Woeful Poppies are hit for six by Weymouth

Thomas Baillie

Thomas Baillie

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Kettering Town are heading for relegation from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division - and at a rate of knots.

Not even a blistering start at Steel Park could help them on this occasion as Lewis Wilson’s early strike was soon overhauled by a Weymouth side who were worth every bit of their 6-1 victory in the end.

While a chink of light may have appeared off-the-field, there is no such thing on it at the moment as the Poppies slipped to an eighth successive defeat. And this one ended up being embarrassing.

Yes, everyone knows there is little or no money available for players at the moment. But this group now, on this display anyway, look to have had the stuffing knocked out of them.

And that is surely the case for what was already a dwindling fanbase as a shocking attendance of just 187 would suggest.

That, by the way, was the third lowest home attendance in the club’s 140-year history.

Poppies boss Thomas Baillie recalled Patrick Noubissie to the starting line-up with Henry Eze dropping to the bench having arrived late for the game. Yannick Nlate, rumoured to be on his way to Blue Square Bet North strugglers Droylsden, started his last home game in goal for the hosts.

And the Kettering manager couldn’t have asked for a better start as his side went in front inside three minutes.

Chris Logan headed Ben Ford’s corner on to the far post where he found Noubissie. His shot was blocked on the line but Wilson, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Tuesday, was on hand to hammer home from close range.

But the lead lasted just three minutes as former Poppies man Ben Joyce raced clear and lobbed the on-rushing Yannick Nlate. The ball crept towards goal and Mark Ford got there first to nod it over the line.

Logan headed straight at Simon Evans as the game continued at a lively pace but it was Weymouth who gradually proved to be the more threatening.

Troy Johnston was forced to clear Mark Ford’s shot off the line but he did his and his team’s second goal, albeit with a stroke of good fortune on 23 minutes.

Logan smashed an attempted clearance off Joyce, it fell right into his strike partner’s path and he made no mistake in beating Nlate.

It got worse 10 minutes later. Nathan Fox made a rash challenge on Kettering’s left. It gave Dan Smith the chance to whip in a free-kick, which was flicked on and another ex-Poppy Ed Palmer arrived at the far post to score from close range.

The Poppies did go close to getting another back before half-time with Wilson and Dan Crowie both having shots blocked while Michael King headed weakly at Evans when unmarked.

Kettering started the second half brightly and Nathan Hicks shot straight at Evans after a neat passing move before a golden chance fell at the feet of Michael King.

He was left with just Evans to beat but the visiting goalkeeper spread himself well to make a good block.

And the Poppies were punished for that miss as, just five minutes later, Nlate made a hash of coming for a cross from the right and Stephen Reed nodded home to end the game as a contest.

It all petered out pretty much without incident after that although new signing Louis Hamilton did see his late corner come back off the crossbar after it was caught by the chilly swirling wind.

But there was one final flourish from the visitors as they punished yet more woeful defending.

Substitute Matt Groves fired home from four yards for the fifth and Joyce got the goal he deserved when he drove home.

That finished things off nicely for the visitors, who impressed for the majority of the evening.

For Kettering, it was another disaster on the field. The rest of the season will drag if performances like this continue. Unfortunately, relegation will be confirmed a lot quicker.

Poppies: Nlate; Johnston, Logan (sub Bradshaw, 80 mins), Crowie, Fox; King (sub Hamilton, 64 mins), Hicks, Noubissie (sub Eze, 77 mins); B Ford; Griffiths, Wilson. Subs not used: Hilaire, Glen.

Weymouth: Evans; McConnell, Palmer, Wells, Poole, Reed; Clay (sub Walker, 73 mins), Skinner, Smith; Joyce, M Ford (sub Groves, 69 mins). Subs not used: Holland, Povall.

Referee: Nic Evans.

Goals: Wilson (3 mins, 1-0), M Ford (6 mins, 1-1), M Ford (23 mins, 1-2), Palmer (33 mins, 1-3), Reed (63 mins, 1-4), Groves (89 mins, 1-5), Joyce (90 mins, 1-6).

Attendance: 187.