O'Connor sends Poppies through in the FA Cup

Aaron O'Connor fires home the late winner as Kettering Town beat Basford United 3-2 to move into the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup. Picture by Peter Short
Aaron O'Connor fires home the late winner as Kettering Town beat Basford United 3-2 to move into the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup. Picture by Peter Short

Aaron O’Connor was the late hero as Kettering Town booked their place in the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup with a hard-fought 3-2 success at previously unbeaten Basford United.

Rhys Hoenes and O’Connor had given the Poppies a 2-0 lead in the first half, only for the Evo-Stik League South high-fliers to hit back to make it 2-2.

But top scorer O’Connor hit the winner with just two minutes remaining to put Kettering to within one more win of a place in the first round proper.

Marcus Law made just one enforced change from the team that started the 3-0 win over Banbury United last Tuesday with Jordan Wright, who joined on loan from Nottingham Forest yesterday, replacing the suspended Paul White in goal.

The Poppies stormed into a two-goal lead as they hit the hosts with a double strike inside two minutes.

Rhys Hoenes broke the deadlock when he latched onto a ball and went round Saul Deeney before finishing.

And it was 2-0 soon after when O’Connor latched onto a loose ball and fired home.

But Basford came back into the game and pulled a goal back two minutes before the break when Kieran Fenton headed home after Kieran Wells had flicked the ball on.

And Basford took that momentum into the second half as they equalised 10 minutes after the restart when Matthew Thornhill fired home from seven yards.

There were good chances at both ends after that with Basford really putting the Poppies under pressure at times.

But then, with two minutes to go, the ball broke for O’Connor in the box and he made no mistake again to fire home the winner and put the Poppies in the hat for Monday’s draw.