It's crunch time for Poppies in the title race

It needed this last-gasp goal to earn Kettering Town a share of the points in the reverse fixture with Coalville Town in January. The two teams meet again at Latimer Park this evening. Picture by Peter Short
It needed this last-gasp goal to earn Kettering Town a share of the points in the reverse fixture with Coalville Town in January. The two teams meet again at Latimer Park this evening. Picture by Peter Short

Crunch time arrives for Kettering Town tonight (Tuesday) as they get an opportunity to flex their muscles in the race for the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central title.

The Poppies maintained their eight-point advantage at the top of the table with a seventh win in a row as they claimed a 1-0 success at Lowestoft Town on Saturday, despite playing with 10 men for the majority of the game following an early red card for striker Aaron O’Connor.

Marcus Law’s team are now gearing up for back-to-back home matches, which represent the two games in hand they have on nearest rivals Stourbridge.

The first of those looks a tricky one, however, as they take on play-off chasing Coalville Town at Latimer Park this evening.

The Ravens come into the game on the back of a 4-1 defeat at King’s Lynn Town at the weekend but sit just three points off the top five with games in hand on those above them.

They also provided the Poppies with a stern test in the reverse fixture in January when it needed a last-gasp O’Connor goal to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw.

But Poppies boss Law knows that this evening’s game and Saturday’s home clash with Banbury United, when Stourbridge are also inactive, present his team with a huge opportunity to take a decisive step towards the title.

“If we can pull out a couple of wins over the next three games then we will be really turning the screw a little bit,” he said.

“But it’s certainly a very tough game this evening.

“I know the guys at Coalville and they will be looking for a big response after the weekend and they are obviously looking to get into the play-off places with their own games in hand.

“And they will fancy their chances having taken us so close in the game up there.

“All we can do is keep working hard, keep persevering and see if we can keep this run going.”

O’Connor will be available for tonight’s clash with a three-match ban following his red card at the weekend due to start next Saturday.