Poppies boss Baillie has reasons to be cheerful despite defeat

Kettering Town took on Mickleover in the FA Trophy

Kettering Town took on Mickleover in the FA Trophy

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Kettering Town boss Thomas Baillie found reasons to be cheerful after the Poppies crashed out of the FA Trophy.

From 2-1 up, the Poppies were beaten 3-2 at Mickleover Sports in the first qualifying round tie after centre-half Jason Lee was red carded in the 67th minute.

There were no complaints with the referee’s decision - Lee was the last defender when he tripped Anthony Griffiths-Junior - and the game was lost when Jordan Ball’s last-minute shot took a deflection off James Clifton’s boot on its way into the corner of the net.

Baillie said: “I thought at 2-1 we would go on to win the game, but the sending off changed everything.

“Even when we were down to 10 men I thought we were the better side for spells.

“I couldn’t ask for any more desire and determination from the players.

“They gave everything.

“Mickleover have a good home record and we could have come here looking for a draw, but we went for the win.”

Claudio Hoban was on target after being brought back to the club on non-contract terms from Oxford City.

Baillie said: “Claudio is a player I have liked for a few years. He’s a local lad and with Thorpey injured, there’s a spot for someone to claim on the right side.

“Claudio needs games and we are glad to have him here.”

The crowd at the Raygar Stadium was swelled by a noisy travelling support and Baillie said: “Mickleover isn’t just down the road and the support was massively appreciated.

“Even when we lost there weren’t any gripes. The supporters could see the effort we put in.

“People want to come and play for us because of the great support we get.

“We need to repay them by picking up three points on Tuesday night.”

The Poppies welcome back Tommy Hull for the home match with Barton Rovers and Baillie said: “We have made our priorities clear this season.

“We want to win the league and have put ourselves in a good position to do that.”