Sloppy Poppies beaten by Hemel Hempstead Town in their home openerAug 20th, 2012
Kettering Town 1
Hemel Hempstead Town 2
Kettering Town started their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign with a tough 0-0 draw away to Weymouth last Saturday and host Hemel Hempstead Town in their home opener on Tuesday night at Nene Park. Hemel started their campaign with a narrow 2-1 home win over Chippenham Town courtesy of goals from Pearce, in the 5th minute, and Campana, who restored the host’s lead five minutes into the second-half after Griffith had leveled for the visitors shortly before the break.
The visitors are in their neon green away strip with Kettering playing in their usual home red and black colours. The home side settling early and pressing the visitors goal with back to back corners which Hemel manage to eventually clear upfield. Byerley flicked a ball goalwards but the visitors keeper pushes it out with his fingertips and as the ball is played in the referee blows for a foul on Osborne.
GOAL: Oscar Radford throws a dangerous looking ball into the area which is flicked on by Omar Beckles and Warren Byerley is on hand to head the ball past Osborne to make it 1-0 to Kettering with 15 minutes gone. Straight down the other end and Laurie Walker makes a fine save down low to deny what would have been a very quick equaliser for Hemel.
Mayo one on one with Osborne but the Hemel keeper makes a good save to keep the deficit down to a single goal still. Osobu’s pace is causing concern for Kettering but so far Ed Palmer has kept up well with the pacey Hemel striker. A fierce drive by Osobu just flies past the left post with Walker watching on. Kettering make an early substitution as Micheal King replaces Robert Peake who looks to have picked up a knock. A header by Pearce just goes the other side of the upright much to the relief of Walker in the Poppies goal.
Oscar Radford drives an effort just over the crossbar at one end while at the other Pearce tries to make amends for his earlier effort but repeats the miss putting it well wide of the target for Hemel. A cross from the left side is headed down by Osubu and bounces just over Laurie Walker’s crossbar. Osubu picks up the ball again but this time Palmer clears the danger for Kettering.
Half-time: Kettering Town 1 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
The visitors coming out pumped up for the second-half and an early effort just wide of the target from Hinds signals Hemel’s intent. Back to back corners for Kettering without a shot on target and it’s played behind again for another corner. Burn’s outswinger eventually finds Radford who narrowly clears the crossbar as his dipping effort beats the keeper but can’t quite dip under the bar in time. Langston intercepts a Hemel break at the other end as the match continues to flow back and forth.
GOAL: At the hour mark and Kettering still leading by that first-half goal from Byerley. A good save from Walker keeps Kettering’s lead intact as Hemel press for an equaliser and back to back corners for Kettering sees Walker impeded and wins a free kick. Walker palms away for a corner and as the ball comes in he’s clearly obstructed but the ball is in the net and Hemel are level through Dave King‘s volley.
Desperate defending from Kettering at the moment as Hemel having all the pressure on the Poppies goal. Osubu is replaced by Alex Campana for Hemel. Mayo almost restores Kettering’s lead but it’s deflected behind for a corner and Hemel manage to clear the ball in off the line and break forward. Walker does well to save the shot as it’s powered in on the Poppies goal. Real end to end stuff as the match is delicately balanced at 1-1.
GOAL: Kettering pressing the visitor’s goal heading into the final 15 minutes of the match. Hemel bring off Mpi and on comes Judge to replace him. Into the final 5 minutes of normal time and either side could still steal this one. A Hemel corner is finally scrambled away by a desperate Poppies defence. Poor marking by the home defence allows Hemel to force home what surely must be the match winner by Matt Nolan who is given plenty of time to pick his spot and volley home.
McCrae replaced by Will Glazio but it’s too little too late for Kettering as they head into time added on. Mayo balloons a strike over the bar as time runs out for Kettering to salvage anything from this one. The referee brings the match to an end and an inconsistent performance from Kettering was certainly not good enough as they allow Hemel to come from behind and condemn the Poppies to a narrow 2-1 defeat in their home opener.
Kettering Town: Walker, Burns, Radford, Palmer, Gerring, Langston, McCrae, Beckles, Mayo, Byerley, Peake. Subs: Blazio, Gathercole, Hervel, King.
Hemel Hempstead Town: Osborn, May, Hutchins, Bruce, King, Holmes, Mpi, O’Leary, Pearce, Nolan, Osubu. Subs: Gilbert, Judge, Campana, Duckett, Beagle.