VERDICT – Hall’s fine strike seals it for Poppies

James Hall, who scored the only goal of the game, takes on a Kings Langley opponent during Kettering Town's 1-0 success. Pictures by Peter Short
James Hall, who scored the only goal of the game, takes on a Kings Langley opponent during Kettering Town's 1-0 success. Pictures by Peter Short

James Hall’s magnificent goal just after half-time sent Kettering Town to a third win in a row at Latimer Park as they saw off Kings Langley.

Don’t let the 1-0 scoreline fool you, however, this was probably about as comfortable as it gets as the Poppies dominated proceedings.

Kings Langley goalkeeper Xavi Comas tips over Liam Canavan's lob

Kings Langley goalkeeper Xavi Comas tips over Liam Canavan's lob

They possibly didn’t create as much as they would have liked but they were well worth the points with goalkeeper Paul White only forced into one serious save all afternoon.

The game did almost have an end-of-season feel to it, a strange thing to say when it’s only the middle of February.

Kings Langley still have work to do to ensure they remain in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division but, for Kettering, the season does seem to heading for a low-key conclusion.

This was Marcus Law’s team’s 10th win from the last 16 matches and another example of how they have turned their form on their own ground around in recent weeks.

Marcus Law watches on at Latimer Park

Marcus Law watches on at Latimer Park

But, at the moment, there are few mistakes being made above them. Another game chalked off, another win but no ground made on the top five.

That will, no doubt, be another cause for frustration, which has truly been the buzzword for the Poppies in this campaign.

For the time being, all they can do is win and hope but the clock is now against them and if mistakes are going to happen from those above them then they do have to happen sooner rather than later.

As far as this game was concerned, it was an accomplished effort on a tough surface as the Latimer Park pitch begins to show the wear and tear of a season.

The Poppies had the better of things in the first half and Liam Canavan’s lob was tipped over by Xavi Comas while Brett Solkhon hooked a volley wide of the mark.

But Hall made no mistake soon after the restart.

Kettering forced a corner, Lewis Hornby sent it in and it was cleared to Hall on the edge of the area. And he wasted little time in unleashing a wonderful strike that flew past Comas and found its way in with the aid of the underside of the crossbar.

And that proved to be enough,

Kieran Turner saw an effort fly just wide and White made the key save of the game from Lewis Toomey who fired towards the near post after the ball broke for him following a free-kick.

Aside from that, the Poppies defence dealt with everything and they could have added to their lead with Gary Mulligan’s goalbound header being hacked clear by Gary Connolly while the influential Rene Howe was just off target with two late efforts.

Another home game done and another win on the board.

Kettering’s recent form, on the whole, has been very good but so far there are no cracks appearing from above.

They simply have to keep going and rack up another victory at Dunstable Town on Tuesday night and hope something changes, quickly…

Poppies: White; Mulligan, Solkhon, Langdon; Hicks, Canavan (sub John, 76 mins), Hornby, Kelly; Hall (sub Bateman, 75 mins), Howe, A O’Connor. Subs not used: Malone, J O’Connor, McAlindon.

Kings Langley: Comas; Platt, Connolly, Johnson, Baloglin; Turner (sub Verney, 81 mins), Pattison (sub Cox, 81 mins), Coldicott-Stevens, Bush (sub Toomey, 58 mins), Amoo; King. Subs not used: Waldren, Ward.

Referee: Abbas Khan.

Goal: Hall (46 mins, 1-0).

Bookings: Langdon, Pattison, Baloglin, Cox (all fouls).

Attendance: 560.