Kettering Town 2 AFC Telford United 2 - Jon Dunham's verdict

The Poppies fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point at Latimer Park

By Jon Dunham
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 10:16 am

A final scoreline of 2-2 on 02/02/22, or ‘Twosday’ as it’s been called, was somewhat appropriate as Kettering Town fought back to earn a share of the spoils with struggling AFC Telford United at Latimer Park.

The Poppies looked somewhat off-colour at times and at 2-0 down with 66 minutes on the clock, Telford looked set for a crucial win as they battle to avoid the drop in the Vanarama National League North.

But there’s something that has been installed into this young group of Kettering players.

Jordon Crawford heads off to celebrate after he fired home Kettering Town's equaliser in the 2-2 draw with AFC Telford United at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short

They kept going and, aided by some ultra positive substitutions from manager Ian Culverhouse, they stormed back and levelled with two goals in the space of five minutes.

And, to be fair, a point was the least they deserved, despite not quite being at their best.

They didn’t help themselves as another early goal was conceded when a cheap free-kick was given away on the left-hand side.

The ball was drilled in, George Cooper swung a boot but missed and Jason Oswell was there to score from close-range to give Telford the perfect start.

Jordon Crawford's effort goes in off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-2

However, from there, it was pretty much one-way traffic for the remainder of the first half.

And it seemed like new signing Ty Deacon, who came in from AFC Rushden & Diamonds last week, was at the centre of everything on what proved to be a highly impressive debut.

He was harshly booked for a high foot shortly after heading straight at visiting goalkeeper Luke Pilling and then, in one of a number of bizarre decisions from referee Stephen Parkinson, he was denied his first goal for the club when he headed home Rhys Sharpe’s free-kick, only for the man in the middle to spot a foul no-one else seemed to see.

Deacon saw a couple more headers sail over the crossbar while Kettering’s frustrations only grew when they were denied a penalty when the ever-dependable Gary Stohrer was wrestled to the ground in the area.

Ty Deacon impressed on his Kettering debut

The Poppies started the second half brightly enough with Callum Stead, a real thorn in Telford’s side all night, seeing a low shot spilled by Pilling but he gathered the ball up before Deacon could apply the finishing touch.

But then, disaster struck as Telford broke away and scored their second.

Brendon Daniels did the leg work and then saw his shot come back off the inside of the post but it fell perfectly for Oswell who made no mistake.

Culverhouse wasted little time in reacting.

Ty Deacon was denied a debut goal as the referee spotted a foul somewhere in this

Jordan Crawford and Decarrey Sheriff were thrown on and the shape was changed to 4-2-4.

And it had the desired effect,

Sheriff did well to keep the ball alive in the corner and fed it back to Crawford. He crossed and as the ball ran loose, Stead was there to fire home and give his team a lifeline.

And just five minutes later, Kettering were level.

This time, Connor Barrett sent the ball into the box. Stead challenged and a defender could only knock the ball into the path of Crawford who took a touch before rifling his shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

Some might have expected a further onslaught from there but, instead, legs on both sides began to tire on a heavy surface and neither goalkeeper was forced into action again.

Having trailed 2-0, it must go down as a point gained for the Poppies even though the pre-game expectation was probably for more.

Nonetheless, it’s now six games without a loss and they remain in the play-off hunt.

The stage couldn’t be set any better for the reunion with Paul Cox at Boston United on Saturday…

Kettering: Jackson Smith; Barrett (sub O’Connell, 80 mins), Cooper, Johnson, Sharpe (sub Sheriff, 64 mins), Brown; Stohrer, Kennedy, Jack Smith (sub Crawford, 59 mins); Stead, Deacon. Subs not used: Herbert, Milovanovic.

AFC Telford: Pilling; Melhado, Streete, Piggott, White; Nolan, Ward; Moore (sub Shaw, 89 mins), Daniels (sub Baker, 72 mins), Goodridge (sub Sherif, 80 mins); Oswell. Subs not used: Jarrett, Wright.

Referee: Stephen Parkinson.

Goals: Oswell (3 mins, 0-1), Oswell (55 mins, 0-2), Stead (66 mins, 1-2), Crawford (71 mins, 2-2).

Bookings: Deacon, Ward (both fouls), Nolan (unsporting behaviour).

Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Callum Stead - there have to be some honourary mentions for the likes of Gary Stohrer, who was a warrior in the middle of the pitch, and Ty Deacon who took to Step 2 like a duck to water. But Stead really caught the eye. His movement is diminutive, his work-rate impressive and he was in the right place at the right time to score the goal to give Kettering their route back into the game.

Attendance: 605.