Title ‘not really’ in Thomas’ thoughts as Poppies seal play-off spot

Elliot Sandy heads home Kettering Town's opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Daventry Town, which sealed the Poppies' place in the Calor League Division One Central play-offs. Pictures by Mike Capps/www.kappasport.co.uk
Elliot Sandy heads home Kettering Town's opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Daventry Town, which sealed the Poppies' place in the Calor League Division One Central play-offs. Pictures by Mike Capps/www.kappasport.co.uk
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Dean Thomas insists Kettering Town winning the Calor League Division One Central title is something he has “not really thought about”.

The Poppies boss was thrilled as his team confirmed their place in the play-offs with a 2-0 victory over title-chasing county rivals Daventry Town at a packed Latimer Park yesterday (Monday).

Kettering Town v Daventry Town

Kettering Town v Daventry Town

It was Kettering’s eighth successive win and, coupled with Barton Rovers’ 2-0 loss at Rugby Town and Slough Town’s 3-1 defeat at Aylesbury, now means the Poppies won’t finish lower than fourth.

But there could still be an outside chance that they could nick the crown in their final game of the regular season at North Greenford United.

For that to happen, they will firstly need Daventry to fail to win their game in hand at Egham Town tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

Should that be the case, a victory at North Greenford and an unlikely trio of losses for Daventry, Dunstable Town and Rugby Town would land the title.

Dubi Ogbonna Celebrates after scoring Ketterings Second Goal, Kettering Town v Daventry Town Town Calor Gas League Division One Burton Park Easter Monday 21st April 2014

Dubi Ogbonna Celebrates after scoring Ketterings Second Goal, Kettering Town v Daventry Town Town Calor Gas League Division One Burton Park Easter Monday 21st April 2014

It is a highly unlikely scenario and Thomas is chosing, for the time being, to focus on the play-offs with the one-off semi-final due to be played a week today with the final taking place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 5.

Thomas said: “I have not really thought about us winning the league.

“I never thought we could to be honest because it is in the hands of other people.

“I am over the moon that we have achieved what we have now.

Kettering Town v Daventry Town

Kettering Town v Daventry Town

“The play-offs were our target and I am grateful we are in them and given ourselves a chance to get promoted.”

The Poppies certainly didn’t have things all their own way in front of 1,228 fans as Daventry struck the post twice and created the better chances for a long spell at Latimer Park.

But Kettering clicked into gear in the second half and Elliot Sandy headed them in front before top scorer Dubi Ogbonna came off the bench to finish the job with three minutes remaining.

And Thomas felt there was “a bit of fear” in his players in the opening period.

Thomas added: “I thought for an hour the game was fairly even.

“We had a bit of fear in our eyes in the first half, I don’t think the lads wanted to make any mistakes.

“There are still a lot of young players in the side and that’s when you call on the experienced boys to guide them and calm them down.

“We had a good chat at half-time about not playing with fear. We went into a different gear and that brought us the win we ended up with.

“We didn’t ask them enough questions but there were chances at both ends in the second half.

“But once we scored the goal, which was a fine header from Elliot, there was no turning back.

“I thought we knocked the stuffing out of them and then kicked on and controlled the game.”

Don’t miss more reaction to the Poppies booking their play-off place in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph