Match Report - Poole Town
Kettering Town FC: 0
Melanius Mullarkey 37
Dubi Ogbonna 39
Melanius Mullarkey > Courtney Baker-Richardson45
Poole Town: 1
Richard Gillespie 02
Kettering Town FC: 0
Richard Danquan 61
Dubi Ogbonna 73
Andy Gooding > Will Grocott57
Richard Danquan > Saul Williams71
Poole Town: 1
Lewis Lindsay 92
Marvin Brooks > Luke Holmes58
Richard Gillespie > Alan Connell75
Luke Roberts > Keith Emmerson84
On first viewing this looked a bad day at the office for Kettering Town Football Club.
Held up in massive traffic delays, the team arrived at Poole at 3.20pm, kicked off at 3.54pm, conceded a goal at 3.57pm, lost the game 1-0, and had striker Dubi Ogbonna sent off for a second yellow card in the 72nd minute.
However, in reality, they gave a team that finished runners up in this league last season - by a considerable margin - a tough game and could have come away with more.
Marcus Law was serving a one match touchline ban and was also without suspended Dominic Langdon.
The team lined up with captain, Steve Kinniburgh, alongside Brett Solkhon in central defence, and Richard Bryan and James Brighton at full back, both making their league debuts.
Jamie McAlindon got the nod in goal in front of Enol Ordonez as Dan Mullarkey made a surprise debut on the right wing, having been away on international duty. Andy Gooding was preferred to Will Grocott and Richie Danquah also had his league debut in midfield partnering Gary Mulligan. Dubi Ogbonna and Elliot Sandy formed the strike force.
There was little doubt that the 6 hour 45 minute journey was going to have an effect and The Dolphins seized on the opportunity by scoring inside three minutes.
Poole started brightly and a corner, from the right, saw prolific marksman, Richard Gillespie, meet the set piece at the near post and guided his header past McAlindon into the far corner.
Kettering’s chance to equalise came minutes later – and it was a good one - when Andy Gooding’s free kick fell to Steve Kinniburgh who in the six yard box scuffed his shot wide of the left upright.
Elliot Sandy then saw a shot blocked at the other end as Gillespie has a good chance for his brace but his effort was deflected wide by some desperate defending.
Dubi Ogbonna, who had gone down with an ankle injury in the pre match warm up, created space for a shot which was an easy saved by keeper, Nick Hutchings.
The hosts corners routines were causing Kettering problems and on 19 minutes a corner was knocked to the far post, before quickly headed back across goal and the ball was cleared from underneath the bar from the resulting shot. Let off.
There was no doubt that Poole held the upper hand and were controlling the midfield on the wide pitch. A 28th minute flowing move saw Gillespie drag his shot wide and four minutes later a slip by Kinniburgh gave the midfielder an another chance but blazed over.
Kettering had a lucky escape on 34 minutes as Luke Burbidge squared ball found Gillespie’s who's partly blocked shot reared up nicely for Jamie McAlindon to catch.
â€‹Mullarkey was carded for persistent fouling - albeit it was his endeavor and competitiveness rather than deliberate foul play - but he had had a prior warning from the referee.
The first half became more even in the later stages and Mullarkey’s run down the right saw a desperate Lewis Tallack header over his own bar. At the other end Luke Roberts had two efforts coming in from the left side that never troubled McAlindon.
Ogbonna then provided the clearest Kettering chance right on half time but his fierce drive was very well saved by Hutchings.
The second half saw the introduction of Courtney Baker-Richardson, who replaced the exhausted Mullarkey. The formation was changed with Gary Mulligan dropping into defence, Kinniburgh to left back and James Brighton to left midfield.
Poole forced two early unfruitful corners, but the new formation seemed to be working with Elliot Sandy getting a dangerous cross in but there was no one to finish. Minutes later, Ogbonna set up Brighton on the left but his shot flew wide.
The Poppies were really in the game now, enjoying most of the possession and looking to get a goal. Sandy got in a shot from the left, but Hutchings saved.
Then, under pressure from Sandy, Hutchings spilled a Brett Solkhon free kick and as the ball rolled goalwards he recovered to collect the loose ball.
Will Grocott then replaced Andy Gooding in midfield.
The next major point of the game fell to Ogbonna who had another shot blocked on 71 minutes, but this was his last action of the afternoon as shortly he was dismissed for a second yellow card.
This took the wind out of The Poppies sails for a spell as home substitute, Alan Connell swept a shot over the bar and McAlindon saved well from Lewis Lindsay.
Substitute Luke Holmes came in on the left and immediately fired wide.
The Poppies threw caution to the wind as Solkhon went upfield to try to get something out of the game. Saul Williams then made his league debut, replacing Richie Danquah, before intercepting a pass on with five minutes remaining to set up Sandy, whose shot was narrowly over the bar.
McAlindon was called on to make a good save from Steve Devlin, but there was still time for some drama in added time.
The Poppies gained a free kick and Grocott curled a quick ball into the box as Hutchings lost the flight, allowing Solkhon a great chance at the back post, but he could only head over from close range.
The home officials said after the game ‘Kettering deserved more from the game’ but in the end the ten men just did not have enough to force that vital goal.
Attendance: 399 (Poppies Fans: Around 120)
Poppies Man of the Match: Gary Mulligan