Marcus Law was left “really pleased” after Kettering Town made it a double of county silverware by clinching the NFA Maunsell Cup.
The Poppies’ pre-season preparations received a boost at Wellingborough Town’s Dog & Duck home as they beat Northampton Town 5-3 on penalties after the final finished in a 1-1 draw.
Kettering were outplayed by their Sky Bet League One opponents in the first half with Dean Bowditch putting a strong Cobblers side in front.
But the Poppies produced an impressive second-half display and were rewarded when summer signing Michael Richens equalised with an outrageous 35-yard chip.
The game went straight to a shoot-out and Paul White produced a superb save to deny Bowditch and that allowed Brett Solkhon to step up and win it for Kettering.
It was another positive step towards the Poppies’ Evo-Stik South League Premier campaign.
And Law said: “That was a difficult game.
“I think their quality and movement was really hurting us in the first half.
“We fell into a default mode that was allowing them to do what they are good at. But they are a League One side so they were always going to be technically better on the ball.
“We were unfortunate that we had a goal ruled out because I thought their goalkeeper just dropped the ball on our lad’s head and then they scored soon after.
“But we hung in there at the end of the half and we needed to adapt to what they were really good at and I thought we took the game to them a lot more in the second half.
“We looked like we were threatening and Rene Howe had a good chance after we got our goal.
“We are really pleased. It’s a fantastic game for us to be involved in and winning trophies always helps the moral and togetherness.”
Law was impressed with the display of summer signing Richens, who made a big difference after being introduced at half-time, but he wasn’t the only one to earn praise from his manager.
“Michael came to us as cover for the right-back position a couple of seasons ago but since then we have been watching him and he has produced exciting performances in midfield,” the Poppies boss added.
“He linked up very well and he caught their goalkeeper out with a great goal.
“There were other good performances and we have been questioning our defending skills but (Gary) Mulligan and Dom (Langdon) came through for us and we have to nail that and say that’s the standard we want.
“I felt Liam (Bateman) and Brights (James Brighton) defended better, Ben Milnes was very solid, Aaron (O’Connor) was always on the shoulder and (Rhys) Hoenes and (Lindon) Meikle were very tenacious.”
Kettering have another busy week ahead of them as they host Barwell at Latimer Park on Tuesday before travelling to Coalville Town on Thursday.