Match Report

Kettering Town  v  AFC Telford United

National League North

Saturday 12th December 2020   3:00pm

Kettering Town 

AFC Telford United


 Adam Collin



 Russ Griffiths



 Gary Stohrer



 Lee Vaughan



 Jevan Anderson



 Eddy Jones

 Off 45


 Ben Milnes



 Theo Streete



 Ryan Fryatt



 Courtney Meppen-Walters

 Off 66


 Luke Graham  (Capt.)  

 Off 22


 Jordan Davies



 Callum Powell



 Jack Byrne



 Connor Kennedy



 Adam Walker (Capt)



 Kyle Perry



 James Hardy



 Michael Richens



 Brendon Daniels

 Off 63


 Michael McGrath



 Jason Oswell

 Off 50














 Ben Stephens

 On 22


 Ash Rawlings



 Ashanti Pryce



 Zak Lilley



 Jay Williams



 Andy Bond

 On 50


 Ethan Johnston



 Aaron Williams



 Decarrey Sheriff



 Matthew Barnes-Homer

 On 63


Referee: Dean Watson   Assistants:  Daniel Smith and Dean Wesson

With Kettering looking to bounce back after a frustrating defeat at York the previous Tuesday they welcomed 7th in the table AFC Telford to Latimer Park. Heavy rain in the previous 2 days would mean a heavy pitch not conducive to fine flowing football. Michael McGrath was restored to the starting XI replacing the injured Rhys Sharpe but apart from that it was the same side that was defeated at Bootham Crescent. Jones and Bickley were also unavailable through injury. One new addition to the sub's bench was loanee Ethan Johnston.

Telford in an all-white strip kicked off attacking the Tin Hat end and started on the front foot winning a corner in the first minute which was punched clear by Collin the ball was delivered back into the box but retrieved by Milnes but he was fouled before he could clear the ball. The resulting free-kick snuffed out the attack. Mr Watson made an early appearance centre stage when Kennedy was fouled after three minutes including being trod on for which he required treatment. The offender Telford captain Walker was booked. The free kick from the half-way line was lifted towards Telford's penalty area where Graham nodded the ball down into the path of Powell. Streete was alert to the danger though and reacted quickest at the expense of conceding a corner which came to nothing due to a Kettering infringement in the goal mouth.

Telford pumped a couple of balls into Kettering box but they were easy for Collin to collect. Just after the ten-minute mark Oswell was spoken to by the referee following him hauling down Richens on the halfway line in a tackle that wouldn't have looked out of place at Twickenham but no card. The kick was lifted into Telford's penalty area but Graham didn't manage to get a decisive touch on the ball and Telford managed to scramble away the loose ball.

On the quarter hour mark Telford conceded another free kick this time for a foul on Anderson. Streete scuffed his attempted clearance and Perry latched onto the ball and spread it wide to McGrath. Michael beat one player and aimed a cross at the far post but play is halted for an offence by Perry.  

Five minutes later a Telford counter-attack by Davies is stopped by Graham but in doing so Luke got hurt and needed to leave the pitch to be replaced by Stephens with McGrath taking over the captaincy. With the game degenerating into a succession of free kick interspaced by the occasional football frustration was growing on both sides with both Streete and Richens receiving a talking to from the referee. 

With just over ten minutes to go in the half Kennedy advanced into the box with the ball. He appeared to be tripped but Kettering playing to the whistle, which prior to this point seemed to have been blown incessantly, continued trying to get a shot off, perhaps as Kettering appeared to have an advantage. As this came to nothing, questions were once again directed at Mr Watson. Five minutes later a Kennedy long throw into the box results in a goalmouth scramble. The ball was stabbed towards goal but Griffiths managed to drop on the ball on the goal line.

In the two added minutes at the end of the half Stephens played a great ball through for Powell to run onto but Callum was undone by the surface giving Meppen-Walters enough time to overpower him and kill the attack.  

 Half Time: Kettering Town  0     AFC Telford United 0

Telford started the second half in an enterprising fashion but Kettering's defensive capability dealt with each attack comfortably with Collin not being called upon. The first chance of the half came after forty-eight minutes when Stohrer threaded a ball through to Kennedy inside Telford's penalty area. Connor let the ball pass by him before hitting a first-time powerful right-footed shot which pulled a good save out of Griffiths palming the ball around the post while falling to his left.

Telford made their first substitution after fifty minutes when Oswell, who had drawn the referee's attention a few times was replaced by Bond. Shortly after Telford advanced the ball forward before squaring it to Vaughan whose effort from long range managed to clear the new stand.

On the hour mark Kettering had another penalty shout when a Kennedy long throw was aimed at the near post. It was nodded on towards Stephens who went to ground in the middle of the goal with minimal contact from the defender. Telford were forced into their second substitution on sixty-three minutes when Daniels limped off to be replaced by former Poppy Matthew Barnes-Homer. Kettering tried to restart the game with a quickly taken throw -in which left Kennedy in a good attacking position however the game was halted because of a second ball had been inadvertently kicked on the pitch from the Telford bench adding to the home team's frustration.

Following another free kick conceded by Telford after sixty-eight minutes McGrath lifted the ball into the Telford box Kennedy got his head to the ball and sent a looping header goalwards over the keeper but against the face of the crossbar. The rebound found Stephens who either tried to lob the ball into the goal or cross it to the far post. The result was that the ball flew over the crossbar for a goal kick.

Telford seemed happy to settle for a point and were trying to take as much time as possible over everything. Griffiths went down apparently badly injured and needing lengthy treatment from his physio but on regaining his feet kicked the ball from his hand in a smooth fluid motion with no display of discomfort.

On seventy-four minutes Mr Watson felt the need to caution Perry. who had equally been sinned against than sinned by Streete and Meppen-Walters all day. Telford when they did attack were thwarted by a solid defensive performance by Kettering with Stohrer keeping alert and providing good covering back displaying both pace and awareness.

With ten minutes to go tempers flared after a coming together between Kennedy and Streete which led to a session of handbags in front of the Telford bench. It was a matter of pushing and pointing fingers and once Mr Watson had regained a modicum of control cautioned Streete. Vaughan followed him into the book two minutes later following a missed tackle on Milnes a late kick made sure that Ben would be stopped. The referee appeared to be trying to exert his control on the game but almost eighty minutes too late.

As the game was approaching the end of regulation time Telford had their best chance of the day as Davies managed to get by his marker and get a shot on target. Collin made a good save but Hardy reacted quickest to get to the rebound but couldn't control his attempt and put the ball wide. Four additional minutes were indicated as to be played but both sides seemed to be inclined to retain a point rather than gamble for three.

 Full Time: Kettering Town 0    AFC Telford United  0

A day where the defences dominated with very few clear-cut chances. Griffiths was the busier of the two keepers with Collin not being tested until the dying moments of the game. The game as a spectacle was not helped by the referee who despite showing an early card to Telford's captain allowed the game to be continuously stopped by a litany of fouls with him showing little intent of using cautions to control the players actions until the end of the game.

Kettering Town yellow cards: Perry – persistent fouls  

AFC Telford United yellow cards:  Walker, Streete, Vaughan – all fouls               

Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match – Michael McGrath – presented Paul Cox with a selection decision after an assured performance in his more familiar central defensive position after Graham's injury. A keystone in a solid back four.         

Attendance: 514


Klondike Winning ticket - 09974 was won by Jason Hawthorn who wins £100.

Team Sheet

Location: Home (LATIMER PARK)
Kick Off: 12th Dec 2020
Kettering Town FC