Poppies pegged back after a flying start

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas

Kettering Town were unable to build on a fine start at Latimer Park as Beaconsfield SYCOB fought back to earn a thoroughly deserved 1-1 draw in the Calor League Division One Central.

The Poppies made a flying start when Louis Hamilton put them in front with just one minute on the clock.

But the hosts never really went on from there and Beaconsfield produced a much-improved display after the break and were well worth their equaliser. The might even argue they deserved more.

The Poppies were forced into two changes from the team that claimed a fine 3-0 success at Arlesey Town in the Red Insure Cup in midweek.

Rob Foster was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder while Jonathon Thorpe, who scored twice at Arlesey, was also missing from the squad through injury.

Kieren Joseph, also on target as a substitute on Tuesday, and Hamilton came into the starting line-up while new signing Harry Beckley was named on the bench.

Things couldn’t have started much better for the Poppies as they went in front with exactly 60 seconds on the clock.

A free-kick from the left was whipped in and it eventually fell to Chris Logan at the far post. He put the ball back across goal and Hamilton was there to finish it off from a couple of yards.

The remainder of the half was fairly low-key. New Poppies goalkeeper Denham Hinds got an important touch on Zak Joseph’s shot across goal in a rare opening for the visitors.

And, at the other end, Kieren Joseph was unlucky to see his 30-yard effort spin just wide of an empty net after visiting goalkeeper James Reading’s clearance went straight to him.

Logan saw a header go just wide as the Poppies finished the half well and Beaconsfield responded by making two changes at the break to ensure all their substitutions had been used with a full half still to play.

But those changes had the desire effect for the visitors as they started the second half well and grabbed the equaliser nine minutes after the restart.

Nathan Poulton whipped a dangerous inswinging free-kick into the area from the right and Reece Yorke met it with a firm header.

And Beaconsfield were almost in front just three minutes later when another Poulton set-piece eventually fell to Jordan Ajanlekoko but he scooped the ball over the crossbar.

Dean Thomas responded with a double change of his own as he switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Jake Newman and Deqwon Ebanks both coming on to replace Logan and Kieren Joseph respectively.

And the substitutes almost created a goal for the hosts when Ebanks was allowed a bit of space in the area and teed the ball up for Newman who shot over the bar.

But Beaconsfield continued to look the bigger threat and there was a big warning shot across the Kettering goal when Jack Hutchinson’s dangerous ball in had no takers and went wide of the far post.

The Poppies piled on some late pressure with four successive corners in stoppage-time but nothing came of them as both sides had to settle for a point. And that was the right outcome.

Poppies: Hinds; Akubuine, Eze, Hull, Kinniburgh; Hamilton (sub Bukasa, 80 mins), Gooding, Jepson, Logan (sub Newman, 66 mins), Fuller; K Joseph (sub Ebanks, 64 mins). Subs not used: Beckley, Dent.

Beaconsfield SYCOB: Reading; O’Sullivan (sub Ajanlekoko, 10 mins), Hewitt, Yorke, Webb; Hutchinson, Brooks, Christian (sub Haule, h-t), Poulton; Lockhart-Adams (sub Lewis, h-t), Z Joseph. Subs not used: Munday, Bates.

Referee: John Steel.

Goals: Hamilton (1 min, 1-0), Yorke (56 mins, 1-1).

Bookings: Webb, Brooks, Christian (all fouls).

Attendance: 556.