GLOUCESTER CITY 2-2 KETTERING TOWN

The Poppies kept their unbeaten record intact under Paul Cox, coming back from a 12th minute goal down to go 2-1 ahead with an Aaron O'Connor (above) penalty just before half time and debutant Matthew Taylor's stunning free kick past goalkeeper Will Henry at the near post.But,with the finishing line in sight the Tigers equalised, with just a few minutes remaining.

Gloucester City AFC  v  Kettering Town

Vanarama National League North

Saturday 30th November 2019   3:00pm

 

 

Gloucester City AFC

 

 

Kettering Town

 

1

 Will Henry

 

 1

 Paul White

 

2

 Spencer Hamilton  

 

 2

 Gary Stohrer 

 

3

 Jack Senior

 

 3

 Matt Taylor

 

4

 Liam Daly    

 

 4

 Luke Graham  (Capt) 

 

5

 Sam Avery (Capt)

 

 5

 Michael McGrath  

 

6

 Josh Thomas    

 

 6

 Ben Milnes  

 Off 32

7

 Joe Parker

 

 7

 Dan Nti

 

8

 Joe Hanks

 Off 68

 8

 Aaron O’Connor

 

9

 Marlon Jackson

 

 9

 Connor Kennedy

 

10

 Dan Sweeney

 Off 61

10

 Lindon Meikle  

 

11

 Fabien Robert

 

11

 Michael Richens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substitutes

 

 

Substitutes

 

12

 Alex Hainault   

 

12

 Joel Carta

 On 32

14

 Ross Johnstone

 

14

 Brett Solkhon           

 

15

 Zach Kotwica       

 On 61

15

 Tre Mitford

 

16

 Kieran Smith   

 On 46

16

 Mo Sebbeh 

 

17

 Chris Knowles

 On 48

17

 Jack O'Connor

 

 

Referee: Simeon Lucas   Assistants: Ashley Clarke and Thomas Wainman 

Paul Cox was struggling to field a full bench for this fixture. With Marcus Kelly serving his one game suspension following his dismissal at Peterborough and Joe Skarz and Javan Vidal absent through injury playing resources were thin on the ground. Ben Milnes who had limped off towards the end of the Trophy game was still feeling the effects of that knock but was risked a starting place. The starting line-up was completed by new loan signing Matt Taylor making his debut after signing for the club on Thursday and meeting his team-mates for the first time en-route to the game.  

 On a cold, clear day, with a chill wind blowing diagonally across the pitch the game kicked off. The flat pitch looked heavy but showing signs of wear due to Gloucester sharing the ground with Evesham.  Kettering make the first attack of the game with Connor Kennedy playing a long ball down Gloucester's left. Dan Nti chased after it with a defender in close pursuit. Dan appeared to get  nudge in the back which put him off his stride and allowed the ball to go behind for a goal-kick. On ten minutes a long throw from Kennedy into the Gloucester penalty area was only partially headed clear to the edge of the box. Richens reaches the ball first and his speculative shot curls just wide of the post with the keeper beaten.

 On their first serious attack Gloucester manage to take the lead. A drive down Kettering's left by Parker took him to the by-line where he played a low cross angled back towards the penalty spot. The ball passed behind Sweeney who in making a run towards the near post overrun the ball but also distracted the defenders.  The ball fell perfectly for Gloucester debutee Jack Senior. The left back hit a sweet volley giving White no chance. 1-0 Gloucester 12 mins.

Kettering came straight back at Gloucester and within a minute a Ben Milnes effort was pushed behind by Henry for a unproductive Kettering corner. Gloucester had an unproductive corner of their own after seventeen minutes with Kettering managing to scramble the ball away despite the presence of Gloucester's pair of towering central defenders.  Three minutes later Aaron O'Connor chased a long ball played out from Kettering's half. He managed to catch the ball and fed it back at the edge of Gloucester's area where Milnes tried a shot however it went well over the bar.  A minute later and Lindon Meikle had an on target attempt which was well caught by the keeper who launch a quick Gloucester counter-attack. The move was halted by a foul on Sweeney. Joe Hanks lined up the kick from almost 30 yards out but it was more Tom Hanks as it went way over the bar. 

The game was opening up with chances being created at both ends.  Kettering showed next with Nti breaking down Gloucester's left. His cross was cut out by Thomas at the expense of a corner which was headed away by the Gloucester captain Avery.   Up the other end Parker got clear on Kettering's left and his low shot aimed at White's far post was stopped by a full length diving save by Paul who only managed to stop the ball and then he had to regain his feet quickly to deny Robert a close range chance. 

On the half hour mark a goal-kick from White held up in the wind and the ball was pushed back towards Kettering's goal. Paul had to come out quickly and he combined with Michael McGrath managed to prevent Jackson from taking advantage of the opportunity. Shortly after Ben Milnes had to go off to be replaced by Joel Carta. 

With ten minutes to go until half-time Parker had a good chance to double Gloucester's lead when a ball was not effectively cleared by Kettering and the ball broke loose to Parker open in the penalty area some ten yards out. He snatched at the chance though and sent his effort high and wide. Five minutes later Meikle was guilty at the other end of spurning a chance. Nti had once again broke well down Gloucester's left and delivered a good ball into the middle but Lindon appeared to get the ball under his feet and his effort lacked power and was comfortably blocked by Henry.  

Five minutes before half-time Kettering once again broke down Gloucester's left the ball was played into the penalty area where AO'C passed the ball to Stohrer who whilst looking to pick out an attacking player was caught by a defender on his back leg causing him to lose his footing. The referee blew his whistle but did not immediately point to the spot but appeared to be making a considered decision before awarding a penalty but no caution was issued. Aaron stepped up to take the kick and once again approached the ball with a stuttering step, which might not be approved off by other referees. Mr Lucas had no problem though the keeper started moving to his left as AO'C tucked it to his right. 1-1 Kettering 40 mins. 

Nothing of note occurred in the remaining five minutes and the two minutes added for stoppages.

Half Time: Gloucester City AFC  1  Kettering Town  1

Gloucester came out after half-time firing on all cylinders. Inside the first minute of the half White had to pull off a good save pushing an effort from Jackson around the post for a corner which Kettering managed to clear. Almost immediately later Matt Taylor received a yellow card for a late challenge on Robert, however the referee did not see fit to punish the retaliation acted out by the Gloucester player. The offence was nearly even more seriously punished as the free-kick was lifted over to the far side where it was headed back into the middle where it was put into the net. The linesman had immediately lifted his flag for off-side and the goal was disallowed. . 

Eight minutes into the half and Kettering won a free-kick in a dangerous area. The kick was wasted though and resulted in a quick break for Gloucester added by a mistake by Meikle. Once again the chance was ultimately wasted by Parker again shooting wide. A minute later Avery's name went into the book for another foul on AO'C. Although they were dominant in the air Aaron had the beating of them on the floor. 

Just after the hour mark Gloucester made their first substitution with Zach Kotwica replacing Dan Sweeney. Twenty minutes into the half and once again AO'C got the better of the defence when a through ball on the deck allowed him to turn into space however his first time shot was straight at the keeper. Four minutes later AO'C probed down Gloucester's left and make it to the by-line. His cross was put behind for a corner. The corner from Taylor was delivered perfectly into the area and was only cleared by the defence after the ball ricocheted around the goal mouth never falling for a Kettering foot. 

With just over fifteen minutes left Gloucester picked up their second caution wen Thomas cut down Nti as Dan was just about to show him his heels. The foul count against Gloucester was starting to rise as they were struggling to contain the pace of Dan and Aaron. With thirteen minutes to go Kettering were awarded another free-kick. This time about 25 yards out to the right of centre. The kick was entrusted to debutant Taylor who, with echoes of Tom Knowles, repaid the trust curled the ball low past the two man wall into the net with the unsighted keeper easily beaten.1-2 Kettering 77 mins.  

Gloucester behind for the first time were spurred into action believing that they deserved something from the game and five minutes after the goal Parker had another chance and White just managed to beat away his rasping shot from distance. Kettering were fighting hard to maintain their lead though and were defending well. With less than five minutes to go though Gloucester got the equaliser. The ball was lifted into the box from Kettering's left and Robert had slipped is marker to find space for a free header which he powered past the helpless White.2-2 Gloucester 86 mins

The last four minutes of regulation time and an added four minutes was played out by two teams unwilling to gamble too much on securing all three points by jeopardising the one they had and a honorable draw was played out. Carta did manage to pick up caution in injury time however for preventing a free-kick from being taken quickly by not retreating ten yards from the ball.

Full Time: Gloucester City AFC  2  Kettering Town  2

Two months ago Kettering would have lost this game. With a banged up, cobbled together team the players who wore the Kettering shirt today showed the character and fight that both Paul Cox and the supporters want to see. Once again the travelling supporters got behind their team and the team responded.  A tough Monday night game at Curzon Ashton lies ahead against a rested side who find themselves at the wrong end of the table desperate for points but so long as the team approach the game with the right attitude a favourable result cannot be discounted.

Gloucester City AFC yellow cards:  Avely, Thomas - foul                 

Kettering Town yellow cards:  Taylor- foul, Carta – failing to withdraw 10 yards   

Attendance: 325

Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match – Matt Taylor – thrown in at the deep end, playing alongside   team-mates met for the first time only hours before. He grew in confidence as the game went on as did the team's confidence in him, entrusting dead ball duties on the right hand side to him which led to a series of teasing, measured crosses into the box and a debut goal.