Poppies clinch championship with narrow 1-0 win at Halesowen Town

Apr 13th, 2019

Kettering TownHalesowen Town

Halesown Town 0

Kettering Town 1
Hoenes 19

With the title almost in their grasp, Kettering Town have struggled in recent matches to finish off the race and claim the championship. Today’s trip to Halesowen Town provides them with perhaps their best chance yet to clinch the title. With four matches remaining and the Poppies 12 pts clear of second-placed Stourbridge, it seems almost certain Kettering will be champions,but need to claim that vital point that makes it official.

The match gets underway at the Grove with Kettering looking to gain at least a point but the home side will not just let them get away with it easy. The traveling support, who have come to see their team claim the championship, are in good voice cheering on their team. Hoenes jinxs around outside the area but his shot is blocked and the corner is easily cleared. Holman tries to chip the keeper but his effort is well saved.

Goal!GOAL: It’s a booking for stopping play and a free-kick fettering but again it’s easily cleared. Rowe-Turner looking a little edgy, as are Kettering in general, as they concede a corner, but White collects well. Kelly-Evans plays in Rhys Hoenes and his flicked effort sneaks just inside the far post to break the deadlock. It’s 1-0 to Kettering on 19 minutes and they are on their way.

Gary Stohrer comes on to replace the injured Kelly-Evans on 32 minutes. Another corner to Poppies, it’s played in by Kelly, but a push on a defender concedes a free-kick to Halesown. Platt saves from Meikle to deny the Poppies a second goal. Platt again to the rescue for the hosts, this time from Holman’s strike on target.

Half-time:   Halesowen Town 0   Kettering Town 1

The second-half gets underway and early pressure from the home side as Kettering concede a second corner, the ball comes in and it’s a scramble but behind for a goal-kick. Kettering win their seventh corner of the game but a free header by Stanley is wide of the target. Dallow is replaced by Gilpin for Halesowen and two minutes later Molyneux is replaced by Marsella. Kettering make their second substitution as Hoenes is replaced by Milnes.

Halesowen’s Lawtin is booked for a foul on Kelly. Stanley is being replaced by Solkhon for Poppies for the remaining 15 minutes or so. A free-kick for Kettering on the edge of the area. Milnes steps up, lifts it over the wall, the keeper spills it, Holman lofts it up over the keeper but Platt pushes it over the crossbar and the resulting corner is cleared. The hosts on the attack and Poppies looking all over the place at the back as Jack Kelly is bundles over but booked for simulation. A huge let-off for Kettering there.

Joint manager of the hosts Lee Hughes makes an appearance for the final five minutes or so. Kettering’s defence looking a little edgy at the moment. A good chance for the hosts but it’s blasted over the crossbar. White yelling at his defence for opening up so easily under pressure. Kelly hits a good strike but it’s stopped on the line and the drama continues. Kelly wins a corner as yet again Platt rescues his side from going further behind, it’s eventually cleared.

There goes the final whistle and Kettering Town are champions! It wasn’t a vintage performance but given the nerves and the situation they got the win to finish it off in style with three games remaining. The champagne can be taken off the ice and the celebrations can get underway.

Att:

Kettering Town: White, Richens, Kelly-Evans, Stanley, Towers, Rowe-Turner, Meikle, Kelly, O’Connor, Hoenes, Holman. Subs: Brighton, Toseland, Solkhon, Stohrer, Milnes.

Halesown Town: Platt, Ekongo, Griffiths, Lawton, Morris, Mendez-Jones, Dallow, Birch, Molyneux, Kelly, O’Neill-Martin. Subs: Nabi, Gilpin, Marsella, Charlton, Hughes.