Kettering Town 2 Halesowen Town 0 - Five Things We Learned

Marcus Kelly celebrates after he opened the scoring in Kettering Town's 2-0 victory over Halesowen Town with his first goal since returning to the club. Pictures by Peter Short
Marcus Kelly celebrates after he opened the scoring in Kettering Town's 2-0 victory over Halesowen Town with his first goal since returning to the club. Pictures by Peter Short

Kettering Town made it three wins in a row to move to the top of the early Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central table.

But what did we learn from the Poppies' second home game of the season?

Poppies boss Marcus Law has led his team to three wins in a row

Poppies boss Marcus Law has led his team to three wins in a row

There’s only one team with a perfect record after the first week, a wide open division?
Three games down, three wins on the board, you can’t ask for anymore than that.
The Poppies stand proud at the top of the early standings with the only perfect record in the division, something I find to be slightly unusual after just three games.
Maybe that’s because the craziness of last season is still fresh in the mind when five teams dominated proceedings to such an extent.
But what it does suggest is that this will be a close and competitive division, one in which every team will be capable of beating another if they perform well on the day.
So while Kettering should be pleased with the very early stages, Marcus Law is right to stay cautious and ensure no-one gets carried away.
You get the feeling the Poppies were there to be shot down anyway, that’s certainly the case now.

You get what you pay for, the quality shone through.
You’ll never find me ready to argue with all those financial experts out there (and there are plenty of them who know exactly how much each player is earning, apparently).
I know Kettering have one of the bigger budgets in this division and, therefore, they should be challenging.
But it’s one thing having a bit of cash to spend and another thing using it wisely.
Marcus Law is a manager who, in general, likes to go with the “tried and tested”.
Signings like Marcus Kelly and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner over the summer were right up his street, players who have been at a higher level and should be more than capable in this league.
Both proved it on this occasion. Kelly scored his first goal since rejoining the club, a lovely one it was too and it came after a very even first 35 minutes.
And Rowe-Turner produced an excellent display to be the pick of a solid backline.
When you spend a bit of money, you expect something in return and the Poppies seem to be getting it at the moment.

A team is only as good as its goalkeeper.
Paul White deservedly took some plaudits for his penalty save against King’s Lynn Town last Tuesday night and he was at it again this time.
The Poppies were 1-0 up before a rare lapse of concentration in the defence gave James Roberts a shooting opportunity.
He caught it sweetly and White produced a magnificent flying save to tip it onto the crossbar. It was a match-winning moment.
Yes, goalkeepers are there to stop the ball going in the net. But when they do it at such crucial stages in such superb style, they deserve the credit.
White is firmly established as Kettering’s No.1 and added yet another clean sheet to his tally. Long may that trend continue.

A move must be made for attacking reinforcements.
This wasn’t something learned on the pitch, more off it, as the situation with Aaron O’Connor’s knee injury became clearer.
The striker is facing six to eight weeks on the sidelines with a fractured knee and cartilage damage he suffered in the final friendly against Bedford Town.
In all likelihood, it will be at least the middle of October before he is back in action.
It leaves Marcus Law with a decision to make.
There is an argument to not try to fix something that isn’t broken after an encouraging start.
But the Poppies could do with another option or two to share the workload with Rhys Hoenes, who has been excellent as a lone frontman.
Don’t be surprised if at least one new face is added to the squad before next weekend.

Brett Solkhon rounded things off for the Poppies with a stoppage-time header

Brett Solkhon rounded things off for the Poppies with a stoppage-time header

An early top-of-the-table clash now awaits.
Just to reiterate, it is very early days but an intriguing clash lies ahead on Saturday as Kettering make the short trip up to Barwell for a match which sees the early leaders take on the team who are second and unbeaten.
It will be another good early marker for both teams and there is sure to be an extra edge to it.
Marcus Law cut his managerial teeth at Barwell after taking them up the divisions, assistant-manager Richard Lavery used to play for them and central defender Declan Towers joined the Poppies from the Leicestershire outfit over the summer.
There are some nice side stories to look at there but, ultimately, it will be another stern test of the Poppies’ credentials.