Graham Westley

Graham Westley

Kettering Town manager from April 2007 to June 2007

Graham Westley was appointed temporary manager following the sacking of Morell Maison with the specific purpose of taking Kettering through the Conference North play-offs and into the Conference National.

With just two matches left of the 2006-07 season to prepare, Westley took charge of his first match away to Stalybridge Celtic which ended in a 0-0 draw. The final regular fixture of the 2006-07 season was a home game against Alfreton Town, Kettering lost 1-0, hardly the best preparation for the forthcoming play-offs.

With the regular season now over and Kettering having finished in 2nd place, Westley turned his attentions to the play-offs and a two legged Semi-Final against Farsley Celtic. The 1st leg was at Throstle’s Nest and the home side took a 1-0 lead and could easily have gone three-up before Kettering gradually edged back into the game, equalising with a goal by Brett Solkhon and despite the Poppies finishing the stronger of the two teams the match ended 1-1.

The 2nd-leg at Rockingham Road, recently renamed the A-Line Stadium, three days later, again saw Farsley start the stronger and despite all their huff and puff, Kettering never really looked the attacking side they were earlier in the season and after 90 minutes it still remained deadlocked at 0-0.

Thirty minutes of extra-time later still hadn’t separated the two sides and so it was onto penalties. Brett Solkhon took the first and hit the bar, with Reeves putting away his to give Farsley a 1-0 lead. Darren Caskey scored his, but Midgley restored Farsley’s advantage directly after. Nathan Peprah missed his penalty and when Grant scored to put Celtic 3-1 up the outcome was all but inevitable. John Dempster scored to give Kettering a slim hope, but on the next spot-kick Bambrook scored to put Farsley through 4-2 on penalties.

Westley’s short-lived reign was over and had ended in abject failure, Kettering were out of the play-offs at the Semi-Final stage and any ideas of promotion were completely crushed for another season. Although the statistics are slightly distorted due to the relevant significance of the first two matches compared to the last two games of Westley’s brief tenure, his record in charge of Kettering Town reads:

Won 0, Drawn 3, Lost 1 (.. although you could argue that the 2nd-leg was technically a loss on penalties, it hardly matters as to the end result), scoring just a single goal in the four matches.

The dramatic appointment had the potential to end in a climatic success and in the process create a legend, but in the end all it created was a footnote to another season of disappointment for the supporters.