Baillie needs battlers as Poppies head for the trapdoor

Lewis Wilson scored on his return in Kettering colours but the Poppies were beaten 3-1 at Bashley
Lewis Wilson scored on his return in Kettering colours but the Poppies were beaten 3-1 at Bashley

Thomas Baillie insists he needs “11 players who will battle” as Kettering Town begin to face up to mission impossible in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

On what may prove to be a defining day, the Poppies squandered a 1-0 lead at Bashley as the home side fought back in the second half to claim a 3-1 success.

Elsewhere, Hitchin Town were 4-0 winners over AFC Totton and it now means the gap between the Poppies and safety is a huge 18 points with just 16 games to play.

Lewis Wilson, having returned on loan from Northampton Town on Friday evening, carried on from where he left off by firing the Poppies in front at Bashley.

But they were unable to hold on as Baillie also included fellow new signings Sylvain Dossou and Nathan Hilaire in his squad while former youth team player Aidan Bradshaw has also rejoined the club.

The Poppies take on St Neots Town at Steel Park on Wednesday and Baillie, who took over the reigns from Alan Doyle during the week and appointed former Hinckley United manager Dean Thomas as his assistant-manager, knows his team will need to show more than they did in the second half at Bashley.

“We started the game really well and that carried on throughout the first half,” the Kettering boss said.

“Their goalkeeper has made some good saves and then we have scored but we probably could have been further in front.

“Given what has happened in the last month or so, we probably needed more of a cushion for ourselves. It’s not very often any team keeps a clean sheet in this league.

“But we sat back too much in the second half, particularly in the midfield and it cost us.

“At this moment in time, I need 11 battling players and there were perhaps a couple who didn’t perform to the level that we need.

“It’s disappointing because the lads were feeling confident. But we are in a situation where it only takes one moment for the doubt to set in.

“To be fair to Bashley, they played very well in the second half. I felt they were lucky to still be in it at half-time but they came out and played well.”