A good, solid and battling performance at Oxford saw the Harriers rise from the bottom of the League for the first time in ages today when they beat a lacklustre United with goals from Blair Sturrock and Simon Russell.
The only fly in the ointment was Shrewsbury banging four past Darlington.
With Dean Keates and Simon Weaver returning to the side following their one match bans and John Danby returning from injury we had a more settled look to the side. Ian Foster and Ryan Clarke went onto the bench with Abdou Sall and Chris McHale leaving the starting squad completely.
Stuart Watkiss opted to start with just Blair Sturrock up front and Gary Birch playing in midfield.
It was a blistering first fifteen minutes to the game with Oxford trying the hardest to get an early breakthrough. Jamie Brooks and Dave Mackay, not that one, coming close to scoring. We replied with efforts from Sturrock and Keates.
We almost went in front in the twelfth minute with an own goal. It was only a fine save from the United keeper Tardif as Dave Woozley deflected a cross towards his own goal that stopped us taking an even earlier lead.
That lead did come in the thirty eighth minute with new signing, Blair Sturrocks, second goal in as many games.
Sturrock and Woozley were both going for the same ball thirty yards from goal when Leo Roget intervened to take the ball off both of them. It ran free and Blair was onto it in a flash to loft the ball over the stranded Tardif.
The Oxford players heads dropped for a bit after that and the only other clearcut chance came for them from a Roget header but Danby saved it easily.
HT. 0 - 1
United started the second half with a mini change round. Jamie Brooks went off to be replaced by Danny Morgan. Morgan was in action straight away when he almost scored with his first touch of the ball but luckily for us it was blocked before Danby needed to be called into action.
Five minutes into the half and Roget came close again. His header from a corner was only just over the bar.
The Harriers were being pushed further and further back now and struggling to hold onto their slender lead. Shots from Barry Quinn and Lee Bradbury both tested Danby but then miracle of miracles we went further ahead.
Again it was down to hesitancy in the Oxford defence that let in Simon Russell to first turn then shoot on sight. Tardif just didn't see it coming.
Soon after he went off injured, to be replaced by Chris Beardsley. It's not known if the injury is serious and if he will miss our next game at Orient on New Years Day. With no real time span to recover from injuries it just sums up this stupid idea of cramming four games into the Christmas holiday period.
After the goal the Harriers sat back a bit and Paul Wanless tried his luck with a close range header but again Danby was in the right place at the right time. Another header from Roget and a shot from Chris Davies was all that Oxford could offer and the game came to an end with a standing ovation from the Harriers fans while the Oxford fans slunk away in disgust.
This was one game that I hoped we might get a point from. To get all three was a belated Christmas gift and a very welcome one.