Clifton the hero as Poppies start with a win

Kettering Town joint-managers Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin
Kettering Town joint-managers Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin

James Clifton headed home a second-half winner for Kettering Town as they started the new Southern League Division One Central campaign with a 2-1 success over Aylesbury United at Latimer Park.

In their first league game in charge, joint-managers Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin opted to give Jamie McAlindon the number one shirt as he started in goal while summer signing Nick Bennion was named on the bench.

Ross Oulton and Ash Robinson were handed their league debuts while Andy Hall also started, although Brett Solkhon was ruled out due to a one-match ban carried over from last season.

There was a blow for the Poppies ahead of kick-off as Henry Eze picked up an injury and was replaced in the starting line-up by Dan Crowie while Harry Beckley was added to the substitutes’ bench.

Hall had an early effort blocked and Dubi Ogbonna forced visiting goalkeeper Jack Sillitoe into a save before the Poppies took the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Ogbonna was fouled in the area and Andy Gooding stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

Aylesbury hit back early in the second half, however, with a penalty of their own.

Steve Hatch was adjudged to have been pushed at a corner and Paul Edgeworth beat McAlindon from the resulting spot-kick.

Kettering did regain the lead with 17 minutes to go though when Clifton struck with what proved to be the winner when he headed home Gooding’s corner.

The Poppies will be looking to make it two home wins in a row when they take on Northwood at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

Poppies: McAlindon, Clifton, Kinniburgh, Gooding, Crowie, Hull, Oulton, Robinson, Ogbonna, Moreman, Hall. Subs: Bukasa, Thorpe, Taylor, Beckley, Bennion.

Aylesbury United: Sillitoe, Grace, Bewley, S Wood, Morgan, Smyth, Hatch, Coulter, Reynolds, Field, Edgeworth. Subs: Williams, Acheampong, Owens, Waites, Higby.

Goals: Gooding pen (45 mins, 1-0), Edgeworth pen (53 mins, 1-1), Clifton (73 mins, 2-1).

Attendance: 689.