O’Connor nets all four in Poppies 4-1 win at home to Hitchin Town to qualify for play-offs

Apr 14th, 2018

King's Lynn TownKettering Town

Kettering Town 4
O’Connor 8, 38, 48, 55

Hitchin Town 1
Bickerstaff 83(pen)

The disappointment of Thursday behind them, Kettering Town are back at Latimer Park this Saturday when they host Hitchin Town hoping to cement their place in the top five and consequently in the play-offs. They will be without the services of Kalern Thomas who was sent-off at Kings Lynn but will be looking to the goal scoring prowess of O’Connor and Stevens to see them through.

Goal!GOAL: The match gets underway at Latimer Park as an early effort goes wide of the target from Howe. Kettering already on the front foot and a cross from by Meikle is shielded by Howe and Aaron O’Connor fires into the back of the net. Great start for the home side and they take the lead on 8 minutes to the delight of the home support.

White gets down well to collect a through ball and at the other end Howe just beats the keeper ina race and pokes the ball towards goal but it’s narrowly cleared off the line by Syme helping out his keeper Johnson. Stohrer meets the recently returned Carvalho’s cross , it’s deflected for a corner but the visitors clear.

Goal!GOAL: The match has settled down into a pattern with Kettering have more of the possession but as yet not able to get past a stalwart visiting defence to add to their early lead. Marshall heads wide from a corner as Kettering begin to press before half-time comes. Meikle plays inside to Aaron O’Connor who switches to his left foot and hammers the ball past Johnson into the net. It’s 2-0 to Kettering from an O’Connor double.

Howe hones in on goal but a good tackle from the Hitchin central defender denies the Poppies striker making it three. There goes the half-time whistle. It hasn’t been a classic game of football this afternoon but Kettering have scored twice through Aaron O”Connor and look like they are heading towards the necessary points tally to secure their play-off spot.

Half-time:   Kettering Town 2   Hitchin Town 0

Goal!GOAL: The second-half gets underway at Latimer Park and Kettering pick up where they left off on the attack. Good build up play from Kettering as Mulligan finds Howe who unselfishly slides the ball across to Aaron O’Connor to slot home for his hat-trick. Barely three minutes into the start of the second 45 minute period and it looks to be game over at 3-0 to Poppies.

Goal!GOAL: No sooner had the match restarted than Kettering were back at their task, piling on the pressure against a shell-shocked Hitchin Town and a shot from Richens is deflected and guess who is on it in an instant to smash it into the back of the net, yes it’s that man Aaron O’Connor with his and Kettering’s fourth of the afternoon.

A switch for Kettering as Tom Marshall is carrying a knock and on comes Ben Milnes. He almost makes an immediate impact but his shot is tipped around the post by the stretching Johnston. Aaron O’Connor leaves the field to a standing ovation for his excellent contribution today to be replaced by another goal-scoring machine, Matty Stevens. The game is slowly petering out at Latimer Park as Rene Howe makes way for Rhys Hoenes for the final few minutes.

Goal!GOAL: Rhys Hoenes is booked for a dive after going down rounding the goal keeper. It was going to be offside anyway but the yellow card is produced for the Poppies substitute. A through ball for Hitchin and the referee points to the spot as McNamara is taken down inside the box. A give-away by Milnes after a professional Poppies performance. White is sent the wrong way by Bickerstaff and the ball nestles in the bottom corner. It’s 4-1.

Hitchin almost add a second as Poppies have switched off, but the ball just rolls wide of the upright. Another corner for the visitors in a late spell of pressure. It’s a shame Kettering couldn’t keep a clean sheet but four goals from Aaron O’Connor have given them a comfortable win this afternoon. Next up on Tuesday Kettering travel to bottom outfit Gosport Borough and then on Thursday night they host play-off rivals Weymouth. Kettering have now officially qualified for the play-offs and have five matches left to jostle for position withon the top five.

Att: 611

Kettering Town:

Hitchin Town: