Poppies claim first win of the season

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas

Louis Hamilton’s first-half goal secured Kettering Town’s first win of the season in the Calor League Division One Central.

After three successive defeats that had seen them ship 10 goals, the Poppies claimed a clean sheet and also missed a late penalty in their 1-0 success at St Ives Town, who ended the game with nine men.

Kettering boss Dean Thomas was forced into a number of changes with Dave Deeney, Ashley Deeney and Brad Piercewright all missing through injury.

Will Muzvimbiri, Nathan Fox, James Tricks, Louis Hamilton, Lewis Wilson and Rob Foster all came into the starting line-up with Jake Newman, Jermaine Clarke and Wes Emery dropping to the bench.

There was also a substitute appearance for Aidan Bradshaw - his first appearance in the Poppies squad since successfully battling testicular cancer during pre-season.

There were few chances at either end in the early stages but it was Kettering who struck first on 17 minutes. Hamilton sent over a cross and it drifted over the head of home goalkeeper Nick Bennion and into the far corner.

Poppies goalkeeper Michael Quirke’s first save was a comfortable one from Karl Gibbs’ header while Foster forced Bennion into a full-length stop at the other end.

Tricks also tested Bennion as his effort was turned away for a corner and Foster poked an effort just wide after the home stopper spilled a cross under pressure from Wilson.

Kettering continued to perform well after the break and substitute Newman saw a shot blocked before fellow replacement Clarke saw an even better chance go begging when he was clear on goal but shot wide.

Foster sent an effort over on the turn but the Poppies had a big let-off when Jon Stead’s free-kick from the edge of the box cannoned off the crossbar.

Bennion saved well from Foster again and St Ives’ hopes all but disappeared when Dan Newman was sent off for a second bookable offence.

And the Poppies were handed the chance to round it off in stoppage-time. Scott Everdell was penalised for a deliberate handball and shown red as the hosts went down to nine men.

But the resulting penalty saw Foster drag his shot wide from 12 yards. However, it didn’t matter as Kettering were able to celebrate their first win of the season.

Poppies line-up: Quirke, Muzvimbiri, Fox, Kinniburgh, Logan, Thorpe, Tricks, Gooding, Hamilton, Wilson, Foster. Subs: McAlindon, Newman, Bradshaw, Emery, Clarke.

Goal: Hamilton (17 mins, 0-1).

Attendance: 449.