Kettering pay the price for poor first-half show as they slip to Leamington defeat

There was more frustration for Kettering boss Andy Leese at Leamington on TuesdayThere was more frustration for Kettering boss Andy Leese at Leamington on Tuesday
There was more frustration for Kettering boss Andy Leese at Leamington on Tuesday
​Kettering Town still haven’t learned their defensive lessons after being unpicked again this time by Leamington in the Pitching In Southern League Central on Tuesday night.

It was another case of Jekyll and Hyde for Andy Leese men after he saw his side defeated 2-1 by Leamington at the Co-Op Stadium.

Kettering have yet to put in more than 45 minutes of a complete performance this season, and it was another beleaguered first half showing that all but ended this game as a contest.

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The Poppies have not only lost, but been well beaten by the two sides that were relegated with them from the National League North, and after 15 league games, it’s no surprise that they are in the lower reaches of the table.

The first half squarely belonged to the hosts taking them just six minutes to seriously threaten the goal - skipper Adam Walker’s shot needing to be blocked by Billy Johnson.

With the majority of the action in Kettering’s half it was inevitable that the Brakes would opening the scoring, which they did on 12 minutes.

Woeful defending once again the Poppies downfall as another cross from the right evaded all bodies in red only to find Cally Stewart on the far post to tap home.

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A response from Kettering wasn’t forthcoming as Leamington gratefully received the ball from poor passes or hopeful wide shots on goal.

Dan Meredith forced another strong save from Johnson on 21 minutes whilst Stewart was denied a second goal minutes later seeing his crisply hit effort cannon off the post.

The Brakes by this stage were going through the gears and were convinced they should have had a penalty on the half hour mark, after Tyrone Barnett’s overhead kick appeared to hit Luca Purse’s lower arm but play continued.

Leamington eventually doubled the lead on 41 minutes and it was another deep cross from a free-kick that undid Kettering - Barnett flicking the ball home at the far post.

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Most in the ground thought the hosts should have gone into the break three goals to the good when Henry Lander‘s inswinging corner evaded everyone and went straight into the goal, but the whistle was blown for a foul on Johnson when the keeper went to punch the ball clear.

Credit should be given for the Poppies second half performance where they showed a lot more composure and desire.

Sam Bennett produced Kettering’s shot on target on 53 minutes with a stinging shot that needed smartly saving from Callum Hawkins.

That effort on target allowed Bennett to get his rangefinder working and five minutes later netted after a pass from Tyrone Lewthwaite.

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Kettering pressed, but it was Barnett who came close to re-establishing a two goal lead for the home side, but his effort hit the bar.

The Poppies had the ball in the back of the net for a second time, but it was ruled offside, and Leamington held on for the points taking them to sixth in the table whilst Kettering remain in 16th.

On Saturday, Kettering are on the road again as they go to Coalville Town.Attendance: 332; Starman: Theo Street