Culverhouse so proud of an 'immense' Kettering Town effort

Ian Culverhouse praised his “immense” Kettering Town players after their bid to reach the Vanarama National League North play-offs fell short on the final day of the season.

Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 10:48 am
Ian Culverhouse. Picture by Peter Short

Having gone into the last day of the campaign sitting in the last play-off spot, the Poppies could only manage a 1-1 draw at Curzon Ashton and they were leapfrogged by former boss Paul Cox and Boston United who ran out 2-0 winners at Farsley Celtic.

The Poppies were below-par at Curzon and fell behind to Jordan Richards’ goal seven minutes into the second half as the hosts went into a deserved lead.

Kettering huffed and puffed in the final 20 minutes and, aside from a good shout for a penalty for handball and a Connor Kennedy effort that went over the bar, they struggled to create clear-cut chances.

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It wasn’t until deep into stoppage-time when they drew level courtesy of a Decarrey Sheriff header but there was no time to try to find the winner, which would have sent them into the play-offs.

Culverhouse conceded the occasion may have got the better of his squad but he insisted they could be proud of an impressive season, which had started with them being fancied to be involved in a relegation scrap.

“I think we got caught up in the game and played with emotion at times,” Culverhouse said.

“It was a shame we didn’t perform to the levels and I don’t know whether the occasion got to us a little bit, with the players being so young.

“We scored a little bit too late.

“We put (Liam) Daly and (Ty) Deacon on there for some physical presence and the one good ball we got into Liam he headed back across and we finished it.

“I would say it just came five or 10 minutes too late. If we had scored that earlier, you would have seen a bit more belief come back into the squad.

“With the run-in we had, it was a massive ask for them.

“And for them to stand up and go into every game and give everything they have got is a credit to them.

“If you want to dissect it, we have probably ended up drawing too many games but it was a magnificent effort for a really young team.

“I wouldn’t criticise this group of players one little bit because what they have done for this football club is immense.

“To take it to the last game and still not get beaten, it’s a hell of an achievement.

“People will say we failed but we didn’t, we pushed it as far as we could and it’s been one fantastic season for the club.”

The Poppies were backed by a large travelling army of supporters in the north-west on Saturday.

And Culverhouse piled the praise on the fans for the way they have backed him and his staff since they arrived to replace Cox in January.

“We have to thank everyone at the club, all those behind the scenes, who have helped us over the last few months,” he added.

“But we have to say a special thank you to all the supporters.

“They have been magnificent from the moment we came through the door and I can’t thank them enough for that.”