Battling Poppies narrow 2-1 winners at home to Hungerford Town

Hungerford TownKettering Town

Kettering Town 2
Mulligan 11
Baker-Richardson 79

Hungerford Town 1
Draycott 90 pen

Following the hammering at the hands of struggling Dunstable Town on Tuesday night, Kettering Town return to Latimer Park to try and rediscover their goal-scoring touch at home to Hungerford Town but at the same time they need a good performance from their defence to prevent sliding further down the table after what was shaping up to be a good winning run.

The match gets underway at Latimer Park with Kettering in their familiar red and black home strip while their visitors are actually wearing Reading’s blue and white strip including the Reading FC Premiership badge, very strange. Poppies boss Marcus Law opts for an attacking formation with the return of Dubi Ogbonna and Elliott Sandy up front and Courtney Baker-Richardson in behind. Hungerford the first to produce an effort but it flies way over the crossbar from a free kick.

Goal!GOAL: Canavan’s quick strike is deflected behind for a corner. Brighton swings the ball into the area, its headed on by Mulligan, blocked on the line, the rebound is flicked on by Thorn and Gary Mulligan loops a header over the keeper and into the net. 1-0 to Kettering with 11 minutes gone.

Hungerford break fast and McAlindon forces the Clark to shoot early but its only inches over the Poppies crossbar. Good hustle in midfield today certainly looking to avoid a repeat of Tuesday’s debacle. Ogbonna bursts into the box and shoots but its charged down. Kettering having to defend a little at the moment but looking fairly solid at the back today and McAlindon has rarely been troubled.

A close call there for Kettering as the ball bounces around the area and is eventually spooned over the crossbar by Langdon for a corner, which the Poppies eventually clear. Brighton finds Ogbonna but his cross is too close to the keeper for Baker-Richardson to capitalise on. Another corner for the visitors as Kettering are under pressure at the back in the closing stages of the first half but again they comfortably clear upfield.

McAlindon has to make a good save to deny an equaliser as Hungerford press again. Another corner is repulsed by Kettering as they hold onto their slender lead. Mulligan crosses to the far post but Sandy has to leap high and backwards and is unable to get any power behind his header which the keeper easily collects.

Half-time:   Kettering Town 1   Hungerford Town 0

The second-half gets underway at Latimer Park with no changes by either side at the break. Gary Mulligan gets an early second-half yellow card for a foul as Kettering clear another corner. Elliott caught late but Collins escapes with only a warning. A corner for Hungerford, scrambled clear by a hard-working Poppies defence.

Dubi Ogbonna breaks into the area and is brought down by the keeper, the referee points to the penalty spot and only shows a yellow to the lucky keeper. Dubi Ogbonna dusts himself off and steps up to take the kick but the goal keeper dives to his left and makes the save. It was a decent penalty in the bottom corner but perhaps quite not enough power behind it and the keeper Gore redeems himself.

A clear-cut chance for Draycott but his side-foot flies high over the crossbar as Hungerford are obviously buoyed by that narrow escape. Ogbonna finds Canavan but his effort is deflected behind for a corner and Thorne’s follow up strike is well wide of the target. A free-kick just outside the area for Kettering, Brighton hits it but straight at the wall and the rebound is fired over the top by Solkhon.

A triple substitution for the visitors as Horgan, Clark and Collins are replaced by Rees, Goodger and Jarvis. Canavan is replaced by Brown for the Poppies with 70 minutes gone. Three minutes later another change for Poppies as Ogbonna is replaced by Williams. Good build up play from Kettering but again no finishing product as Brown can’t hit the target from the angle after being played in by Williams.

Goal!GOAL: Kettering break again after a spell of defending as Saul Williams does well to beat his man out wide and gets the ball into the feet of Courtney Baker-Richardson who fires low into the net past Gore to make it 2-0. That’s the clinical finishing that was missing from Tuesday night!

Elliott Sandy is replaced Andy Gooding by for the final 10 minutes of the game. A free-kick right on the edge of the area for Kettering but the wall does its job again for the visitors. Into the final five minutes with Kettering just making sure there’s no last minute slip ups and playing tidy at the back. Brighton’s chip is just over the crossbar as the final whistle approaches.

Goal!GOAL: Hungerford break, the ball is played in, McAlindon smothers the loose ball but the referee has spotted an offence and awards a penalty. A block by Langdon is the culprit, and the spot-kick is blasted past McAlindon by Mark Draycott and Hungerford have a goal back. Very late drama at Latimer Park deep into time added on as the visitors put their penalty away.

The whistle finally goes to the relief of the home support and Kettering hold on for a narrow 2-1 victory. The scoreline doesn’t really reflect the play and Kettering should have been comfortable winners but in the end they manage to get a vital win. Much better all round performance especially from the defence but the penalty miss could have proved costly. Marcus Law will have been pleased by the performance after Tuesday night but still plenty to work on for this Tuesday at home to high-flying Chippenham Town.

Att: 588

Kettering Town: McAlindon, Thorne, Kinniburgh, Solkhon, Langdon, Mulligan, Ogbonna, Brighton, Baker-Richardson, Canavan, Sandy. Subs: Brown, Gooding, Grocott, Marsden, Williams.

Hungerford Town: Gore, Horgan, John, Boardman, Day, Rusby, Collins, Clark, Stow, Draycott, Brown. Subs: Rees, Jones, Struds, Goodger, Jarvis.


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