Match Report - DARLINGTON
Kettering Town FC: 0
Kettering Town FC: 2
SAM BENNETT 45
GEORGE COOPER 45
The Poppies gave probably their best away league performance of the season, holding second placed Darlington to a very hard fought 2-2 draw.
The Quakers were, though, 2-0 up after just 26 minutes with a brace from striker, Jacob Hazel. Kettering fought back to level the scores before the break with goals from Sam Bennett (above)and George Cooper, and on chances created deserved to be level.
The second period saw the visitors soak up a lot of pressure, but still create good chances and finally survive a late Darlington onslaught.
THE KETTERING SQUAD:
With Tyrone Lewthwaite not in County Durham, he was replaced by Sam Bennett and Ben Toseland came back onto the substitutes bench.
The teams lined up:
1 Tommy Taylor
2 Dan Dodds
3 Jassem Sukar
6 Jake Lawlor
7 Ben Hedley
8 Adriano Moke (Captain) (4 Danny Rose,46)
9 Jacob Hazel
16 Ben Liddle (21 Jarret Rivers,72)
17 Jack Lambert
23 Alex Purver
27 Kaine Felix
10 Junior Modal
14 Lucas Martin
26 Kallum Griffiths
Yellow Cards: Sukar,18: Liddle,39;Purver,87.
21 Cameron Gregory
3 Stephan Morley (16 George Forsyth,46)
4 Lewis White (17 Decarrey Sheriff,49)
6 Brad Gascoigne
7 Sam Bennett (9 Jordan Graham,87)
8 Gary Stohrer (Captain)
10 Keaton Ward
11 Rhys Sharpe
12 George Cooper
14 Ethan Hill
15 Ellis Myles
1 Harry Hogg
5 Ben Toseland
Yellow cards: Cooper,12; Gregory,67
HOW THE GAME UNFOLDED:
Due to a floodlight malfunction the game did not kick off until just after 8.15pm. The pitch looked in good condition albeit greasy on top in the damp conditions.
Darlington were the first to threaten and George Cooper did well to head away a cross from the left. As both teams got to grip with the slightly slippery surface it was the home team who benefited from a mistake to take the lead on 8 minutes.
As Kettering looked to start an attack, Ethan Hill lost the ball in midfield allowing a pass to be threaded through on the left to Jacob Hazel. His left foot shot took a deflection off Cooper to wrong foot Cameron Gregory and the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Kettering were on the back foot and a couple of disappointing clearances from Rhys Sharpe gave Darlington chances which were wasted. Kettering’s Cooper received a yellow card after a foul following a poor goal kick and the Poppies were not looking too confident at this stage.
Darlington were making use of the large playing surface and stretching Kettering at every opportunity. However, the visitors did threaten after a quarter of an hour following a long Sharpe throw into the six-yard box, which was punched away by home keeper, Tommy Taylor. From the resulting corner from the left, Lewis White headed over with a clear chance only a few yards out.
Following an 18th minute foul by Jassem Sukar, which earned him a caution, Kettering’s Keaton Ward sent the free kick into Taylor’s hands. Two minutes later Kettering threatened again as Ellis Myles’ cross from the right to the far post was headed across goal by Gary Stohrer but then well cleared by the home defence.
Sukar fired well over the bar for Darlington before they doubled their lead on 26 minutes. A long ball down the right found Kaine Felix -potentially in an offside position. He was allowed to cross the ball low to the far post and Hazel had a simple tap in. As the game resumed, Felix drew a routine save from Cameron Gregory.
At this stage, the writing appeared to be on the wall for the Poppies. But, with Sam Bennett running his heart out to this point he was gifted with a chance on 29 minutes. Home defender, Jake Lawlor, under pressure from Bennett, could not deal with the ball. This allowed Bennett a free run-on goal and he blasted the ball pass Taylor to make it 2-1.
Within a couple of minutes of the restart, visiting keeper Gregory spilled a shot, but was alert to save the follow up. Kettering were matching their high riding opponents at this stage and for 10 minutes or so were in control. So much so that, on 41 minutes, Hill sent Bennett clear on goal again and as he drifted to Taylor’s left, the keeper made a crucial save.
The resulting corner saw Darlington have several opportunities to clear the ball, as Kettering recycled three times in an effort to force an equaliser. The goal did come from this phase of play though as a low pass into the penalty area was cleverly flicked on by Brad Gascoigne to Cooper, who finished like a striker with a low shot past Taylor.
The final act of the half saw Darlington nearly gifted a goal as Gregory made a hash of a clearance, gifting the ball to Hazel – but the stopper made up for the error with a good save.
DARLINGTON 2 - 2 KETTERING TOWN
Both teams made a change at half time with the Quakers replacing skipper, Adriano Moke with Danny Rose and George Forsyth replacing Stephan Morley.
Immediately from kick off Kettering could have scored. Bennett was through on goal and Taylor made another crucial save. Then at the other end Felix had the ball in the net but had been caught well offside. Alex Purver then hit a shot high over the bar and just four minutes into the half Kettering had to make a second substitution as the injured Lewis White was replaced by Decarrey Sheriff and the formation changed to a more attacking look.
Ben Liddle, for Darlington, had a couple of half chances – both spurned but Kettering were still in there and could have scored on the hour. A corner from the left from Ward was met by Cooper and the header was cleared off the line. Then Liddle had another chance and shot wide just before he was substituted.
The Poppies threatened on 70 minutes as Sheriff’s cross come shot was pushed away by Taylor. The subsequent corner was cleared to Hill but the shot was wide.
As the game entered the final fifteen minutes, the home side pressed hard for a winner and pinned Kettering back into their own half and sometimes their own 18-yard box. Home right back Dan Dodds made a number of fast breaks leaving defenders in his wake- all to no avail. One of his shots was deflected over the bar and a number of crosses were cleared. Jack Lambert saw a cross/shot flash across goal and then benefited from a Ward mistake to fire in a low shot, which Gregory held.
Darlington forced a number of corners, all well defended and Hazel had a shooting chance but fired wide. Gregory made two low saves- one to his left and one to his right to deny Hazel and Felix and, after massive pressure, Decarrey Sheriff broke clear for Kettering only to be hauled back for offside.
Five minutes of added time were played out as the teams earned a point each.
DARLINGTON 2 - 2 KETTERING TOWN
Match Officials: Referee: Michael Crusham; Assistants: David Holmes; Jan Suchecki.
Attendance: 1434 (Kettering fans estimated at 25)
Poppies Media Elgoods Brewery Man of the Match: Sam Bennett
Tuesday 6th: HOME to Gloucester City at 7.45pm
Saturday 10th: HOME to AFC Fylde at 3pm
Tuesday 13th: Away at AFC Telford United at 7.45pm
Monday 26th: Away at Peterborough Sports at 3pm
Sunday 1st January: HOME to Peterborough Sports at 3pm
Match report posted by Sadman KTFC.