The Harriers got back into winning ways in style tonight with this emphatic 4-0 win over struggling Altrincham. Michael Gash made his first, overdue, start for the Reds and celebrated that start with a fine, well taken goal. Further goals from Craig Reid, Marvin Johnson and a late goal from substitute Reece Styche completed the scoring after a spell of good chances going begging that could have given us an even larger scoreline.
We started the game with a surprise omission and an equally surprising start for a young rookie player. Left back Jared Hodgkiss reported in injured so Jake Green took his place to make his debut for the Harriers. Jamie Grimes, who many thought could have replaced Hodgkiss, came back into the side in place of Aman Verma and took up the midfield rôle behind the two strikers.
Altrincham turned up with a full complement of ex Harriers with Jake Moult, Tom Marshall and James Lawrie starting the game and Mike Williams as an unused sub.
The game started with the Harriers heading the wrong way towards the ninety or so Altrincham fans down to follow their side. Never a good sign for us to kick that way because the last time we did that we went 2-0 up to Chester and then threw it all way in a chaotic second half. Tonight proved that theory wrong.
We started off at a pace but as is usual our passing was a bit skewif. It may have been nerves but there was no excuse for the one pass from Kyle Storer to Marvin Johnson that flew over the East Stand. We soon settled down though and waited for the first goal to arrive.
That should have gone to the visitors with Kyle Perry going close in the eleventh minute when he forced Danny Lewis into a stunning save as he flew across the goal to push the ball off the line. It took until the thirty second minute for us to show something of the same ilk.
Out of no where Grimes hit a drive that left the upright vibrating for thirty seconds after his shot crashed against it. Five minutes later and the lead had been gained and never given back.
That went to Michael Gash on his return to the starting eleven after being relegated to the bench all season so far. Craig Reid played him in with a deft short pass and with an almost open goal at his mercy Gash was never going to spurn the chance and fired home strongly. Reid himself got on the score sheet two minutes later after Marvin Johnson almost scored with a cross that was pushed away by the Alty keeper, David Parton, towards Reid. He made no mistake in firing the ball back in and into the net to put the Harriers two up.
We went into the break with a healthy lead and either the promise of more to come or the possibility of sitting back on our lead and letting Alty break us down. Thankfully it was the former thought.