We could have won it, says Poppies boss Baillie

Action from Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Totton. Pictures by Kelly Cooper

Action from Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Totton. Pictures by Kelly Cooper

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Thomas Baillie admitted there was a sense of disappointment in the Kettering Town camp after they claimed a 1-1 draw with AFC Totton in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

The relegation-bound Poppies looked to be heading for a club record 10th successive league defeat when Ryan Hill hammered home a free-kick with 14 minutes to go.

Action from Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Totton. Pictures by Kelly Cooper

Action from Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Totton. Pictures by Kelly Cooper

That came after Jamie Griffiths had ballooned a penalty over the crossbar. But Kettering did fight back to claim a deserved share of the spoils when skipper Nathan Hicks fired home a low shot.

The draw stopped the rot for Baillie’s side, who still remain 22 points adrift of safety, and the Kettering boss was pleased with the character his young team showed to get back into it.

“As with all these things, when you are up against it you don’t always get the rub of the green and that happened to us at times in the game,” the Kettering manager said.

“To be honest, I am a little disappointed because we probably did enough to win it, certainly in the second half we had plenty of chances.

Action from Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Totton. Pictures by Kelly Cooper

Action from Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Totton. Pictures by Kelly Cooper

“We had lost nine in a row but the lads were in there after the game disappointed that they didn’t win this one.

“Some young players these days don’t understand how hard they need to work and this game showed that if you do put that work in then you will get your rewards.

“Even after we went 1-0 down we worked hard and got back into it. In the end, we could have won.

“We gave away too many silly free-kicks around our own box. And, to be fair to their lad, he stepped up and cracked it in on that occasion.

“But we showed a lot of character to come back and get something from the game. The lads are pleased we have got a point but disappointed we haven’t got three.

“I think they should all be feeling upbeat about their performance and the result.”

With Ash Talbot unavailable, Baillie added former Coventry City goalkeeper Michael Quirke to the squad ahead of the game and he enjoyed a decent debut between the sticks.

But recent signing Aman Verma missed out as the club await international clearance after the midfielder played most recently in Malta.

There was also further bad news as Baillie confirmed Pat Noubissie is facing time on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury in the second half.

Kettering are back in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Cambridge City.