Poppies have some ‘work to do’

Paul Malone takes the congratulations after opening the scoring in Kettering Town's 2-1 success over Basingstoke Town at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short
Paul Malone takes the congratulations after opening the scoring in Kettering Town's 2-1 success over Basingstoke Town at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short

Marcus Law knows there is “work to do” for Kettering Town as they bid to make a late push towards the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-offs.

The Poppies maintained their impressive recent form as goals from Paul Malone and Rene Howe secured a 2-1 success over Basingstoke Town at Latimer Park.

Paul Malone celebrates as his header finds its way in to put the Poppies 1-0 up

Paul Malone celebrates as his header finds its way in to put the Poppies 1-0 up

Kettering are eight points off the top five and, with just 18 games to go, the margin for error is becoming smaller after the Poppies’ inconsistent form in the first half of the season left them playing catch-up.

Boss Law believes his team’s fate will be determined in the remainder of this month as they face crucial clashes against high-flyers Leamington, Merthyr Town and Frome Town.

And he knows those matches will need to be won if Kettering are to go on a charge for a play-off place.

“We went into the (Basingstoke) game 10 points off the play-offs and now it’s eight,” the Poppies manager said.

“We have mentioned our target in this batch of six games and we have three points towards it.

“We have five games to go in that batch and three of those are against our rivals. And if we are to get up there, we have got to beat them.

“We have work to do and we are still in a defining month but wins like this one help breed confidence.”

Law, meanwhile, was pleased with what he saw at Latimer Park as his team claimed a hard-fought success over a Basingstoke who thumped the Poppies 3-0 in the reverse game earlier in the season.

“I thought we started on the front foot, we used our physicality to put them under pressure,” Law added.

“They are young, very mobile and full-time so they are a difficult side to play against and I think what Terry Brown does with them is extremely good.

“But for us we looked like we were going to get something from every set-piece which was good and we looked to created chances.

“At the same time Paul White has pulled off a couple of great saves throughout the game but we defended a lot more decisively.

“Going forward, we certainly looked like we were going to score goals.”