Hall’s hat-trick helps Poppies ease through

Kettering Town joint-managers Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin
Kettering Town joint-managers Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin

Andy Hall hit a hat-trick as Kettering Town marked their 400th match in the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-1 victory at Cogenhoe United.

The Poppies were given a scare or two on their way into the first qualifying round where they will meet Southern League Division One Central rivals Aylesbury who beat town rivals Aylesbury United 3-2 in their preliminary round clash.

But once Ash Robinson had thundered home a brilliant 30-yard strike to make it 3-1 in the second half at Compton Park, the final outcome never really looked in doubt.

Robinson was one of three changes the Poppies made to their starting line-up after the 1-0 win over Daventry Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

Alfie Taylor and Jon Bukasa were also included while Steve Kinniburgh and Andy Gooding were rested while Ross Oulton was unavailable.

The opening exchanges were even but the game turned on 12 minutes when Kettering almost went behind before going in front barely 60 seconds later.

A rare mistake from goalkeeper Jamie McAlindon saw him mis-judged the flight of Ross Harris’ free-kick but, fortunately for the visitors, it bounced over the crossbar.

And, almost immediately, they swept forward with Taylor doing brilliantly on the right to find Josh Moreman who then played in Hall and he made no mistake with a low finish.

Taylor shot into the side netting and Hall was denied by home goalkeeper James Brassington while Sam Heavey sent an overhead-kick just wide for the Cooks.

But Kettering pulled clear on the half-hour when Hall’s inswinging free-kick from the left missed everyone and nestled in the far corner.

That looked to have given the Poppies a comfortable advantage but the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side hit back before the break.

A corner was only half-cleared and, as Kettering switched off, Dan Thomason skipped past Moreman before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from an acute angle.

But, any nerves amongst the large contingent of travelling fans were soon extinguished after half-time.

Bukasa forced Brassington into a decent save from distance but the Cooks stopper had no chance with Robinson’s wonderful strike that found the top corner and effectively finished the job just before the hour.

Substitute Courtney Herbert should have done better than to blaze over the hosts when he had just McAlindon to beat.

But the game was up with 13 minutes to go when Hall hammered home his third, Kettering’s fourth and the club’s 850th FA Cup goal.

In the end, it was fairly straightforward for the Poppies as they racked up their sixth win in seven matches so far this season.

Banana skin averted, job done.

Cogenhoe: Brassington; Cayton (sub Jones, 69 mins), Harris, Urquhart, Smeathers; Thomason, Heavey, Leslie, McGowan, Allen (sub D Herbert, 43 mins); Emery (sub C Herbert, 62 mins). Subs not used: Olowoyo, Davies, Gordon, Ducharme.

Poppies: McAlindon; Clifton, Hull, Eze, Bukasa; Thorpe (sub Hamilton, 75 mins), Robinson, Solkhon, Hall (sub Richard-Noel, 82 mins); Moreman (sub Liburd, 64 mins), Taylor. Subs not used: Kinniburgh, Gooding, Crowie, Marsh.

Referee: Adrian Gillett.

Goals: Hall (13 mins, 0-1), Hall (30 mins, 0-2), Thomason (42 mins, 1-2), Robinson (59 mins, 1-3), Hall (77 mins, 1-4).

Bookings: Thomason (foul).

Attendance: 397.