IN BRIEF: It was an entertaining game at the Premier Plus Stadium today. Kettering went in a goal ahead at the break from an early Rene Howe penalty but the Saints got back in the game just before the hour through Lewis Irwin’s header. Howe scored his second, with a great strike, quickly followed by an Aaron O’Connor goal. Within a minute it was 2-3 as Dylan Williams scored – but Kettering’s nerves were spared as substitute, Matthew Stevens scored a fourth to seal the game. Overall man of the match was home keeper,Mike Emery, who prevented a number of goals. THE KETTERING SQUAD: Liam Bateman replaced Kalern Thomas and Michael Richens returned at the expense of Rhys Hoenes. Ibby Akanbi failed to arrive and only four substitutes could be named, with Brett Solkhon suspended and James Brighton injured. Team line-ups: ST NEOTS TOWN: 1 Mike Emery 2 Scott Sinclair (12 Harry O’Malley,87) 3 Johnny Herd 4 Luke Knight (Captain) 5 Liam McDevitt 6 Tom Wood 7 Kyran Wiltshire (15 Romayne Marsh-Brown,82) 8 Steffan Broccoli (14 Dylan Williams,65) 9 Lewis Irwin 10 Nabil Shariff 11 Dion Sembie-Ferris Unused Substitute: 16 Jonny Butler Yellow Card:Wiltshire,45+1 KETTERING TOWN: 1 Paul White 2 Liam Bateman 3 Ben Toseland 16 Tom Marshall 5 Gary Mulligan (Captain) 6 Michael Richens 7 Gary Stohrer 8 Aaron O’Connor 9 Rene Howe (15 Matthew Stevens,72) 10 Ben Milnes (14 Kalern Thomas,87) 11 Lindon Meikle (12 Rhys Hoenes,85) Unused Substitute: 17 Cullum Snow Yellow Cards: Milnes,37; Richens,73; Mulligan,74 HOW THE GAME UNFOLDED: The pitch had easily survived the overnight rain and the game kicked off in bright sunlight. Michael Richens’ early effort sailed over the bar and Aaron O’Connor saw his 5th minute left foot strike saved by Mike Emery. The Kettering defence then got in a mix up with Nabil Shariff looking to benefit- but Kettering keeper, Paul White got to the shot to divert away for a corner. Kettering were awarded a penalty on 7 minutes as Gary Stohrer got into the area and was tripped by Scott Sinclair. Rene Howe stepped up to convert the spot kick. Kettering were looking hungry and Stohrer set up Ben Milnes, who fired just wide of the left upright. Milnes then excelled in the other penalty area, as he got back to tackle Lewis Irwin in the six yard box, thwarting what was a good shooting chance. Howe then met a Stohrer cross from the left and glanced his header wide of the right post and then he had a shot blocked. On 27 minutes now, and after a quickly taken free kick, home keeper, Mike Emery just got his fingertips to the ball and from the rebound Ben Toseland’s follow up shot was well blocked by a defender. Shariff forced a routine save by White and gradually St Neots began to get in the game aided by a number of free kicks and corners. Their best chance in this spell saw Lewis Irwin meet a free kick and, unchallenged, he headed over the bar. Kettering had the final attack of the half, with Stohrer’s great ball giving O’Connor a shooting chance and Emery pushed the shot just wide. From the corner both Tom Marshall and Aaron O’Connor found themselves with heading chances which were both cleared. Half Time ST NEOTS TOWN 0 - 1 KETTERING TOWN The Saints came out with intent and took the game to their visitors. But it was Kettering who had the first real chance of the half with Toseland’s corner, which was flicked towards goal by O’Connor and a defender made a vital clearance away from the line. Home keeper, Emery then somehow kept out a Howe point-blank header from Milnes’ free kick. On 53 minutes Stohrer got away in the box on the left and his cross came off Tom Wood, hitting the left upright and rebounding into Emery’s arms. On 55 minutes, Shariff’s shot was easy for White – but 3 minutes later the scores were level. Shariff’s shot was blocked and the loose ball was played from the right across goal for Irwin to head strongly,high, past White’s right hand. St Neots followed this with a Steffan Broccoli shot wide as the home team stepped up the tempo. Kettering did,though, regain the lead on 63 minutes. Lindon Meikle chased a good Stohrer through ball down the left and passed inside to Rene Howe. The striker fired an unstoppable shot from around 25 yards, and past Emery into the top right hand corner. Three minutes later it was 3-1. Stohrer met a free kick on the left and crossed for O’Connor to head in- although Emery got a hand on the ball. Barely a minute had passed-with Dylan Williams replacing Broccoli for St Neots-and the substitute scored. White made an excellent save, but the loose ball was fired in by Williams. For Kettering, Liam Bateman put a left foot shot wide and for St Neots, Kyran Wiltshire forced a save from White. Matty Stevens replaced the tiring Howe on 72 minutes. As the game entered the final quarter of an hour, Emery excelled again by pushing a Tom Marshall header against the bar, and then saved Milnes follow up shot- pushing just wide for a corner. Emery did then spill the resulting corner, with Gary Mulligan’s shot being cleared off the line and Richens firing over the rebound. Kettering scored again on 78 minutes and it was a peach. Stevens raced into the right hand side of the penalty area and controlled a chip shot over Emery and in under the bar. The final minutes were played out with only Kettering threatening as Emery saved well, yet again, from Milnes’ free kick and finally Tom Wood was on hand to clear from Toseland. So the scene is set for a new year’s day clash at Kettering between league leaders,Kings Lynn and second placed Kettering. Kick-off is at 3 pm and early arrival at the ground is recommended. Full Time: ST NEOTS TOWN 2 - 4 KETTERING TOWN Attendance: 509 (Poppies fans estimated at 200) Poppies man of the Match: Gary Stohrer