Jon Dunham – Now we find out what these Poppies are made of

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

All good things eventually come to an end.

It was perhaps unrealistic for anyone to think that Kettering Town would go through the remainder of the Calor League Division One Central campaign without being beaten.

Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat at Barton Rovers finally saw the record-breaking 21-match unbeaten run brought to an end, it was a run of form that took the Poppies from 16th to sixth in the league table and which saw them claim 49 points.

Many had tried, Barton finally succeeded and it certainly sounds like they enjoyed it as well – a sure sign that the Poppies will always be a scalp regardless of the level they find themselves at.

Dean Thomas and his players have, quite rightly, taken all the plaudits over the past five months. This squad have already written their names into the club’s packed history books.

But now we are going to find out what they are made of.

The unbeaten run is history, now it is time to see how they react to a defeat.

The fact it was ended by one of their play-off rivals hasn’t exactly done a great deal to help them in their quest for a top-five finish.

But the stage is well and truly set for them with 10 games to go – still a gigantic haul of 30 points to play for.

The sign of a good side is how they pick themselves up after a setback and Kettering now have the chance to show just how good they are.

Make no mistake about it, the fact they have put themselves into this sort of position given the start they had is nothing short of miraculous.

But the key now is to ensure the position is not wasted.

There is plenty of experience within the Poppies dressing-room and it will be up to those senior players to lead their team through the next 10 matches and, hopefully, into an extended season.

And they will certainly be tested this weekend as they look to bounce back at Uxbridge, who currently sit on top of the form table with five wins and a draw from their last six matches.

Then follows three home games in no time at all, clearly what they do at Latimer Park in the remainder of this campaign will ultimately decide their fate.

When speaking to him this week after the defeat at Barton, captain Steve Kinniburgh got it spot on when he said his team now have a “10-game season” in front of them.

They know what they have to do and there is no reason to suggest they can’t go on and achieve something very special at the end of what has been another rollercoaster of a season.