Spirited Poppies beaten by Wrexham

NEW KETTERING TOWN MANAGER, ASHLEY WESTWOOD, Wrexham v Kettering Town, Blue Square Premier, Racecourse Ground, Saturday 21st January 2012
NEW KETTERING TOWN MANAGER, ASHLEY WESTWOOD, Wrexham v Kettering Town, Blue Square Premier, Racecourse Ground, Saturday 21st January 2012
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A spirited effort from Kettering Town wasn’t quite enough as title-chasing Wrexham secured a hard-fought 1-0 win at Nene Park.

The Poppies handed young Middlesbrough striker Charlie Wyke a debut after he signed on a youth loan on Friday.

But the defeat leaves the Poppies still in big trouble at the wrong end of the table following their three-point deduction during the week.

Wrexham started the better and could have been in front inside two minutes when Djoumin Sangare’s mis-placed header fell for Jake Speight but he blasted wide of the mark.

The visitors went even closer on six minutes when Mathias Pogba cut in from the left and unleashed a shot that crashed back off the crossbar.

Kettering had few opportunities but the best was Nathan Ralph’s shot that rolled wide of the post.

And it was no surprise when Wrexham took the lead on 24 minutes when Jamie Tolley’s free-kick went under the defensive wall and found the bottom corner.

The visitors could and should have been further in front at the break with Steven Leslie shooting over when he should have left it for the unmarked Pogba after a great ball from Neil Ashton.

And, on the stroke of half-time, Speight cut in from the left but fell over the ball just as he shaped to shoot.

Kettering threw on youngster Ben Ford at half-time and he played his part in a much more energetic performance as the hosts took the game to Wrexham.

Neither Wyke or Ollie Jones could get a touch on Sol Davis’ perfect delivery and Danny Mills was denied by a fine block from Chris Westwood and a save from Mayebi.

But Kettering’s best chance came with 20 minutes to go when Ralph swung in a free-kick but Sangare could only head wide when unmarked.

Wrexham boss Andy Morrell threw himself on as well as Glen Little as he tried to stem the tide and, although Kettering had plenty of endeavour, the visitors did see the game out and Little forced Walker into a good save.

Morrell should have finished it off late on when he volleyed wide after arriving unmarked at the far post but it didn’t matter.

Poppies: Walker; Ifil, Bridges, Sangare (sub Pryor, 79 mins), Davis; Verma, Hornby (sub Ford, h-t), Ralph; Jones, Wyke, Mills.

Wrexham: Mayebi; S Wright, Westwood, Knight-Percival, Ashton; Clarke, Tolley, Leslie (sub Little, 74 mins); Speight (sub Cieslewicz, 64 mins), D Wright (sub Morrell, 74 mins), Pogba. Subs not used: Maxwell, Hunt.

Referee: Richard West.

Goals: Tolley (24 mins, 0-1).

Bookings: Ifil, Ashton (both fouls), Speight (kicking ball away).

Attendance: 1,377.