Cup joy put a shine on Poppies’ season, says Brighton

James Brighton is mobbed by his Kettering Town team-mates after he scored the winning penalty in Tuesday's NFA Hillier Senior Cup final success. Picture by Peter Short
James Brighton is mobbed by his Kettering Town team-mates after he scored the winning penalty in Tuesday's NFA Hillier Senior Cup final success. Picture by Peter Short

James Brighton believes Kettering Town’s NFA Hillier Senior Cup success has “put a shine” on a disappointing campaign for the club.

While the Poppies’ hopes of gaining promotion from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division have fallen short of expectations, they did at least salvage some silverware on Tuesday night as they beat Corby Town on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Sixfields.

With the shoot-out locked at 6-6 in sudden death, Jason Lee missed the target for the Steelmen and that left Brighton with the chance to finish the job.

He duly sent Aidan Grant the wrong way to spark the celebrations as Kettering gained some redemption after losing to AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the final last year.

And while it won’t replace promotion or a play-off place, Brighton was pleased to be the one to secure the cup, even though he wasn’t overly keen on taking a spot-kick.

He said: “I didn’t really want to take a penalty to be honest!

“I was eighth down the line but luckily for me it went in our favour, their lad missed before me and I have slotted it away for the win.

“In all honesty, I didn’t think we played anywhere near what we are capable of so we were lucky to get a draw because Corby played well.

“But we dug in and got the goal in the last 20 minutes and then won it on penalties.

“It puts a shine on a frustrating season because we expected bigger and better things in the league. That hasn’t panned out so we were pleased to get the win on Tuesday.”

The Poppies now have three league games remaining with two of them coming in quick succession over the Easter weekend as a trip to Stratford Town on Saturday is followed by their final home game of the season against Cambridge City at Latimer Park on Monday (3pm).

With the play-off hopes over, thoughts are already turning towards next season.

And Brighton, who was voted the player-of-the-year last season, confirmed he is already in talks with the club as he looks to gain a deal to remain with the Poppies.

“I am in talks at the moment,” the left-sided player, who has scored seven goals in all competitions this season, added.

“I want to stay here, it’s been a good club to be at in the last two years.

“I get on with everyone and I just hope we can do what the fans deserve and hopefully push for promotion next season.

“But we still have three games left of this season and hopefully we can finish well and get three wins on the board.”