A magnificent seven for the Poppies
Kettering Town moved up to third place in the Evo-Stik South League Premier after a comfortable 7-0 success at rock-bottom Gosport Borough.
The big win saw the Poppies move above both Slough and Weymouth ahead of their big clash with the latter at Latimer Park on Thursday night as the battle for home supremacy in the play-offs goes on.
Boss Marcus Law again rang the changes as Brett Solkhon, Kalern Thomas, Liam Bateman, Rhys Hoenes, Ben Milnes and Mathew Stevens all came into the starting line-up while the likes of top scorer Aaron O’Connor, Gary Mulligan, Orrin Pendley and Lindon Meikle were named on the bench.
But all those changes had little effect as Kettering took the lead on 11 minutes when Gary Stohrer’s cross was too hard for Hoenes but his touch fell to Stevens who rolled his defender and fired home across goal.
The Poppies thought they had a penalty after Hoenes was brought down but, having originally pointed to the spot, the referee awarded a free-kick after consulting with his assistant.
But Kettering did double their lead when Thomas headed down a corner and Solkhon was on hand to fire high into the roof of the net.
Paul White had to make a good save to deny Craig McAllister at the other end but it was comfortable for the Poppies after they made it 3-0.
This time, they did get a penalty when Stevens was brought down and Solkhon stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
Kettering didn’t take their foot off the gas after the break and Rene Howe was denied by a fine save from Pat O’Flaherty who then tipped another effort from the striker onto the post.
But Howe did score the fourth with a powerful header before Stevens made it 5-0 with a composed finish.
Howe grabbed the goal of the night with fine curling shot from 20 yards and there was still time for substitute O’Connor to have the final say when he fired low into the bottom corner.