Bittersweet memories for Cox as focus falls on Trophy

It will be 20 years next May since Kettering Town’s big day out at Wembley Stadium.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 1:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 1:41 pm
Paul Cox will lead Kettering Town into this season's FA Trophy campaign having been part of the Poppies squad that reached the final at Wembley in 2000. Picture by Peter Short

A memorable FA Trophy run culminated in 14,000 Poppies fans heading down the M1 to see their team take on Kingstonian in the final.

But the day was to end in heartbreak as, despite goals from Colin Vowden and Craig Norman putting them 2-1 up, Kingstonian fought back to win 3-2 and lift the Trophy.

It was a bitter pill to swallow, not least for current Kettering manager Paul Cox.

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Cox played a full part in the majority of that famous run to the Twin Towers, only to see his dreams of playing on the hallowed turf ruined when he tore his calf between the first and second legs of the semi-final against Telford United.

The current crop get this season’s Buildbase FA Trophy campaign under way on Saturday with a tricky trip to BetVictor Southern League Premier Central outfit Peterborough Sports.

And Cox would love nothing more than to take the Poppies on another big run as manager.

“We want to emulate all the stuff the club has done in the past and they are are amazing memories,” he said.

“I was absolutely gutted, I think I played right up until the second leg of the semi-final at Telford United.

“I had been playing with an Achilles injury and then tore my calf and I was absolutely heartbroken.

“But I remember that run like it was yesterday. They are great memories apart from not winning the final, it’s probably the worst place to go and not win.”

The Poppies head into the tie at Peterborough on the back of a 4-4 draw with Blyth Spartans in the Vanarama National League North last weekend as they fought back from 3-0 and 4-2 down to earn a point against their fellow strugglers at Latimer Park.

A much-changed line-up then claimed a 4-1 victory against Wellingborough Town in the quarter-finals of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

Brett Solkhon stole the headlines by scoring a hat-trick while Mo Sebbeh wrapped things up late on with his first goal for the club after Lloyd Buckby had pulled one back for the Doughboys.