Resurgent Poppies 3-1 winners at home to AFC Hayes

AFC HayesKettering Town

Kettering Town 3
Clifton 70, 83
Gooding 88

AFC Hayes 1
Hareward 45

Kettering Town host struggling AFC Hayes at Latimer Park on Tuesday night with nothing other than a win on their minds as they enter their final five matches of the league campaign. The first of three fixtures in five days will determine Kettering’s chances of making the play-offs and the hope that at least one of the other teams in contention slips up in their remaining fixtures.

The match gets underway at Latimer Park and Kettering straight into the attack with Henry Eze creating the best chance so far that forces a superb save out of the visiting keeper. Hayes putting up a determined resistance in the first twenty minutes and causing a few concerns with their pace up front, but thus far the Poppies defence is coping well.

Some good build up play from Kettering and Dubi Ogbonna looking lively up front but as yet unable to produce that clinical finish needed in front of goal. Another fine save from the Hayes keeper from a searing drive from James Clifton on the edge of the area. Another good opportunity on the half-hour mark but Andy Gooding somehow blasts over the crossbar from close in.

Goal!GOAL: Heading into the break, Kettering still trying to break down a determined Hayes rearguard despite having several clear-cut chances. Moreman snatches at a chance and it flies well wide of the target. A poor corner from Gooding, the big boot up field and Kettering are once again caught napping. Right on the stroke of half-time a lapse in the Poppies defence is clinically punished by Andy Hareward and Hayes take the lead.

Ogbonna wastes another golden opportunity with just the keeper to beat as he blasts it wide of the target. Into stoppage time as Hayes having to defend a Poppies free-kick but it comes to naught and the half-time whistle is greeted by deadly silence from the Poppies home support.

Half-time:   Kettering Town 0   AFC Hayes 1

The second-half gets underway at Latimer Park with Henry Eze hitting the crossbar and the follow-up from Moreman apparently without his shooting boots well wide of the target. Hamilton races clear and looks to be brought down by the Hayes keeper but he escapes with a yellow card. The free-kick is poor and comes back off the wall. Kettering struggling to produce the usual quality as again the visitor’s goal leads a charmed life. Kettering win a corner but it’s easily cleared.

Hayes currently looking for the double over Kettering having beaten the Poppies 2-1 earlier in the season and now leading 1-0. Kettering win a free-kick just outside the area, played in by Gooding but Eze can’t make the connection. Approaching the hour mark and Kettering still can’t find that final third pass that leads to the clinical finish. At the other end Worby saves the blushes with a good block. Jonathon Bukasa is shown the yellow card for a foul.

Ogbonna wins a corner, swung in by Gooding but another fine save from Clifton by the Hayes keeper. Another corner swung in by Fuller leads to another save and a third corner to Kettering. This time played in by Gooding and its headed just wide of the upright. It just wont go in for Kettering tonight with their play-off chances on the line.

Goal!GOAL: Yet another corner as the Poppies pile on the pressure, it’s cleared off the line, but only as far as James Clifton who smashes it into the corner of the net. Finally Kettering are back on level terms at 1-1. The pressure finally told on the visitors defence and Kettering are looking to get a second to keep alive their play-off hopes.

Another corner for Kettering who are pressing again, but again it’s scrambled clear. Sandy comes on to replaced Hamilton and Hayes make a change for the final twenty minutes plus stoppage time. A fine build up from Kettering and all Ogbonna has to do is tap it home but he somehow blasts it over the bar from very close in. Another substitution for Hayes who try to counter quickly but this time the Poppies defence is alert.

Sandy and Moreman combine to win another corner. Swung in by Gooding but the goalkeeper punches clear and the follow-up strike by Sandy is again kept out by a superb save from the Hayes keeper. Corner after corner coming from Kettering as they pile on the pressure with ten minutes plus stoppage time remaining to save their dwindling play-off chances.

Goal!GOAL: The umpteenth corner for Kettering is swung in by Andy Gooding and it’s flicked on by James Clifton‘s head and into the net. Amazing scenes from the home support and Kettering players as they celebrate together. Suddenly the Poppies play-off chances are re-ignited as they head into the final few minutes now leading 2-1.

Goal!GOAL: Elliott Sandy is played in and goes one-on-one with the keeper who makes the initial save but the follow-up is swept into an empty net by the supporting Andy Gooding. That should settle any nerves and neatly wrap the points up for Kettering as they lead 3-1 with normal time almost up.

Into four minutes of stoppage time at Latimer Park. Kettering almost score a fourth but the strike by Moreman after a good build up is well wide. Josh Moreman replaced by Aiden Bradshaw for Kettering to see out the final few minutes. Bradshaw immediately wins a corner, swung in by Fuller but punched clear by the Hayes keeper. The final whistle brings Kettering a vital 3pts and another step closer to the play-offs after a great comeback. Next up it’s an away trip to Egham Town on Thursday night.

Att: 648

Kettering Town: Worby, Clifton, Kinniburgh, Gooding, Eze, Bukasa, Hamilton (Sandy 69), Jepson (Fuller 46), Ogbonna, Moreman (Bradshaw 90), Logan. Subs: Osei-Siribour, Muzvimbiri.

AFC Hayes: Khiara, Paul, Crane, Walters, Hart (Reuben 72), Underwood, McManus (Vincent 73), Cass, Harewood, Jordan (Thomas 72), Rabess. Unused Subs: McKee, Laferille.


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