Poppies 1-0 winners away to Hitchin Town in season opener

Aug 11th, 2018

Kettering TownHitchin Town

Hitchin Town 0

Kettering Town 1
Hoenes 22

It’s a new season and a fresh start for Kettering Town as they travel to Top Field take on old rivals Hitchin Town. The Poppies don’t have too many new faces in their line-up today but will need to get off to a good start is this new-look re-shuffled Southern League Premier Division Central.

Goal!GOAL: The home side pressing from the kick-off and Kettering have some early defending to do but finally settle down and start to get into the game It may be a new look league for Poppies but it’s a familiar name that gives them the lead as Rhys Hoenes meets a cross to steer it past a stretching Michael Johnson and the ball spins over the goal line to make it 1-0 on 22 minutes.

Hitchin regain their composure after the setback of going a goal behind and Paul White stretches to tip a shot over the crossbar and his defence clears the resulting corner to maintain the Poppies’ slender lead. Another half-chance for the the home side before the break but the Poppies looking solid at the back and take the narrow 1-0 lead into the half-time break.

Half-Time:   Hitchin Town 0   Kettering Town 1

Kettering get the match back underway at Top Field with Ben Toseland having been replaced by Michael Shamalo. Not much happening since the break as the match has gotten a little scrappy as both sides try to gain the upper-hand but neither can gain control of the ball for lengthy periods. Substitute Shamalo get in a good cross but this time Hoenes can’t quiet reach it to be able to poke it home.

Twenty minutes remaining and still Kettering lead by that first-half Hoeness goal. Hitchin make some changes as King and Charles replace Kirkpatrick and Green. A double substitution for the Poppies on 77 minutes as Brett Solkhon and Andre Borg come on to replace Michael Richens and Rhys Hoenes. A swift counter-attack from a Hitchin corner sees Borg outpace defender Syme but shoots straight at the keeper Johnson.

A late warning from the Canaries as Charles beats the Poppies defence out wide but his cross doesn’t get the attention it deserves and the shot is wide of the target to the relief of the Poppies traveling support. Four minutes of time added on for Kettering to hold on and claim all three points. Another good opportunity in the dying minutes of stoppage time for the home side but Charles shoots wide of the goal.

After a couple of close calls, there goes the final whistle and Rhys Hoenes’ first-half goal is enough to give the Poppies a win in their season opener. Next up is their home opener as they host King’s Lynn Town at Latimer Park on Tuesday night. Plenty to work on for Kettering but off to a winning start shows promise for the coming season.

Att: 470

Kettering Town: White, Berry, Toseland, Stohrer, Meikle, Milnes, Hoenes, Kelly-Evans, Towers, Richens, Rowe-Turner. Subs: Solkhon, pendley, Shamalo, Borg, Rhiney.

Hitchin Town: Johnson, Fraser, Syme, Spring, Webb, Farrell, Green, Smith, Kirkpatrick, Bailey, Bickerstaff. Subs: Charles, McCaffrey, Forde, King, Tshikala.