The Poppies were forced to fight a rearguard action today against league leaders Kings Lynn, who adapted better to the conditions and who, at times, outplayed their hosts. Kettering defended well though, and with the efforts of home man of the match, goalkeeper Paul White, they kept a clean sheet. This meant that Aaron O’Connor’s 20th minute strike won the game. The Linnets Michael Clunan missed a 15th minute penalty, and Kettering’s Michael Richens was sent off with 13 minutes to go. Kettering captain, Brett Solkhon played his 500th game for the club today.


Brett Solkhon replaced the injured Gary Mulligan.


KETTERING TOWN: 1 Paul White 2 Liam Bateman 3 Ben Toseland 4 Brett Solkhon (Captain) 16 Tom Marshall 6 Michael Richens 7 Gary Stohrer 8 Aaron O’Connor (14 Rhys Hoenes,90+3) 9 Rene Howe 10 Ben Milnes (15 Matthew Stevens,67) 11 Lindon Meikle (18 Kalern Thomas, 90+6) Unused Substitutes: 12 Ibby Akandi 17 Callum Snow Yellow cards: White,14; Toseland,23;Howe,90+5. Red Card: Richens,77

KINGS LYNN TOWN: 1 Alexander Street 2 Cameron Norman 3 Frazer Blake Tracy 4 Sam Gaughran 5 Tom Ward 6 Ryan Fryatt 7 Michael Clunan (Captain) 8 Ryan Jarvis 9 Michael Gash 10 Leon Mettam (14 Ryan Hawkins,67) 11 Simon Lappin ( 12 Craig Parker,67) Unused Substitutes: 15 Tom Siddons 16 Eoin McQuaid 17 Dion Fraay Yellow Card:Mettam,45


The pitch was heavy, having largely recovered from last week’s snow and rain-but an hour’s rainfall after 12.15 made it worse. There was controversy on 3 minutes as a misunderstanding between a Kings Lynn defender and goalkeeper Alex Street saw the keeper out of his area and appearing to handle the ball. The officials may have missed it, and as the ball was worked across goal Aaron O’Connor saw a shot gratefully saved by Street. Kettering keeper Paul White made a poor throw out on 9 minutes and only solid defending by Tom Marshall prevented a goal attempt. Then Linnets’ left wing back, Frazer Blake Tracy sent in a cross from the left and the home defence cleared well. Brett Solkhon managed to head a Michael Gash shot wide of goal and from the corner, Tom Ward’s downward header was held by White. Kettering were opened up on 14 minutes. Solkhon completely misjudged a through ball allowing Leon Mettam a free run in on goal. As he rounded Paul White on the left hand side of the penalty area he was brought down by the keeper. White was cautioned and Michael Clunan’s penalty hit the top of the bar and went out for a goal kick. It was a let off for Kettering. Kettering took full advantage just a few minutes later. Rene Howe held off a challenge from Sam Gaughran, ran on into the penalty area, and crossed low for Aaron O’Connor to fire in. Ward headed a 24th minute Clunan free kick well wide and Kettering replied with a Lindon Meikle shot which hit Gaughran’s face. Kings Lynn looked really sharp and were having much the better of the game and Paul White had to pull off a great double save on the half hour, blocking out efforts from Michael Gash and Clunan. The Poppies did get forward again two minutes later and again Gaughran blocked a Meikle effort and Michael Richens skewed the rebound well wide. Lynn had a good chance next and Mettam’s turn and crisp left foot shot saw him drag the ball well wide of the right post. The Poppies then got behind the visitors’ defence and Ben Milnes on the left was thwarted by a well timed tackle as he was about to shoot. The final minutes of the half saw the game ebb and flow with a cross from the right hitting Blake Tracy and the ball held by White. Then Kettering’s O’Connor did well to set up Liam Bateman on the right but another good tackle prevented a shot. For Kings Lynn, Mettam headed wide and White had an easy pick up from a Ryan Jarvis shot.

Half Time: Kettering Town 1 - 0 Kings Lynn Town

here was little doubt what was in the visitors’ minds as they began the half in attacking fashion. Two free kicks were gained as the Poppies tried desperately to contain the attacks- the first was cleared and the second from the right was confidently taken by White. Both Linnets’ wing backs were getting forward and crossing the ball and the home central defenders were overworked in making plenty of timely clearances. Cameron Norman,on the right, saw a decent cross hacked away and then his 58th minute cross was headed goalwards by Gash for White to make a good save. It was really all Kings Lynn – but to be fair the Kettering defence, albeit stretched, was defending well. Ben Toseland gained some respite with a long run from the left but Ward shadowed out the ball for a goal kick. White saved again from Gash on 65 minutes and Ryan Jarvis put a left foot shot wide. Possession was around 70/30 in Lynn’s favour – but still they could not get near the home goal. Rene Howe then forced a corner on the right for Kettering- but before the corner could be taken there was an incident in front of the Referee and Kettering’s Richens was red carded. The 10 men had 13 minutes of normal time to survive. Kings Lynn were virtually camping in the Kettering half without threatening a goal, due to some heroic defending. On 81 minutes Toseland again went on a marauding run on the left and went down in the penalty area under a challenge, and although there was contact, it was not a penalty. White made a save from substitute Ryan Hawkins and Kettering survived a 90th minute corner and 9 minutes of added time to take all three points and leapfrog over their visitors in the league table. The Poppies now face testing away matches at Basingstoke on Saturday (3pm), and Tiverton on Tuesday (7.45pm) before coming back to Latimer Park on 13th January when Kings Langley visit.

Full Time: Kettering Town 1 - 0 Kings Lynn Town

Attendance: 1019

Klondike: Pauline Hall wins £205 with ticket number: 21812

Elgoods Brewery Poppies Man of the Match selected by Sponsor, Eunice Eaves: Paul White