The Poppies returned to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 win tonight against a hard working Bishop’s Stortford side. The goals came from Aaron O’Connor after 24 minutes and Rhys Hoenes six minutes into the second half in what was a decent advert for non league football.

THE KETTERING SQUAD: Durrell Berry and Gary Mulligan returned to the starting line up with Matthew Stevens back on the substitutes bench. Marshall Willock was away with his parent club Chesterfield and due to be on FA Youth Cup duty.

The Teams lined up:

BISHOP’S STORTFORD: 1 Tyler McCarthy 2 George Casey 3 Darren Foxley 4 Ryan Richeford (14 Sam Hatton,66) 5 Marvel Ekpiteta (Captain) 6 Joe Robinson 7 Tyrique Hyde (12 Christian Owusu,72) 8 Jordan Westcott 9 Jason Williams 10 Freddy Moncur 11 Dipo Akinyemi.

Unused Substitutes: 15 Jack Thomas 16 Alex Rogers 17 Callum Taylor

Yellow Card: Foxley,80

KETTERING TOWN: 1 Paul White 2 Durrell Berry 3 Ben Toseland 4 Brett Solkhon (Captain) 5 Gary Mulligan 6 Michael Richens 7 Lindon Meikle (14 James Brighton,89) 8 Aaron O’Connor (15 Matthew Stevens,72) 9 Rene Howe 10 Ben Milnes 11 Rhys Hoenes (12 Liam Bateman,83. Unused Substitutes: 16 Gary Stohrer 17 Munashe Sundire

Yellow Card: O’Connor,65.


The pitch had been watered pre-match and it was a nice surface to play on tonight. The Blues looked to play the ball on the deck and stretch the Poppies on the wide pitch. On the left side Dipo Akinyemi was lively and his third minute shot was taken by visiting keeper,Paul White. Kettering’s first effort came after six minutes as the ball was played back by Rhys Hoenes in after a corner and Brett Solkhon’s header was saved by Tyler McCarthy. Home striker Jason Williams lashed a shot just wide after Kettering lost the ball in midfield and Akinyemi got past his marker to fire across goal from a good position. As the game flowed from end to end, Lindon Meikle’s dangerous cross from the right was hacked away for a corner and Solkhon saw another header saved from Ben Milnes’ free kick. It was a lively opening period and in the 15th minute the Poppies goal had a remarkable escape as, firstly from a corner, Marvel Ekpiteta’s header came off a defender’s head and hit the bar. The loose ball saw a shot blocked close in by Rhys Hoenes, a second shot hit White square on the chest and a third shot was dragged just wide. The Poppies then had a great chance a couple of minutes later, but Meikle hesitated with a clear sight of goal 15 yards out and the defence cleared. Rene Howe then fired a shot out of the ground. Kettering’s best effort to date saw McCarthy off his line to punch clear from the lively Aaron O’Connor and the loose ball saw Howe’s controlled effort from 25 yards hit the angle of bar and post. Within a minute, Akinyemi got past Berry to create an opening but Berry was back to make a great block on the shot. The Poppies took the lead on 24 minutes as Meikle slipped a precise ball through to O’Connor who drove a low left foot drive past McCarthy’s left hand and in for a great finish. O’Connor had another chance on 32 minutes as McCarthy spilled a Howe cross and O’Connor, with his back to goal, back-heeled the ball wide of the right post. The game continued to flow with the home side having good possession but not threatening the goal and the only remaining danger of the half, for either team, saw a Kettering move which resulted in Berry’s cross being well cleared under pressure.


An early Kettering corner was cleared before the ball was in Kettering’s net. A cross from the right was spilled by White and Williams poked the ball in. Unfortunately for the Blues the Assistant’s flag was up as the ball had gone behind for a goal kick. The Poppies doubled their lead 6 minutes into the half. Hoenes intercepted a pass just inside the Bishop’s half, sprinted clear with two good touches and scored with a great shot high to McCarthy’s right. The Poppies then had a good spell with Meikle seeing a shot saved and Michael Richens and Howe seeing successive close range shots blocked out. For the Blues, Jordan Westcott lobbed well over the bar and for Kettering,O’Connor’s left foot shot was just wide of the target. The game entered the final quarter with Hoenes over in the penalty area with the Referee unmoved and Milnes setting up O’Connor, whose right foot shot was wide. Bishop’s tried very hard to get back into the game but the visiting defence was resolute despite having to concede a few corners. The nearest home effort came from Freddy Moncur- but his shot was wide. The Poppies came again with Richens in the mix, winning a corner and Gary Mulligan had a shot blocked. On 82 minutes a Milnes cross deflected off someone and McCarthy made a good last ditch save. Finally Meikle’s shot was saved as Kettering took home the points. The next games are away in the league at Farnborough on Saturday (3pm) and at Daventry next Tuesday in the Hillier Senior Cup (7.45pm).


Attendance: 355 (Poppies fans estimated at 125)

Poppies Man of the Match: Aaron O’Connor