Poppies beaten as problems mount

Irthlingborough, Nene Park, Kettering Town FC, Mark Cooper back as manager of the Poppies. Mark Cooper attends training with the players. 'Thursday, 05 January 2012
Irthlingborough, Nene Park, Kettering Town FC, Mark Cooper back as manager of the Poppies. Mark Cooper attends training with the players. 'Thursday, 05 January 2012

Kettering Town’s on-pitch problems continued as Mark Cooper’s return couldn’t prevent another defeat, this time a 3-1 loss to fellow Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers AFC Telford United.

The Poppies had taken an early lead through Jean-Paul Marna but conceded a poor goal just before half-time and Telford were able to power away.

The off-field issues remain the same after it was revealed a winding up order has been placed on the club while it seems that a consortium who are ready to take over the club are being frustrated in their attempts.

But things started well on the pitch for the Poppies at the New Bucks Head as they took the lead inside the first five minutes with what proved to be their only attempt on goal in the first half.

A lack of communication in the Telford defence gave Marna a run on goal and he promptly beat Ryan Young with a good finish.

Telford’s response was good and Sol Davis produced a trademark clearance off the line to deny Marlon Jackson before Laurie Walker denied Chris Sharp.

But it all went horribly wrong two minutes before half-time when Josh Dawkin didn’t get enough on his passback to Walker and Sharp beat the goalkeeper to it and found the net.

Ashley Cain went close to doubling the lead in stoppage-time but the hosts did go in front early in the second half when Phil Trainer got on the end of a free-kick and his header looped over Walker and into the corner.

Telford had their tails up after that but Kettering did calm it down and Marna tested Young with a shot as they looked to respond.

The returning Marcus Kelly brought a good save out of Young with a curling free-kick while, at the other end, Walker kept out Jackson’s near-post effort after he had outpaced Jaime Navarro.

Djoumin Sangare had claims for a penalty waved away after went down under a challenge from Chris Blackburn and Telford’s Kyle Perry had a header ruled out for a push.

The Poppies lost Navarro to injury in the last 10 minutes after he came off second best in a 50-50 challenge with Jackson and, after Jay Smith had hit the top of the bar with a free-kick, it was Jackson who finished the job with a fine strike from 20 yards.

It was a disappointing defeat and it means Kettering remain in trouble at the bottom. But there are bigger battles to be won.

AFC Telford: Young; Salmon, Killock, Blackburn, Valentine (sub Preston, 81 mins); Cain (sub Jones, 69 mins), Smith, Trainer, Jackson; Sharp (sub Samuels, 89 mins), Perry. Subs not used: Rodgers, Robinson.

Poppies: Walker; Navarro (sub Pryor, 83 mins), Sangare, Davis; Dawkin, Meechan (sub Jones, 73 mins), Bridges, Noubissie, Kelly; Verma; Marna. Subs not used: Cross.

Referee: Declan Ford.

Goals: Marna (5 mins, 0-1), Sharp (43 mins, 1-1), Trainer (46 mins, 2-1), Jackson (86 mins, 3-1).

Bookings: Valentine, Smith, Noubissie, Verma (all fouls).

Attendance: 2,035.