (Dyer 67), Henriksen, Willis, Ward, Shilton, Betts.

Subs not used: Hinton, Gadsby.


Jon Stead

Looked strong, powerful and quick up front and Kidderminster didn't really know what to do with him. Scored one, unlucky with another and had several decent efforts at goal. Over elaborated at times, but his appetite for work typified the performance.


It might have been a rout had the linesman not ruled out Stead's 60th-minute effort for offside when Town claimed Danny Schofield's tee-up pass was played slightly backwards across goal.


Subs used: Town: Sodje for Holdsworth 80. Harriers: Bishop for Bennett 67, Dyer for J Williams 67, Parrish for D Williams 76.

Subs not used: Town: Newby, Senior, Mattis, Lloyd. Harriers: Hinton, Gadsby.

Scorer: Town: Stead 12.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicester).

Bookings: Town: Stead, Fowler. Harriers: Shilton, Ward, Willis.

Shots on target: Town 8, Harriers 1.

Corners: Town 4, Harriers 5.

Caught offside: Town 3, Harriers 4.

Free-kicks awarded: Town 15, Harriers 11.

Attendance: 8,275 (Away: 90).

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