Match Report - Merthyr Town
Kettering Town FC: 0
Merthyr Town: 1
Ryan Prosser 21
Kettering Town FC: 1
Wilson Carvalho 93
Liam Canavan 49
Dubi Ogbonna 56
Herve Pepe-Ngoma > Will Grocott58
Dubi Ogbonna > Andy Gooding63
James Brighton > Ben Stephens78
Merthyr Town: 1
Corey Jenkins > Guillem Bauza61
Jon Brown > Kayne McLaggon75
An excellent second half performance was rewarded with a stunning debut goal for Wilson Carvalho in added time, to equalise the Martyr’s 21st minute goal from Ryan Prosser. It was no less than The Poppies deserved.
With Ollie Thorne and Courtney Baker-Richardson injured, Gary Mulligan out with illness, Jevani Brown and Danny Harmon leaving the club and Saul Williams not selected, there were squad debuts and starts for ex-Corby duo Herve Pepe-Ngoma and Wilson Carvalho. Aston Villa loanee, Liam Bateman and Ben Stephens who signed last night from Oadby Town was on a four man bench with Will Grocott, Andy Gooding and Ben Baker.
There was no start for Rene Howe, whose international clearance remains with the Welsh FA.
Overnight snow did not have any effect on Merthyr’s 3G surface – although it was a very cold day with a biting northerly wind.
The Poppies started with purpose and forced an early corner and Wilson Carvalho’s 7th minute cross gave Dubi Ogbonna an opening - but he lost control of the ball.
The Martyrs soon gathered themselves with the tricky Ian Traylor firing wide and then setting up Jon Brown, who rattled the crossbar with a great effort in the 12th minute.
Kettering threatened next as a free kick was played to James Brighton and Brett Solkhon could just not get a header on the cross.
The home side took the lead on 21 minutes. Tall centre forward, Ryan Prosser, had won everything in the air – but on this occasion found himself unchallenged about 14 yards out and struck a firm shot past Craig Hill.
Right from the kick-off, Kettering had a great chance to equalize as Brighton crossed low from the left only to see Liam Canavan put his left foot shot wide.
Merthyr had a lot of possession and seemed naturally more comfortable with the playing surface and were asking some questions at this stage, with The Poppies holding out and preventing shots on goal.
In fact, on the half hour, it was Kettering who came closest to a goal. Ogbonna was sent clear on the left in the area and about to shoot got an intervention from Cortez Belle. With Kettering fans behind the goal convinced it was a penalty - the Referee was not having it.
Still Merthyr had the possession without forcing Hill into any real action and it was Kettering who had the next effort- the last in the half - as Elliot Sandy headed over at the near post from Brighton’s cross from the right.
Kettering completely dominated the second half.
As early as the 47th minute another penalty appeal for a foul on Carvalho was declined by the Referee.
Brett Solkhon got forward to set up Canavan, and despite being impeded, he got his shot in and the ball just cleared the bar.
Kettering’s third and most conclusive penalty shout saw Dom Langdon clearly checked and fouled as he got round the defender. Still the Referee saw no foul.
On the hour a rare home attack saw Corey Jenkins loop a high header, which saw Hill scrambling to palm away at the angle of the left post and crossbar.
Soon Kettering were threatening again as Carvalho’s shot was deflected to Tom Bradley in the home goal.
There was then a great chance for an equaliser as Canavan got clear and Bradley made a good save. With Solkhon following up the loose ball, Bradley did even better to make the second save as Solkhon’s left foot shot was somehow kept out.
Brighton’s 74th minute free kick was blocked with a head as the defensive wall advanced forward and in the next minute, Sandy looped a header just over from Chris Carruthers’ cross from the left.
Home substitute, Guillem Bauza, then got a shot in which was deflected away for an unproductive corner.
The Poppies were throwing men forward and Will Grocott, Andy Gooding and debutant, Ben Stephens were thrown into the fray.
Carvalho’s 80th minute right foot shot from the left was into the side netting, and both Stephens and Carvalho, again, saw Bradley save both shots.
Just two minutes from time, Canavan had a sight of goal – but the 20 yard shot went agonizingly wide.
As the game drifted into added time, and with supporters fearing another narrow and undeserved defeat, The Poppies equalised with a stunning goal.
Another well worked move saw Cavalho, this time on the right, create an opening and his 18 yard rocket gave Bradley no chance as the ball hit the back of the net, high to his left. It was worth the entrance fee alone.
The Poppies now move on to two home games next week, at home to FA Cup giant killers, Chesham United on Tuesday and to league leaders Poole Town on Saturday.
Attendance: 469 (Poppies Fans: About 80)
Poppies Man of the Match: Liam Bateman