MIKE Rushton marked his return to front-line action with two goals as Kendal erased the memory of three successive defeats with victory against Harrogate at Parkside Road.
Making his first start for the Mintcakes since late February, the former Barrow forward netted twice in the first half as the hosts ended their three-game goalscoring drought.
Harrogate’s leading marksman Nathan Cartman reduced the arrears from the spot before Kendal skipper Warren Beattie sealed maximum points with a penalty of his own.
Fit-again Danny Coid slotted in at left-back in the absence of injured duo Jack Smith and Callum Hoctor, while Dave Foster handed full debuts to midfielders Jamie Pattinson and Gary Basterfield.
The home side controlled the early stages with a well-marshalled defence keeping the visitors at bay as Kendal took a deserved lead on 16 minutes.
After collecting Coid’s launched ball forward, ex-Altrincham frontman Danny Mitchley played in an overlapping Rushton who slotted the ball past advancing Harrogate keeper Lee Ashworth.
This was Rushton’s first strike since hauling Kendal level at Padiham back in October – a game which proved former manager Steve Edmondson’s final game in charge.
And with a taste for the scoring limelight once again, the 30-year-old came close to doubling the lead moments later but scooped over following good work from Mitchley on the right.
Not to be denied, Rushton scored his second of the afternoon shortly before the half-hour mark, forcing home after Craig Carney headed a half-cleared Rob Wilson corner into the box.
Kendal could have been out of sight by the break but spurned several presentable opportunities, Carney the first to go close as he dragged an effort wide of the post.
Only a finger-tip save from Ashworth prevented Rushton registering a hat-trick before Coid – who missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury – rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard free-kick.
For their part, Harrogate barely threatened in the opening period with Cartman’s weak overhead kick and a Malachi Farquharson header which flashed wide the sum of their attempts at goal.
The second half was a quiet affair until Harrogate halved the deficit on 63 minutes as the away side were awarded a penalty after Beattie was penalised for handball.
Cartman stroked home from the spot for his 17th goal of the season, although this proved a false dawn as Billy Miller’s side failed to threaten the Kendal goal for the remainder of the match.
The hosts continued to look the team most likely to strike again with Carney, Mitchley and substitute Aaron Fleming all testing Ashworth from range.
Kendal made sure of the points with eight minutes left on the clock, Beattie coolly dispatching his spot-kick after Mitchley was sent tumbling in the box.
After an indifferent season from 12 yards, Kendal appear to have made some headway in that department as Beattie built on his successful spot-kick at Prescot Cables in mid-March.
Kendal now face an Easter weekend double-header with a trip to New Mills on Saturday followed by their final home game of the season against Lancaster City two days later.
Kendal Town: Danny MacDonald, Colin Watson, Danny Coid, Warren Beattie, Ricky Mercer, Rob Wilson, Gary Basterfield (Oli Mathieson 85), Jamie Pattinson (Aaron Fleming 57), Mike Rushton (Ricardo Egidi 85), Danny Mitchley, Craig Carney. Subs not used: Kevin Brown, Michael Stringfellow
Harrogate Railway Athletic: Lee Ashworth, Robert Hiza, Louie Swain, Dan Thirkell, Michael Morris, Alex Metcalfe, Fatlum Ibrahimi (Nathan Dywer 83), Nathan Cartman, Malachi Farquharson, Vasileious Katsamagkas (Steve Bromley 67), Colin Hunter (Craig Radcliffe 83). Subs not used: /