Boss Cox so frustrated as Kettering Town's festive fixtures come under threat

Positive Covid-19 cases within the squad and backroom staff mean the Poppies' Christmas matches could be postponed

By Jon Dunham
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 8:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 8:54 am
Paul Cox has been left frustrated as Kettering Town's festive programme has come under threat due to positive Covid-19 cases. Pictures by Peter Short
Paul Cox has been left frustrated as Kettering Town's festive programme has come under threat due to positive Covid-19 cases. Pictures by Peter Short

Kettering Town’s Christmas plans have been thrown off course after cases of Covid-19 were confirmed within their squad and backroom staff.

The Poppies enjoyed an impressive return to winning ways last weekend as two goals from Jordon Crawford and one each from George Cooper and Callum Powell earned them a 4-0 success at Leamington.

They were then due to face Southport at Latimer Park last night (Tuesday) knowing another victory would move them up to eighth in the Vanarama National League North.

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But the midweek clash was postponed as positive cases emerged and it is now likely that their Boxing Day clash at Brackley Town and the home game with Kidderminster Harriers next Tuesday will suffer the same fate.

No official decision on those games has been made but the frustration is already there for Poppies boss Paul Cox.

“We have been doing everything right,” the Kettering manager said.

“The players have been doing lateral flow tests before they come into training and we have done everything we can to try to prevent it.

Jordon Crawford celebrates the second of his two goals in Saturday's 4-0 victory at Leamington

“It’s frustrating for everyone. These festive games bring good revenue into clubs at this time of year and, from a footballing point of view, we knew going into Tuesday that a win would take us up to eighth but now we haven’t played that game and we are facing another period of it being stop-start.

“The virus is with us and we have to continue to get our heads around it.

“I’m just frustrated because we played well on Saturday and now it looks like we are going to be put on the backburner for a while.

“Psychologically, everything was looking quite positive going into the games with Brackley and Kidderminster and that makes what has happened now even more frustrating.”

Cox, meanwhile, felt a win like the one his team picked up at Leamington “had been coming”.

The Poppies had held 2-0 leads in their previous two matches but were beaten by Boston United, who fought back to win 3-2 at Latimer Park, before AFC Telford Unite hit back to earn a 2-2 draw at the New Bucks Head.

But there was no mistake from Kettering on this occasion.

“The game is about different opinions but, in my opinion, our performance levels were quite good against Boston and Telford,” Cox said.

“It was just that we were switching off in key moments of the game and then we were becoming anxious and chasing things.

“I could even go back to the defeats at Gloucester and Hereford. It was key moments in the game that meant we were having to chase and becoming a bit more open and less compact.

“And, especially away from home, good teams will pick you off.

“But our work ethic and performance levels were good and I didn’t think we were a mile away from a good result.

“I felt what happened last Saturday had been coming. There were moments where we had wobbles but we were away from home against a really good team who have a good home record.

“I felt it was coming and this is what is frustrating about what has happened now.

“We needed that consistency of playing games but now it’s back to the drawing board of what we can do during this period, which probably won’t be lot if I am honest.

“But we have to try to do as much as we can to get back on our feet and hit the ground running again.”