A ‘long week’ ends well for leaders Poppies

Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie
Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie

“A good end to a long week.”

Those were the words of Kettering Town joint-manager Thomas Baillie after his team maintained top spot in the Southern League Division One Central with a 2-1 success at Beaconsfield SYCOB.

First-half goals from Dubi Ogbonna and Alfie Taylor proved to be enough for the Poppies as they bounced back from their disappointing exit from the FA Cup last weekend with another victory in the league.

Kettering are two points clear of Royston Town as they now prepare for Tuesday’s short trip to Bedford Town.

But, after he and fellow joint-boss Scott Machin came in for criticism following last Saturday’s loss to Chalfont St Peter, Baillie expressed a sense of relief after his team continued their impressive start to the league season.

“It’s been a long week for us,” Baillie said.

“Sometimes when you lose a game, another comes along straight away to give you an immediate opportunity to bounce back.

“That wasn’t the case for us after the FA Cup last weekend so it was certainly one of the longest weeks of my life and this was a huge game for all of us.

“It should have been more comfortable than it was. We got in front and we had other chances but we gave the ball away cheaply in the middle of the pitch and they broke away and scored.

“They did have a 10-minute spell when they put us under pressure but we came back in the last 20 minutes and couple have scored again ourselves.

“But the camp is good, we have made some solid additions and it worked out well for us. It has been a good end to a long week.”

Lewis Wilson started for the Poppies after rejoining the club on loan from Oxford City while James Clifton played at centre-half with Tommy Hull unavailable.

Baillie was also full of praise for striker Taylor who has had to wait for an opportunity while the Poppies joint-manager also confirmed both James Jepson, who re-signed for the club on Friday, and Jon Bukasa had been suffering from illness during the week.

“We had to make changes and I thought James Clifton did well in the middle of the defence and Ash Robinson did a shift for us at right-back,” he added.

“We had planned to use both James Jepson and Jon Bukasa but both of them had been ill during the week and they weren’t ready to start the game.

“Alfie Taylor started and scored. It was a good finish and I can’t ask for anything more from him after that.”