Match Report - Leamington
Kettering Town FC: 0
Jack Edwards 03
Richard Taundry 37
Tony Breeden 09
Rob Ogleby 33
Kettering Town FC: 2
Saul Williams 47
Andy Gooding 51
Gary Mulligan 87
Will Grocott > Justin Marsden76
Richard Bryan > Elliot Sandy77
Courtney Baker-Richardson > Nick Wright58
Ben Mackey 62
Connor Gudger 82
Ben Mackey > Will Green74
Richard Taundry > Ross Oulton79
Rob Ogleby > Jake Jones87
Kettering Town’s last visit to Leamington was the first away game after the ‘reformation’ on 13th November 2012 and a scratch team put together by Alan Doyle gave the home team a fright but narrowly lost. This time a promoted side to the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division was visiting a relegated team from the Conference North and the result was, yet again, a narrow defeat for The Poppies.
The Brakes took an early lead through Jack Edwards and doubled their advantage through Richard Taundry's free kick on 35 minutes.
Within seven minutes of the second half The Poppies were level thanks to Saul Williams’ strike and Andy Gooding's penalty. The winner came from ace marksman, Ben Mackey, on 62 minutes and despite sustained possession The Poppies could just not get the goal their performance deserved.
Courtney Baker-Richardson was included from the start as the injured Elliot Sandy dropped to the bench and new signing, Nick Wright, was named on the bench. Both James Brighton and Dubi Ogbonna were still out injured but no place in the squad for Richie Danquah.
For the second away game in succession, The Poppies conceded early and the hosts took full advanatge as Lee Moore found space on the left and he squared to the unmarked Jack Edwards who fired low past Jamie McAlindon.
The Poppies stormed forward and a flowing move saw Will Grocott cross for Courtney Baker- Richardson, whose header was cleared for a corner. Gooding's set piece found Brett Solkhon who’s header rattled the crossbar.
It was a lively opening and Saul Williams found space in the 7th minute but fired wide.
Kettering powered on and on 9 minutes home keeper, Tony Breedon, rushed out of his area to bring down the advancing Jevani Brown but the keeper received a yellow card. From the free kick, Brown fired wide. Then Gooding’s free kick came off a defender for another corner- which was cleared.
The Poppies, then had a period of possession, but were unable to make much headway in terms of goal attempts. Breedon was trying the referee’s patience in the home goal with measures to slow down the game, and received a stern warning.
Brown then produced a good turn, but saw his shot blocked and with The Poppies having all the ball, the hosts could only muster breakaways – but these became incisive as a melee in front of goal saw Rob Ogleby’s shot blocked in the six yard box.
The Poppies fell to a sucker punch goal in the 34th minute, which saw Leamington go two up. An unnecessary foul, 23 yards out, saw Richard Taundry drill an accurate free kick past a stationary McAlindon.
Before the break Brown put Breedon under pressure, but the keeper was cool to clear his lines before the striker's left foot shot was aimed straight at the keeper.
Whatever was said at half time in the visiting dressing room worked wonders as The Poppies were level by the 52nd minute.
Just three minutes in saw some great work by Brown to set up Saul Williams on the right and he fired hard and low, across goal, past Breedon.
Brown was a menace and four minutes later a mazy run into the area, past three defenders, saw him brought down and Gooding cooly slotted home the penalty.
The 100 or so travelling fans now had something to cheer about. That said, Kettering was given two immediate warnings as Ben Mackey fired over with a vicious left foot effort and Taundry tried a 45 yard shot - with McAlindon back pedaling - but the effort fell well wide.
Nick Wright made his debut on the hour, replacing the injured Baker-Richardson, whose partnership with Brown looked really threatening.
Unfortunately, Leamington scored what was to be the winner on 63 minutes. Mackey, on the left side of the area, shielded the ball well from Gary Mulligan to find a yard and drove a low left foot shot past McAlindon.
The Poppies were still having the vast majority of possession.
Grocott’s 66th minute corner saw Dominic Langdon head wide of the far post before The Brakes forced two unproductive corners.
A great 73rd minute move saw Williams drill a ball just over the bar and at the other end home substitute, Will Green, dragged a shot wide.
Double change saw Elliot Sandy and Justin Marsden in the 77th minute, and Kettering threw everything forward. There was, however, some organised home defending who rarely got out of their own half.
Wasn't until the final minutes that The Poppies had some real chances as Williams’ shot was blocked, and at the death Langdon’s downward header in the six yard box hit an arm – with the referee waiving away appeals for a second penalty.
McAlindon made a great last minute save from Jake Jones as four attackers surged through what was now a two man defence.
It had been a valiant effort and no doubt the Management team and players will be disappointed with the result, but pleasing attacking football and team spirit now appearing.
Attendance: 545 (Poppies Fans: Estimated 100)
Poppies Man of the Match: Jevani Brown