Late goals are proving so crucial as Poppies hunt the title

It was Brett Solkhon's turn to be the late hero for Kettering Town as this goal earned them a 2-1 victory over Rushall Olympic last weekend. Picture by Peter Short
It was Brett Solkhon's turn to be the late hero for Kettering Town as this goal earned them a 2-1 victory over Rushall Olympic last weekend. Picture by Peter Short

If Kettering Town do go on to claim the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central title then there is no doubt that their recent late shows would have played a key role in it all.

The Poppies were at it again last weekend as club legend Brett Solkhon came off the bench to score the stoppage-time winner as they turned one point into three with a 2-1 success over Rushall Olympic at Latimer Park.

It was the fourth time since the turn of the year that a stoppage-time goal had turned a draw into a win for Marcus Law’s team while another late one, scored by Aaron O’Connor, sealed a 2-2 draw at Coalville Town after the Poppies had trailed.

So far, a potential four points have been turned into 13 and Solkhon’s intervention last weekend came at almost exactly the same time as another huge goal just up the road at Tamworth.

The Lambs struck late on to beat second-placed Stourbridge 1-0 meaning that, in the blink of an eye, the Poppies had moved eight points clear with two games in hand.

Some may call it luck but Kettering’s taste for late drama isn’t anything new for a title race.

And Solkhon said: “Sometimes teams have that kind of year when this happens.

“Hereford were the same last season. It was frustrating for those of us who were chasing them when they got 96th and 97th minute winners.

“But you earn that luck and we have kept on pressing teams right until the end and we are getting the rewards for it.

“And we have always got players on the bench who are capable of coming on and changing the game. Luckily enough, it was me at the weekend.”

Solkhon isn’t a bad player to turn to if you are in need of a goal, that’s for sure.

Despite mainly being used as a substitute for the most part, he has still bagged 15 goals in all competitions, albeit with nine of those coming from the penalty spot.

He was thrown on with four minutes of normal time to play last weekend but managed to get on the end of Aaron O’Connor’s deep cross to the far post to spark bedlam on the terraces.

It was his 113th goal for the club in his 557th appearance and will probably go down as one of the most important.

He added: “At 1-1 and on a tough pitch it looked like it was going to be a draw but the manager has put me on for the last five or 10 minutes and I jokingly said to Luke Graham on the sidelines that I might need a bit longer than that to get the winner!

“I had a chance just before it, which I snatched at with my left foot but I just did what I have done over the years and gambled with the spaces and it was a great ball back over from Azza (O’Connor) and I have managed to tuck it away.”