A 90th minute wonder strike from on loan Jason Law (above) making his Poppies debut, won this gripping game at Brewery Field in very windy conditions. 0-0 at half-time the Poppies were a goal down from a Glenn Taylor defected free-kick off the bar, before a combination of Marcus Kelly, a Spennymoor defender and Matt Taylor inched the ball past goalkeeper Matt Gould into the net. The dubious goals committee still have to sort this one out, but it leads towards Taylor getting the final touch.  

Vanarama National League North

Saturday 11th January 2020   3:00pm


Spennymoor Town 

Kettering Town


 Matt Gould



 Paul White



 Tyler Forbes



 Gary Stohrer



 Lewis Butroid



 Matt Taylor



 Jaime Chandler   



 Luke Graham (Capt.)     



 Carl Magnay



 Michael McGrath

 Off 64


 James Curtis (Capt.)



 Brett Solkhon



 James Roberts

 Off 85


 Tre Mitford

 Off 89


 Robert Ramshaw



 Aaron O'Connor



 Glen Taylor



 Connor Kennedy



 Mark Anderson

 Off 75


 Jay Williams



 Ben McKenna

 Off 46


 Marcus Kelly















 Chris Mason



 Joe Skarz



 Gavin Cogdon

 On 75


 Jamie Sykes  



 Jack Earing

 On 85


 Joel Carta

 On 89


 Adam Boyes



 Jason Law

 On 64


 Andrew Johnson

 On 46





Referee: Mike Barlow   Assistants: Adam Brown and Abid Hussein

Once again Paul Cox was left with the bare bones of a squad in order to field a team. With Michael Richens and Ben Milnes, who was also injured anyhow, suspended Lindon Meikle injured and the ongoing injury state of Vidal, Dan Nti had not travelled due to illness and Michael Harding also did not travel. Joe Skarz made a welcome return to the sub's bench but judging by his hobbling walk across the pitch before kick-off the chance of him playing a role was minimal. New loan signing Jason Law from Mansfield together with Joel Carta provided the only credible replacements alongside substitute Jamie Sykes making his debut on the bench for a league match. Mr Cox opted for a central defender trio of Graham, Solkhon and McGrath with a combined age of over 100 years. Jay Williams was pressed into service in a midfield holding role and Aaron O'Connor and Tre Mitford were to play along each other in a twin attacking threat.

With a forecast of heavy rain and a strong wind blowing diagonally across the pitch it appeared that the weather conditions would have a big influence on the game. The playing surface was perfect with the pitch benefiting from the extensive work carried out on it in the summer which necessitated Spennymoor's first home games of the season being postponed. The pitch does have a considerable slope though and Spennymoor in black and white striped shirts kicked off playing down the slope with the wind coming over their left shoulders.

Spennymoor made the first attack of note after three minutes when a probe down Kettering's left led to Roberts lifted the ball into the box. McKenna's header lacked power and direction and sailed well wide. Three minutes later Spennymoor attacked down the opposite flank and despite appearing to be offside McKenna's cross was blocked behind for the first corner of the game.  The taker didn't allow for the effect of the strong wind and his delivery sailed over everyone's head before going out for a goal kick.

Kettering had made a slow start getting acclimatised to the slow and strong wing but were starting to come into the game when just before the quarter hour mark McGrath gifted possession to Spennymoor inside his own half with a misplaced pass. Ramshaw moved forward and fed the ball inside to Roberts who hit a shot from just outside the penalty area. The ball took a slight deflection but was on its way in before White rose and tipped the ball over for a corner. Kettering defended the corner well and the ball was played downfield for Mitford to chase. Tre out ran his support in chasing the ball but did enough to earn Kettering their first corner. The corner was only partially cleared by the host's and the ball went out for a throw in adjacent to the corner of the penalty area. Kennedy took the opportunity to deliver the ball into the box. The Spennymoor left back tried to clear the ball but only succeeded in nodding the ball further on its way, his touch however managed to take the ball away from Solkhon lurking behind him.

Five minutes later and Spennymoor were on the attack and a fine flowing passing attack was only broken up when Solkhon intercepted the final pass with an outstretched leg allowing White to gather in the diverted ball. With just over twenty minutes until half-time Butroid made a penetrating run down Kettering's right skipping past Stohrer with some ease and driving to the touchline before cutting the ball back into the middle on the floor, The cross managed to evade everyone in the middle with Taylor failing to apply the slightest of touches needed to convert the chance into a goal.

Shortly after McGrath was fortunate to avoid a caution when he brought down Roberts wide on the touchline after the winger had got the better of him and looked to exploit the wide-open space ahead of him. There was no malice in the challenge but Michael made sure that Spennymoor player did not get past him by taking one for the team. Anderson was incensed by the decision of Mr Barlow not to book McGrath questioning the referee's action and directing a stream of abuse towards the linesman. Mr Barlow showed the same degree of leniency towards the Spennymoor player as he had McGrath but did not even bother having a word with Anderson.

Kettering were coping well playing into the wind and up the slope and White was having a quiet game as Spennymoor appeared not to be handling the weather conditions well overhitting passes and efforts at goal. Williams was providing an adequate screen for the back three. Many of the small decisions appeared to given in the favour of the home side with the referee basing his decisions on the evidence of his ears rather than that of his eyes with a cry of pain swaying the determination of the transgressor. On one instance Williams challenged a Spennymoor player and the ball broke to Kennedy the referee determined that a infringement had occurred but as the referee sounded his whistle Chandler went over the ball into Connor requiring him to require treatment but once again Mr Barlow saw fit not to have a word with the Spennymoor player.

The final five minutes of the half was all Kettering. Taylor and Kelly linked up well down Spennymoor's right and Marcus played a ball forward for Matt to run onto before he was stopped with a foul by Forbes about ten yards from the by-line halfway between the touchline and the penalty box. Kelly's free-kick was lifted into the penalty area but Anderson in the wall leapt and managed to get a head on the ball sending it looping towards O'Connor. AO'C did well to adjust to new path of the ball but could only loop his header over the bar with the keeper beaten. Three minutes later a flowing Kettering move which started out on Spennymoor's left with Gary Stohrer the ball was worked across the edge of the penalty area to Taylor on the left where he hit a hard left-footed shot but it was effected by the wide which lifted the ball over the bar and to the left of the post. Kettering brought the half to a close with a ineffectual corner from the left.

Half Time: Spennymoor Town 0  Kettering Town 0

Spennymoor made one substitution at half-time with Johnson replacing McKenna. The wind had veered slightly and was now blowing at right angles to the pitch.

Three minutes into the half Spennymoor were on the attack when the referee halted the due to an injured Kettering player on the floor near the half-way line. The game was restarted with an uncontested drop ball a couple of yards outside Kettering's penalty area which gave Spennymoor an unfair advantage as it enabled them to bring forward all their tall defenders in a situation was akin to being awarded a free-kick, fortunately Kettering successfully defended the attack. Five minutes into the half it appeared that Kennedy became the first player to enter the book but the positioning of the offence made observation of the incident unclear. Spennymoor continued to apply pressure on the Kettering goal winning back to back corners which were both successfully defended by Kettering.

Kettering were not sitting back content to defend and after fifty-three minutes Kelly broke down Spennymoor's left and made a penetrating cross into the box however the ball didn't fall kindly for AO'C or Mitford and the defence was able to hack the ball away.  

Five minutes later though Spennymoor made the breakthrough when they awarded a free-kick on the edge of Kettering's penalty area for an innocuous looking challenge. The ball was just right of centre about nineteen yards out. With a screen of two players standing some two yards in front of him Taylor stood over the ball. As he approached the ball the screen peeled away and he hit the ball low and hard passing to the left of the wall where the ball took a massive deflection giving White no chance and flew up and hit the underside of the crossbar bounced down and into the goal. 1-0 Spennymoor 58 mins.

Just after the hour mark McGrath received a caution but again Anderson wanted to make more of it and squared up to Michael and pushed him in the chest trying to goad the Kettering man a session of pushing and shoving followed with again Anderson showing dissent towards the official which again went unpunished with no word from the referee.

Spennymoor were looking for a second goal to seal the game but Kettering reacted better to going behind. A Spennymoor attack broke down and AO'C received the ball about five yards outside his own penalty area. He turned and passed the ball inside to Kelly in the middle of the park. Marcus advanced down the centre of the pitch with the defence being caught off guard. As the defenders were streaming back Marcus fed the ball onto Mitford. Tre held the ball well before he played the ball further out towards the touchline where AO'C had steamed all the way from his own half to find himself in plenty of space to make a measure cross into the box where it was met by the head of Taylor who'd made an equally long run to AO'C to make a diving header. The header might have been going wide but it struck the foot of Curtis and went into the net. 1-1 Kettering 63 mins.

Almost immediately after the goal Kettering made their first substitution with McGrath being withdraw as a disciplinary precaution to be replaced by debutant Jason Law. Spennymoor's Taylor was still being a handful for Kettering's defence though but he was not adhering to the laws of the game with Graham narrowly avoiding an elbow to the face. A couple of minutes later he managed to connect with Solkhon with the free-kick being flagged by the linesman. The referee awarded a free-kick without consulting his assistant but then books Brett for dissent for his reaction to the unfair challenge by Taylor. Considering the dissent shown by Anderson earlier in the game it smacked of double standards.

With just over fifteen minutes to go Kettering broke down Spennymoor's left and AO'C was chasing a ball with Spennymoor's towering captain Curtis in close proximity. AO'C stopped the ball and turned inside the defender as the big man was completely wrong footed and fell to the floor but managed to pull Aaron down with him. The referee awarded a free-kick but did not even talk to the defender let alone issue a card be it yellow or even red as there was no defender between AO'C and the goal when he was hauled down. Kelly's free-kick into the box was put behind for an unproductive corner.

With fifteen minutes left Spennymoor made their second change with the vocal Anderson replaced by Cogdon. Spennymoor were pushing for a winner but Kettering were showing determination and keeping their shape well and making Spennymoor work for every ball with all ten outfield players chasing everything.

Kettering were still attacking and Curtis had to make a well-timed tackle on AO'C in the box to concede a corner as he chased a ball forward from Stohrer. Kennedy tried a long-range effort after being set up by Law which passed across the face of the goal for a goal kick. After eighty-three minutes Taylor lifted a long ball into the box from the left where Kennedy rose highest and nodded it forward towards goal where AO'C tried an acrobatic overhead kick which took a deflection off a defender and had the keeper scrambling across his goal to ensure that the ball didn't sneak in at his far post. The resulting corner came to nothing.

With five minutes left Spennymoor made their last roll of the dice and replaced Roberts with Earing. Shortly after the troublesome Taylor managed to head the ball onto Curtis but his shot was blocked by his opposite number skipper Luke Graham.

By this time some of the Kettering players were looking slightly weary particularly Stohrer and Mitford and with one minute of regulation time remaining he was withdrawn in favour of Carta. When the board showing that there were to be an additional four minutes the Kettering supporters were hoping that the team could hold onto an impressive away point. The players thought otherwise though and with three extra minutes played Kennedy on the half way line played the ball forward to Law who played the ball of his chest to AO'C who was ahead of him. Rather than take the ball into the corner to run the clock out Aaron played the ball back inside to Jason who on the edge of the penalty area took a right footed shot, it took a slight deflection but flew past the fully extended keeper to fly inside the far post and so becoming the fifth Kettering player this season to score on his Kettering debut. 1-2 Kettering 93 mins.

With time very nearly expired the referee gave Spennymoor one final chance to score but when Stohrer shepherded a ball played forward into the arms of White he sounded his final whistle

Full Time: Spennymoor Town 1  Kettering Town 2

Another excellent display from a team that gave 100% effort and fought for the entire 95 minutes and got a well-deserved three points. People could say that a draw would have been a fair result but the team deserved from the match at Boston but got nothing. Teams make their own luck and the determination and discipline of the team was second to none. A threadbare squad was once again pulled together and a result engineered by a group of players who have self-belief in themselves and their teammates. Hopefully the public of Kettering will recognise this and start showing the support that this team deserves at Latimer Park.

Spennymoor Town yellow cards:  none

Kettering Town - yellow cards:  Kennedy, McGrath - foul     Solkhon - Dissent    

Attendance: 1072

Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match – Marcus Kelly -  Since the injury to Lindon Meikle,  Marcus has stepped up as the senior midfielder in the squad and has consistently shown the qualities that a player of his pedigree and experience possesses.