FARNBOROUGH 3 - 4 KETTERING TOWN

IN A NUTSHELL: The proverbial game of two halves was in evidence at the Rushmoor Community Stadium Farnborough today. The Poppies were 3-0 up at half time and cruising – but then lost both Gary Mulligan and Durrell Berry to injury. The Borough drew level in the 89th minute with three goals a spirited second half display which was aided by yet another Kettering penalty miss in the 82nd minute. The Poppies pulled it out of the bag though with a winning goal in the last minute of added time.

THE KETTERING SQUAD: The starting eleven was the same as last Tuesday and Marshall Willock came in on the bench for the unavailable Gary Stohrer.

Team line-ups:

FARNBOROUGH: 1 Matt Cafer 2 Jake Evans (14 Bobby Dormer,46) 3 CJ Fearn 4 Adam Everitt 5 Keith Emmerson 6 Josh Huggins (Captain) 7 Jack Barton 8 Connor Calcutt 9 Jamie Cureton 10 Perry Coles 11 Nic Ciardini Unused Substitutes: 12 Callum Willock 15 Kevin Lamidi 16 Elijah Anyan 17 Aiden Upward (G/K)

Yellow Cards:Evans,39; Huggins,61;Everitt,82;Dormer,84;Coles,87

KETTERING TOWN: 1 Paul White 2 Durrell Berry (12 Liam Bateman,46) 3 Ben Toseland 4 Brett Solkhon (Captain) 5 Gary Mulligan (15 Marshall Willock,42) 6 Michael Richens 7 Lindon Meikle 8 Aaron O’Connor 9 Rene Howe (16 Matty Stevens,79) 10 Ben Milnes 11 Rhys Hoenes Unused Substitutes: 14 James Brighton 18 Munashe Sundire

Yellow Cards: Richens,17;Milnes,71.

HOW THE GAME UNFOLDED: The overnight rain had little effect on the surface today at a good stadium, deserving of more supporters. The Poppies had an early break which saw a Rhys Hoenes cross cleared, but Kettering scored within two minutes. A fine Lindon Meikle cross saw Rene Howe head over keeper Matt Cafer and under the bar for a well taken goal. Farnborough attacked with forward Perry Coles putting in a searching cross- just avoiding an oncoming forward in the six yard box. Then Coles set up Connor Calcutt and the tall midfielder fired wide. The Poppies looked a threat at every attack however and Aaron O’Connor got on the end of a good pass to round Cafer, but Josh Huggins got back to divert the ball off the line and away for a corner. The corner was not cleared with Cafer’s punch out and the ball was at Gary Mulligan’s feet on the left. His low right foot shot through a mass of players went in at the far post to put Kettering two up after 13 minutes. Kettering put another move together a few minutes later with Howe and O’Connor setting up Michael Richens, only for his shot to be well blocked out. Richens then picked up his 10th yellow card of the season which will lead to a further suspension. The Poppies were in good control and Cafer just got to a through ball before Hoenes, as he gathered at the second attempt. It was soon Paul White’s turn to rush out and just gather the ball from the lively Coles. Kettering came back and a clever flick by Ben Milnes set up O’Connor for a shot which was well blocked. O’Connor then got up over everyone to meet Ben Toseland’s corner, but headed over from close in. Shortly after O’Connor was put in again down the left and his left foot drive was deflected wide by Cafer. Paul White was underemployed, but had to save well from Calcutt’s header in the 36th minute. Durrell Berry then made a timely interception to deny Jamie Cureton a run in on goal. The next Kettering attack brought a goal. Ben Toseland won the ball just inside the Farnborough half. As he ran forward the defence parted and after getting onto his left foot he drove a fierce 22 yard shot past Cafer and in off the left upright. Kettering suffered a double blow after Mulligan had to leave the field with a hamstring injury and Durrell Berry appeared to injure himself in a collision with the barrier as he defended. Marhall Willock and Liam Bateman were the replacements.

Half Time:  FARNBOROUGH 0 - 3 KETTERING TOWN

An early Kettering foray saw Hoenes’cross cut out before the home side got the bit between their teeth. White saved a Cureton shot and Nic Ciardini, now operating on the right, came inside and put a left foot shot wide. Kettering responded with O’Connor setting up Milnes, who fired just wide of the left upright. Kettering then nearly scored a fourth goal as Meikle’s low cross was met by O’Connor and his shot was cleared off the line by a combination of keeper and defender.The ball was still in the zone though and needed poking in- only for Hoenes,off balance, to shoot over the bar. Farnborough were giving it a go though and looked far more lively as they tried to get back into the game. The Poppies continued to look for that fourth goal at the expense of creating an open game, when consolidation may have been the option. Calcutt saw a shot deflected over and Jack Barton saw a shot a deflected wide for a corner. The cross came in and Calcutt glanced the ball in with a neat header to make it 1-3. On 55 minutes Richens saw his long range effort slip wide and a minute later Kettering keeper,White, did very well to get a hand to Coles flick over him in the six yard box. The signs were all there for the home side as Marshall Willock seemed to struggle again with his game.Cureton was unlucky to see his header hit the bar from a corner. Farnborough scored a second goal, and one better than Toseland’s, as Jack Barton’s 30 yard screamer beat White at his top right hand corner. It was a great strike. Kettering were still looking for their fourth goal and O’Connor,on the left, saw Cafer save with his legs. Meikle then was sent clear on the right- but lost control allowing Cafer to gather. As the game entered the final quarter, there was no sign of Kettering protecting their lead in what was a very entertaining game (for the neutral!). Meikle got clear again on 73 minutes squaring for O’Connor but a defender blocked the shot. White made a routine save from home substitute,Bobby Dormer. Kettering were awarded a penalty on 82 minutes as Adam Everitt fouled substitute Matty Stevens. The penalty hoodoo continued as O’Connor rattled the bar as Cafer went the wrong way. The Poppies were made to pay a minute before the end of normal time. A corner from the left saw the ball come off a surprised defender, and Cureton had a simple task of passing the ball into the net, to put the scores level. With six minutes of added time it was now anyone’s game with the home team in the ascendancy. For Kettering Stevens saw a shot blocked, Meikle had a chance to get clear but again gave Cafer the chance to gather, and for Farnborough Ciardini dragged a shot wide. Stevens had a late chance but saw Cafer save. In the last minute of added time Kettering won it. Meikle was sent clear on the right, clearly onside, as central attacker O’Connor and Hoenes were in offside positions- but not interfering. This time Meikle made no mistake, crossing low for Stevens to drive into goal to the delight of the Kettering supporters. The win puts the Poppies on top of the league – but all credit to Farnborough for the fight back.

With no league game now until the trip to Dorchester on the 18th – its Hillier Cup away at Daventry on Tuesday and League Cup at AFC Rushden and Diamonds on the 14th. Both 7.45pm kick-offs.

Full Time: FARNBOROUGH 3 - 4 KETTERING TOWN

Attendance: 403 (Poppies fans estimated at 120)

Poppies Man of the Match: Lindon Meikle