Poppies kick off new campaign with a goaless draw at WeymouthAug 18th, 2012
Kettering Town 0
Kettering Town start their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign with a trip to Weymouth on Saturday. Due to the fall out from last season Kettering will start with a ten point penalty but at least new manager John Beck has not been subject to a player embargo. Poppies fans will be scanning the team sheet and trying to match shirt numbers with unfamiliar faces as there will no names on the shirts and no squad numbers this season to help them out.
Kettering managed to cram in nine preseason friendlies before Saturday’s big kick-off and most of the playing time was split between John Beck’s slowly increasing squad and a whole host of trialists, with the Poppies having to pull together a squad virtually from scratch for this season’s campaign.
Another unfamiliar sight for Poppies fans should be unveiled on Saturday as Kettering have a completely new away strip which harks back to their early beginnings some 140 years ago. The strip will consist of blue and white hooped shirts with white shorts, while the home strip retains the more familiar red and black design.
Moyo breaks through for Kettering early on but is brought down and the referee produces the first yellow card of the match. Gathercole looking a little unsure in the Poppies goal throughout the first ten minutes or so and will need to quickly settle down. Palmer can’t quite get a clean head on a Hervel cross as Kettering continue to threaten the home defence.
A corner whipped in by Hervel is tipped over the bar by Evans from the head of Gerring and Evans just manages to punch clear as the ball is played in for the second time. The ball flicked on by Beckles at the far post is met by Mayo but it’s straight at keeper Evans who holds onto the shot. Gathercole appears to have settled in and is looking more comfortable between the posts for Kettering.
Gerring comes close with another header for Kettering as Evans scrambles to keep the ball from crossing the line. Smith comes close for the home side but Gathercole gets down well to collect the ball and at the other end a shot by Mayo goes wide of the target for Kettering.
Half-time: Weymouth 0 Kettering Town 0
An early chance at the start of the second-half as Mayo races clear but sliced his shot and it goes well wide of the target. A poor challenge by Clay and the referee produces the second yellow card of the game. A little scrappy as we approach the hour mark as both sides conceding too many free kicks in the middle of the park. Ex-Poppy Ben Joyce comes on to replace Ford for Weymouth.
Smith fires across the area but Gathercole comes out to intercept and easily collects the ball to clear the danger. Another poor kick from Gathercole and Smith fires across the goal again but just clears the far post with nobody able to put the finishing touch to force it home. Read played in by Smith but his effort is hit way high over the crossbar much to the relief of the traveling Poppies support.
Radford puts the ball in from wide and Beckles had his shot deflected behind for a corner that the home side eventually manage to clear. Kettering’s Palmer goes into the referee’s notebook with the third yellow card of the afternoon and into the final fifteen minutes of this closely fought opening encounter. Smith gets an effort on goal but Gathercole is quick to react and makes the save to keep Kettering on level terms. A long range effort flashes just past the post from Stephen Reed as the home side pressure the Poppies goal.
Moyo races clear and couldn’t quite find Byerley at the back post but he wins a corner. The ball played in is cleared out and a wayward effort from Bonnett-Johnson is well off target. Almost end-to-end as we go into the final ten minutes and Beck makes his first change as Michael King comes on to replace Ryan Hervel. Jaimie Griffiths picks up the ball and races through but his effort is wide of the post with none of his team mates able to provide the finishing touch with the 90 minutes of normal time about up.
At the final whistle it’s honours even which is probably a fair result as Kettering shaded the first 45 minutes but the home side came back stronger in the second-half. Neither side able to find their finishing touches in front of goal and Kettering probably satisfied with a point at what they had perceived as being a difficult start away to Weymouth.
Kettering Town: Gathercole, Gerring, Burns, Radford, Palmer, Beckles, Hervel, Bonnett-Johnson, Griffiths, Byerley, Mayo. Subs: King, Langston, Walker, Peake, Bolaji.
Weymouth: Evans, McConnell, Walker, Critchell, Dixon, Clark, Poole, Reed, Ford, Duff, D.Smith. Subs: Joyce, Jeannin, Groves, Clarke, Povall.