Poppies are relegated

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Kettering Town have been relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier after a 3-0 home defeat to play-off contenders Mansfield Town today.

The loss and Stockport County’s win over Lincoln City was enough to finally put the hapless Poppies out of their misery.

The Poppies were soon on the back foot and Kelvin Jack made a fine save to deny Matt Green before the visitors took the lead on 14 minutes.

Gary Roberts sent over an inch-perfect cross from the right and Lindon Meikle got ahead of Max York to head home at the far post.

Ross Dyer shot wide of the mark after he was played in by Louis Briscoe as the Stags went for the kill but they were frustrated by Jack who palmed away a header from his own manager Ashley Westwood.

And he produced a fine double save to deny Meikle and then Dyer, whose rebound flicked off the goalkeeper and hit the crossbar on its way out.

Kettering’s best chance came just before half-time when Marcus Kelly was played in by Charlie Wyke but Luke O’Neill did enough to put him off as he was about to shoot.

And there was still time for Jack to stop Briscoe’s fierce strike before the break.

Mansfield started the second half well and Green smashed a shot off the post before Briscoe’s follow-up was tipped over by Jack.

But they did get the crucial second goal just past the hour when Anthony Howell’s ball over the top saw Green beat the offiside trap and he turned inside David Bridges before finishing it off for goal number 28 of the season.

Kelly had a free-kick tipped over by Alan Marriott in a rare Kettering effort before Roberts shot just wide for Mansfield.

The game petered out after that but the Stags did round things off with five minutes to go when substitute Matt Rhead beat Jack with a powerful header.

And Kettering’s misery was complete in stoppage-time when player-boss Westwood was sent off for a foul on Ben Hutchinson.

Poppies: Jack; York, Westwood, Bridges Ralph; Sangare, (sub Gray, h-t), Kelly, Noubissie; Joyce, Wyke (sub van Engel, 77 mins), Mills. Subs not used: Ford, Petranuyk.

Mansfield: Marriott; O’Neill, Riley, Geohaghon, Sutton; Briscoe (sub Rhead, 61 mins), Roberts (sub Worthington, 78 mins), Howell, Meikle; Green (sub Hutchinson, 75 mins), Dyer. Subs not used: Redmond, Andrew.

Referee: John Hopkins.

Goals: Meikle (14 mins, 0-1), Green (63 mins, 0-2), Rhead (85 mins, 3-0).

Booking: Sutton (foul).

Sending-off: Westwood (foul).

Attendance: 1,818.