Stevens’ double gives Poppies narrow 2-1 win away to Dunstable Town

Apr 7th, 2018

Kettering TownDunstable Town

Dunstable Town 1
A.Amu 52(pen)

Kettering Town 2
Stevens 45, 71

Another postponed fixture on Easter Monday should at least see Kettering Town fresh and rested for this Saturday’s away trip to bottom but-one outfit Dunstable Town. Kettering are only two victories away from securing their play-off berth and joining King’s Lynn, with Weymouth point behind the Linnets and this Saturday provides a good opportunity to gain a victory and move closer to the play-offs.

The match gets underway, Poppies in their familiar red and black strip and their hosts in blue and white stripes. An early yellow card for a foul on Bateman. Kettering looking a little shaky in the first ten minutes or so and the home side have a half-chance which is spurned to the relief of the Poppies traveling faithful.

The pitch has that end-of-season look, sandy, bobbly and very patchy grass, but Kettering starting to get into this one now as Stevens forces Harness into a good save. Another strike from Stevens on the bounce files wide of the target as Kettering beginning to get much more of the play now after a shaky start. Marshall with a good free kick that the young Harness tips over the crossbar and the corner is cleared.

Howe heads over, another half-decent chance at Creasy Park for the Poppies. A very scrappy first half as a Dunstable corner is easily cleared and at the other end Howe nods in Stevens who puts his effort wide of the upright. A lot of decent chances for Kettering but they don’t appear to have their shooting boots on so far this afternoon. A strike just outside the box clears White’s crossbar.

Goal!GOAL: Rene Howe goes into the book, after what looked like a clash of heads, which bewilders Howe and certainly everyone from the Poppies side of the fence. Not sure what happened but their player has a bloody nose for his trouble as the two opposing managers exchange words. Play resumes as Matty Stevens is on the spot to get the final touch that beats youngster Harness in the home goal. Stroke of half-time and Poppies lead 1-0.

Half-time:   Dunstable Town 0   Kettering Town 1

Goal!GOAL: The second-half gets underway and Kettering settling quickly back into the match. An early change for Dunstable as Mullins enters the fray for Dunstable. A very bad mistake from Solkhon, who first lets the ball through and then pulls back the players for an easy penalty decision. Solkhon is booked and the ball is on the spot. The penalty strike is straight down the middle and into the net. It’s 1-1 and Kettering have it all to do again.

Penalty apart (as that was an easy decision), poor officiating is dragging this match into the mire in the second-half. Kettering looked to be in on goal as Matty Stevens shaped to shoot, but the referee pulls play back to award Kettering a free-kick 30 yards out. Corner to the Poppies, played in, played out and another corner. This one’s a better delivery but O’Connor just fails to connect and it goes for a goal kick.

Goal!GOAL: Ben Milnes comes on to replace Marshall as Kettering look to be going for the win at Creasy Park. A free-kick to Kettering, played in by Milnes is very low and put behind for a corner. The corner comes in, O’Connor heads against the crossbar, but that man Matty Stevens fires it into the net to restore the Poppies narrow lead at 2-1.

Another switch for Dunstable as Lamptey replaces Langlais. White beaten on the cross to the back post but the ball hits the side netting to the relief of the Poppies traveling fans. Into the final few minutes at Creasy Park as Kettering are looking to see this one out but the home side desperate for points as only one team will be relegated this season. O’Connor is replaced by Rhys Hoenes.

Howe plays in Stevens but the young keeper sticks out a foot and pushes the ball away to deny Stevens a hat-trick. Harness stretches to deny Kettering again after a good build up and then a bit of desperate defending by Poppies defence as they were almost caught on a swift counter-attack. Dunstable haven’t given up but Kettering are on the attack again but the referee blows for a foul on the keeper.

Ogden replaces Ladipo for the home side into the last few minutes. A corner for Kettering as Hoenes couldn’t find the net. It’s played in and teed up by Meikle but he slices it well wide of the upright. Kettering definitely not having their shooting boots on today and should’ve been well out of sight by now. Into time added on by the referee as White collects a cross to calm the Poppies nerves.

The final whistle sounds on an afternoon where Kettering made really hard work of their narrow victory. They never looked comfortable but somehow managed to get a couple of goals to record the victory and that is what counts at this stage of the season. Next up should be the Hillier Cup Final against Brackley Town and then off to King’s Lynn Town on Thursday in the league.

Att: 259

Kettering Town: White, Thomas, Bateman, Marshall, Pendley, Solkhon, Meikle, O’Connor, Howe, Stevens, Richens. Subs: Mulligan, Hoenes, Milnes, Stohrer, Carvalho.

Dunstable Town: Harness, Kidso, Okito, Langlais, Sonoga, Trif, Young, A.Ward, Osei-Bonsu, A.Amu. Subs: T.Ward. Ogden, Lamptey, Mullings, E.Amu.