Aaron O’Connor puts Poppies back in front, 2-1 winners away to Banbury Utd

Kettering TownBanbury Utd

Banbury Utd 1
Duku 70pen

Kettering Town 2
Baker 12
A O’Connor 81

The final fixture of the league season for Kettering Town as they travel to nearby Banbury Utd who narrowly missed out on promotion after losing to Leamington on Monday. Nothing really to play for but pride and showing their worth for the manager ready for next season’s fresh challenge.

Goal!GOAL: The match gets underway and the early stages see Rene Howe heading wide of the target but not much else as both teams take their time settling into this end of season encounter. The ball is played into Ben Baker who takes it on his chest and then volleys a dipping shot past the keeper and into the net. A superb strike and Kettering are 1-0 up.

The home side almost pulled level following a free-kick but somehow it goes wide of the goal with no takers. It’s a back and forth game but without the finishing that the build up play deserves and neither side can gain control for any length of time to settle. A ball into the Banbury box is met by Aaron O’Connor but his touch is poor and the change is spurned to the relief of the home support who should’ve seen their team go two goals behind.

A poor back-pass to Harding sees the keeper totally miss-kick and dives on the ball. To the astonishment of the poppies contingent the referee waves play on. That adds to the very poor officiating so far in this end of season encounter. Banbury keeper is all at sea but this time is saved by a foul from Howe challenging for the ball.

Half-time:   Banbury Utd 0   Kettering Town 1

The second-half gets underway and a flashing shot by Humphreys that evades White but goes outside of the far upright as Banbury start with more urgency than they showed in the first 45 minutes. Baker wins a corner, swung into the area by Brighton, but it’s headed behind for an other corner and a poor delivery means its wasted for a goal kick.

Duku runs through, clearly offside, but Bateman rescues the Poppies with a well timed challenge. A change for Kettering as Gary Mulligan makes way for Jack Kelly on 57 minutes. A free-kick for the home side flies well over the crossbar to the relief of White in the Poppies goal. Banbury make a change as Sam Humphreys is replaced by Tom Winters on 65 minutes. Plenty of possession for the home side but not much in the way of a quality final ball.

Goal!GOAL: Kettering make a second change as Jorrin John replaces James Hall. Tom Winters picks up the ball and ghosts past several Poppies defenders and the referee has pointed to the penalty spot. Strange decision again from the official but up steps Manny Duku and he fires past White and into the net. Banbury are level at 1-1.

Kettering players still protesting the decision but they are pegged back under controversial circumstances on 70 minutes. Banbury have certainly had more possession but really didn’t deserve an equaliser to reward for their poor finishing, however the referee stepped in to gift them one from the penalty spot. Dom Langdon limps off to be replaced by James Harran.

Goal!GOAL: A double change for Banbury as Duku and Browne make way for Johnson and McDonagh on 77 minutes. Kettering settling back into the match after a host of interruptions disrupts the match. A poor back pass is latched onto by Aaron O’Connor and he rounds the keeper and slots the ball into the net. A bad error from the home defence well punished by the alert O’Connor.

Kettering win a corner with minutes remaining before the current campaign ends and Solkhon flicks the ball back in, Aaron O’Connor heads home but is adjudged offside and the goal won’t stand. The Poppies certainly in the ascendancy as Rene Howe shapes up to shoot for what would be the 50th goal of his Poppies career but it flies high over the crossbar. Banbury pressing in stoppage time but Self’s shot is cleared off the line by Solkhon.

There goes the final whistle and Kettering run out 2-1 winners in their last match of the league season. It’s been a disappointing season in terms of cup runs and league position finish, but the players and supporters will look towards next season which starts with a Maunsell Cup Final at home to Northampton Town on Saturday July 22nd.

Att: 477

Kettering Town: White, Bateman, Langdon, Brighton, Solkhon, Mulligan, Baker, Howe, Hicks, A.O’Connor, Hall. Subs: Kelly, Willimont, Harran, John.

Banbury Utd: Harding Bradbury, Blackstock, Nash, Westbrook, Carnell, Humphreys, Self, Duku, McEachran, Browne. Subs: Martin, Odhiambo, Johnson, Winters.


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Duku 70pen

Kettering Town 2
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A O'Connor 81

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