Battling Poppies last gasp winners at home to AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Jan 1st, 2019

AFC Rushden & DiamondsKettering Town

Kettering Town 2
Meikle 73
Richens sent off 79
Hoenes 90

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
Hicks 53
Westbrook sent off 76

The local derby clash on New Year’s Day between Kettering Town and old rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Latimer Park is sure to produce a bumper crowd boosted by the fact that the two teams are currently in second and fourth places respectively. Kettering must keep the pressure on the current leaders and so will no doubt be going all out for a win today.

A reasonably cagey start as you’d expect but the first real effort flashes in from Hoenes who just clears the bar. At the other end the Poppies defence has to be alert to clear from the visitors’ corner. Holman tries a lob but it’s very weak and doesn’t trouble the Diamonds keeper.

Diamonds on the attack and a shot comes in that is blocked but continues moving as the Poppies defence stand watching it’s a one on one with Poppies keeper White spreading himself and the ball is stabbed wide of the upright by Lorraine. That should’ve been put away and a real escape for Kettering. Poppies defence looking a little ragged as White has to be alert to claim the ball under pressure.

The home fans wanting more from their side after a good opening spell as they have seen their team going a little flat in the last ten minutes or so. Ten minutes to the break and more is needed from the home side, especially in the final third, where one real chance is all they have to show so far. Westbrook catch Richens late and is shown the yellow card.

Holman has a cut to his eye area and he’s all bloody so leaves the field for treatment. He returns moments later as Westbrook fouls Hoenes and is walking a fine line having already been booked. Into a couple of minutes stoppage time but no further action and the referee blows for half-time. Two chances to Kettering, one to Diamonds, but no goals so far.

Half-time:   Kettering Town 0   AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0

The second-half gets underway, an early corner for Diamonds but Kettering defend well and break clear as Hoenes fires over the crossbar with the ball just bobbling as he struck it. Holman beats Brown but he’s brought down and receives a yellow card for the blatant foul. The free-kick eventually is deflected for a corner for Kettering. Free header but Towers puts it wide of the upright.

Goal!GOAL: Pressure coming in from the visitors and ex-Poppy Nathan Hicks is put through and a clinical finish into the bottom corner despite the stretching Paul White and Diamonds are in front. Kettering looking a little slow at the back again and haven’t really got going yet.

The visitors in the ascendancy here and Kettering will have to up their game to get back into this one. Kettering turn on the pressure and a good chance for Kelly after a knock down from Cunnington but he dragged it wide of the upright. Hicks concedes a corner to Kettering but it’s eventually cleared. Another good chance spurned by the Poppies. O’Connor comes on to replace Cunnington.

Goal!GOAL: Kettering break and substitute O’Connor races through and blasted it past the far post. It doesn’t look like Kettering have their shooting boots on today or they could have easily been in front instead of trailing by that single goal shortly after the break. A through ball to Lindon Meikle who looks up from 25yds out and hits a screamer into the back of the net and Kettering are level at 1-1.

A superb finish as we’ve come to expect from Meikle and it’s the home fans and the home team that are buzzing now. A free-kick on the edge of the box for Kettering is eventually scrambled clear and the Diamonds fans breathe a sigh of relief with their team under the cosh right now. Holman is fouled and Westbrook is again the culprit and it’s a second yellow and then red, Diamonds are down to ten men.

Would you believe it, Richens goes into a tackle and misses the ball gets the man and he’s off. Both sides down to ten men after a poor decision to dive in by Michael Richens. Solkhon comes on for scorer Meikle for the remaining few minutes. Kettering win another corner but it’s eventually cleared and their set pieces have been poor today.

Stohrer blasts one high over the crossbar in another Kettering attack. Other than the Meikle strike it’s been a case of lack of shooting boots for Kettering today. Diamonds make a quick change, into three minutes of time added on. Another change for the visitors who seem content to hold onto their point now.

Goal!GOAL: Kettering pressing until the last but can’t get that crucial shot on target despite having large numbers of Poppies shirts around the Diamonds area. The ball is played into the area and is headed back across by Kelly-Evans who finds Rhys Hoenes at the back post and he nods it over the line into the net. Amazing scenes of celebration as you’d expect and Kettering are 2-1 up.

There goes the final whistle and Kettering have comeback from a goal down to win dramatically right at the death and the whole team and managerial staff rush down the field to celebrate with the fans in the Tinhat end. Two dismissals and all the drama you’d expect of an old bitter rivalry and Kettering come away with all three points in a huge win.

Current leaders Stourbridge were held at home and the Poppies gain back two points after a dramatic afternoon that marks the best possible start to 2019 for Kettering Town who came from behind with a last gasp win over old rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds. I’m sure they’ll be plenty of celebrating and then it’s home to Tamworth on Saturday.

Att: 2,147

Kettering Town:

AFC Rushden & Diamonds: