Match Report - Biggleswade Town
The Poppies sunk the Waders tonight in arguably their best league performance of the season. Two goals in the first 15 minutes from Will Grocott and Ollie Thorne set the scene, and although Sam Merson reduced the arrears after 34 minutes, second half substitute Silvano Obeng sealed the points in the 86th minute.
Manager, Marcus Law sprang a surprise as he brought in goalkeeper, Craig Hill on dual registration from Oxford City. Fit again Ollie Thorne replaced the injured Steve Kinniburgh. Gary Mulligan started, albeit having limped off last Saturday.
Biggleswade started well and the Poppies scrambled away a first minute free kick and early corner.
It was the Poppies who created the first chance on 4 minutes as Liam Canavan’s left foot volley was inches over Jamie Head’s crossbar.
Head could do nothing three minutes later as Kettering took the lead. Will Grocott came in from the right, created an opening, and beat the keeper to his right with a low left foot drive in at the far post.
This seems to spur on Kettering, who were playing some lovely football. On 12 minutes. Courtney Baker-Richardson, on the left got past Head as the keeper advanced and only a fantastic goal line stop by Ryan Frater prevented a two goal lead. From the ensuing corner, Canavan fired across goal.
It was 2-0 on 15 minutes. James Brighton’s corner on the right was met by Ollie Thorne’s header. The ball came off the left upright and was cleared, but the Assistant ruled that the ball had crossed the line.
Kettering keeper Craig Hill saved a shot and took a cross, as a stunned Biggleswade turned up the pressure. Then Ian Rees hit a poor left foot shot well wide.
The Poppies threatened again on 25 minutes, with Brighton’s corner finding Brett Solkhon, but Head did well to punch away. Soon a great one-two saw Grocott set up Canavan and the volley was just wide.
Biggleswade’s Craig Daniel had space on the right on 32 minutes, but dragged his low shot wide of Hill’s right post. A minute later the arrears were reduced.
A high ball was played through and with Tony Burnett in an offside position but not active, the defence seemed to switch off. Sam Merson (son of the great Paul) took advantage as he ran on from an onside position on the left. With Hill struggling, he got a touch on the ball as it dropped and it fell past the stranded keeper to allow Merson an easy poke into the goal.
Kettering kept coming forward and Grocott’s shot was blocked and Dubi Ogbonna clipped the rebound wide. Then, just on the break, Brighton’s free kick was headed just over by Canavan.
The second period saw Kettering soon on the front foot. Baker-Richardson fired wide and Ogbonna’s neat turn saw his left foot rocket just clear the bar. The same two players threatened a couple of minutes later as Baker-Richardson got past Head in a wide position and squared the ball for Ogbonna - but Head did very well to recover and save.
Brighton’s delivery was very good all night and his 53rd minute cross to the back post saw Baker-Richardson unable to get a firm header on target. This was to be the young striker’s last contribution and he limped off to be replaced by Jevani Brown on 56 minutes.
Another flowing move from Kettering saw Head save from the lively Ogbonna. Biggleswade’s first effort on goal in the half saw Merson’s 57th minute free kick drift wide of the left upright. Then a chance created by Lewis Hilliard saw his shot just over the bar.
On 62 minutes, Jevani Brown wriggled clear on the left and the cross was taken by Head. The Waders tried to respond and Hilliard’s free kick found Merson’s head - but Hill was well placed to save.
The Poppies were always well in this game and had another purple patch in the last quarter of the game. Head had been the busier of the two keepers and made a great double save to deny Ogbonna and Brighton. Canavan had two shots well blocked in the 77th and 82nd minutes, as Kettering controlled the play. Silvano Obeng replaced the tiring Ogbonna after 75 minutes.
Despite all the visitors’ pressure, The Waders could have equalised in the 83rd minute as that man Merson hit the bar with a header. The ball came off the bar onto Canavan’s head and his involuntary header went for a corner.
The points were sealed in the 86th minute in fine style with a first league goal for Silvano Obeng. Brown sent him clear on the right and the young striker drove a firm low, right foot shot, past Head.
Kettering had vanquished their Tuesday night blues and deserved all three points.
Now onto Hitchin on Saturday in this run of four away games.
Attendance: 249 (Poppies Fans: Estimated 125)
Poppies Man of the Match: Liam Canavan