PRE-SEASON - Poppies win the Maunsell Cup, Diamonds lose out after Steelmen enjoy easy success

Kettering Town show off the NFA Maunsell Cup after their penalty shoot-out success over Northampton Town. Pictures by Sharon Lucey
Kettering Town show off the NFA Maunsell Cup after their penalty shoot-out success over Northampton Town. Pictures by Sharon Lucey
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Kettering Town were on the spot as they clinched the NFA Maunsell Cup with a penalty shoot-out success over Northampton Town after a 1-1 draw in the final at Wellingborough Town’s Dog & Duck home.

Having won the NFA Hillier Cup in similar fashion when beating Corby Town back in April, the Poppies earned their pre-season warm-up with a strong Cobblers side.
Justin Edinburgh’s Sky Bet League One outfit were dominant in the opening period with Dean Bowditch giving them the lead with a neat finish after a good move on the left.
The Cobblers created plenty of other chances while Aaron Phillips’ cross bounced off the bar as they looked for a second.
The Poppies finished the first half well having been on the backfoot for the majority of it and they had the ball in the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for Nathan Hicks’ foul on goalkeeper David Cornell.
But Marcus Law’s team were much better after the break and a bright start to the second half was rewarded in spectacular fashion when summer signing Michael Richens produced a superb chip from fully 35 yards which found the corner with Cornell beaten.
Rene Howe shot over soon after when he should have done better but the Cobblers grew back into it with Bowditch firing over an open net after Marc Richards had seized on Paul White spilling the ball.
And the Cobblers almost won it at the death when substitute Brendan Maloney saw his shot cannon back off the post.
The game went straight to a shoot-out and, after six perfect efforts, Richens put the Poppies 4-3 up before White produced a superb stop to push away Bowditch’s spot-kick.
That gave Brett Solkhon the chance to win it and he duly stepped up to finish the job and round off a 5-3 shoot-out success.

Michael Richens takes the congratulations after scoring his fine equaliser for the Poppies

Michael Richens takes the congratulations after scoring his fine equaliser for the Poppies

AFC Rushden & Diamonds suffered their first friendly defeat of the summer as they were beaten 2-1 by St Ives Town at Hayden Road.
Goals from Jimmy Hartley and Peter Clark put the Evo-Stik South League Premier side 2-0 up before Joel Gyasi pulled one back for Andy Peaks’ side.

Corby Town claimed some silverware on last night (Friday) as they enjoyed a comfortable 5-0 victory over town rivals Stewarts & Lloyds at Steel Park to lift the Bob Cummings Cup.
The Steelmen, who again had veteran Paul Bastock in goal, were 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Steven Leslie and summer signing Grant Ryan.
Sam Mulready’s fifth goal in pre-season made it three and the hosts rounded off a good night with youngster Jordan O’Brien netting his third of the summer before Adam Frisch completed the scoring with the last kick of the game.

Action from the Maunsell Cup final between Kettering Town and Northampton Town. Picture by Sharon Lucey

Action from the Maunsell Cup final between Kettering Town and Northampton Town. Picture by Sharon Lucey