Two penalties put Poppies out , beaten 3-1 away to Slough Town in play-off semi-final

May 2nd, 2018

Kettering TownSlough Town

Slough Town 3
Coles 13
Dobson 52(pen), 71(pen)

Kettering Town 1
O’Connor 35

On Wednesday evening it’s crunch time for Kettering Town as they travel to take on Slough Town in one of the two Semi-Finals, the other being Weymouth at King’s Lynn. Poppies fans are hoping it’s not a case of Deja Vu having lost out to the Rebels before in a play-off match. Kettering could be without the services of Brett Solkhon who suffered a groin injury in the last match at Farnborough and Tom Marshall is still recovering from an earlier injury.

The home side having by far the better of the early exchanges and took the lead on 13 minutes when the Poppies defence failed to clear. The Poppies looking really fragile at the back and could easily have been 2 or 3 down within the first half-hour. The Poppies attack finally switched on and had the ball in the net but Stevens was adjudged to have been offside.

Much better from Kettering as they approach the half-time whistle but they still have it all to do as they trail from that early Slough goal. Another attack builds up from Kettering and finds Aaron O’Connor who takes it on and beats the keeper, this time it counts. Kettering are back on level terms at 1-1 with 35 minutes gone. Matty Stevens one on one with the keeper but he balloons it over the crossbar. Golden opportunity for Poppies.

Half-time:   Slough Town 1   Kettering Town 1

The second-half gets underway and the first high drama is on 52 minutes with the referee pointing to the penalty spot and showing Michael Richens the yellow card. They get away with going a man down but Dobson makes no mistake and Slough Town are back in front. Certainly not a penalty if you ask anyone from the Kettering camp, but they aren’t the ones making the decisions as we’ve seen several times this afternoon.

It’s nip and tuck with both sides battling away but unable to produce the killer ball into the final third at the moment. The game is a bit back and forth without the end product. It needs a creative spark from somewhere. O’Connor picks up an injury and has to go off to be replaced by Ben Milnes. He almost makes an instant impact but Howe’s header is cleared off the line.

Disaster for Kettering now. Paul White drops a cross and in a scrambled attempt to retrieve it brings down the player and it’s another penalty. He is lucky to escape with a yellow but White is again beaten by Dobson and Poppies are 3-1 dowm and heading for an exit. Two very bad defensive errors and a sloppy tackle. Kettering lacking in bite up front since O’Connor went off.

Mitch Austin has been sent to the stands as Kettering are really under the cosh from the officials this evening. Stevens is replaced by Wilson Carvalho for Poppies and Coles replaced by Williams for Slough. Into the final ten minutes and Kettering look all out of sorts since the second penalty went in. Corner to Poppies but well headed over by Pendley.

Half chances at either end but not really quality finishing and not looking as though the scoreline will change. Stohrer replaces Thomas for the final few minutes of this one which is just about done. Which sadly means it’s same ol same ol for Poppies next season. A late corner and Milnes header is cleared off the line. It’s certainly not been Kettering’s afternoon and certainly not in defence. Kettering defending corner at the wrong end and the home team wasting as much time as possible.

Deep into stoppage time and there goes the final whistle, not the best performance by a long shot by Poppies and again they find themselves wanting in the play-offs and again are out at the hands of Slough. Congrats to Slough and they will meet King’s Lynn Town in the Final on Monday.


Kettering Town:

Slough Town: