Not even the lights can stop five-star Poppies

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

Kettering Town survived a floodlight failure at Latimer Park as they continued their relentless start to the Southern League Division One Central season with a 5-0 demolition of St Ives Town.

The game was over at half-time with the Poppies 4-0 up and Brett Solkhon completed his first career hat-trick after the break to end the contest.

But a cruel twist arrived on 56 minutes when the ground was plunged into darkness. The main fuse had blown and it needed a 25-minute break for the power to be restored.

Thankfully, the lights came back on and Kettering were able to see out the final 35 minutes and wrap up their seventh win in eight league matches.

And those off-the-field events shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow another clinical display.

St Ives arrived with an unbeaten away record but that was soon blown apart as Andy Hall opened the scoring with his seventh goal in six games before Dubi Ogbonna and Solkhon got in on the act.

Kettering did have to defend well at times in the face of an aerial onslaught from the visitors but it was their finishing in the final third that was ultimately the difference.

Joint-bosses Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin named an unchanged starting line-up following the 5-0 success at AFC Hayes with Josh Moreman returning to the substitutes’ bench after illness.

But the Poppies almost fell behind inside the first two minutes when former Kettering man Will Muzvimbiri looked destined to get on the end of a low ball across goal, only to be denied by a last-ditch challenge from Steve Kinniburgh.

If that was a fortunate escape, Kettering took full advantage by taking the lead.

Ogbonna put visiting goalkeeper Adam Lawrence under pressure and he sliced his clearance. Lawrence did manage to stop Ogbonna’s shot but it was only half-cleared by the St Ives defence and Hall was there to finish it from close-range.

James Clifton and Andy Gooding both sent efforts wide while St Ives did pose a threat with their pace on the counter-attack.

But the Poppies gave themselves a cushion on 19 minutes. Hall crossed from the left and found Solkhon. He teed up Ogbonna whose shot was then deflected in by Solkhon, leaving Lawrence flat-footed.

If that was a cushion, the game was over just eight minutes later when Ogbonna conjured up the third. He produced a neat turn to beat his marker and then promptly hammered a left foot shot past Lawrence and into the bottom corner.

It all seemed a bit harsh on St Ives in truth as they posed a huge threat from set-pieces as well as the big long throws of Oliver Medwynter.

And the visitors went close to pulling a goal back when Muzvimbiri was unlucky to see his brave header go just wide of the post after he challenged Jamie McAlindon for a high ball.

Ryan Ingrey shot wide after the Poppies had conceded possession cheaply at the back but they did get a fourth before the break.

And this one was nice and simple as Andy Gooding whipped in a corner from the left and Solkhon met it with a firm header.

Ogbonna fired over from Jonathon Thorpe’s pass early in the second half but the fifth did arrive as Solkhon completed his treble.

Hall exchanged passes with Thorpe and drove into the box. His shot was only half-saved by Lawrence and Solkhon was there to fire home the rebound.

All seemed rosy in the garden at that point but, just four minutes after that fifth goal, the lights went out and Latimer Park was plunged into darkness.

An agonising wait for the lights to cool down before being tried again followed and whoever was on the job did it well as, after a 25-minute delay, they came back on and the game was able to start again.

Once it had, the Poppies threatened first with Hall forcing Lawrence into a decent stop and substitute Alfie Taylor flashed an effort wide.

Ben Seymore-Shove headed wide for the visitors late on and Clifton was off target at the other end.

No more goals came but, in the end, the only aim was for the game to finish.

It did, Kettering were able to celebrate another three points and their early-season march continues.

Poppies: McAlindon; Clifton, Hull, Lee, Kinniburgh (sub Bukasa, 55 mins); Robinson, Solkhon; Thorpe, Gooding, Hall (sub Hamilton, 74 mins); Ogbonna (sub Taylor, 65 mins). Subs not used: Moreman, Liburd.

St Ives: Lawrence; Alsop, Smith, Fordham, J Hall; Muzvimbiri (sub Bream, 50 mins), Stead, Medwynter, Seymore-Shove; Eason, Ingrey. Subs not used: Gibbs, Lambert.

Referee: Michael Scriven.

Goals: Hall (6 mins, 1-0), Solkhon (19 mins, 2-0), Ogbonna (27 mins, 3-0), Solkhon (45 mins, 4-0), Solkhon (52 mins, 5-0).

Attendance: 645.