O'Connor's goals and work-rate were key for Poppies

Aaron O'Connor in familiar pose after scoring one of his 40 goals in all competitions for Kettering Town
Aaron O'Connor in familiar pose after scoring one of his 40 goals in all competitions for Kettering Town

Jon Dunham’s unofficial Kettering Town player of the year – Aaron O’Connor.

He scored 40 goals in all competitions (although there is still the NFA Hillier Cup final to come tomorrow night) and that would probably be enough to scoop any end-of-season award on its own.
But there is more to this story than meets the eye.
You always felt that, after the impact he had after arriving during the previous campaign, the experienced striker would play a huge part in any sort of promotion push this time around.
His goalscoring ability at this level is, quite simply, second to none. Half-chances for others become meat and drink to him and his clinical finishing in front of goal undoubtedly helped the Poppies in their push at the top end of the table.
But you don’t become a success at anything unless you work hard and this is where O’Connor can be separated from the rest.
His work-rate throughout the whole season was second to none. While he wasn’t scoring goals, he was running channels and chasing lost causes in a bid to create opportunities for others.
If you want the example, go back and watch the Poppies’ 3-1 win over Chesham United at Latimer Park last September.
Down to 10 men and level at 1-1, O’Connor led the way with an incredible hard-working display to ensure they won the day.
His influence and experience within the squad really shouldn’t be underestimated and that clearly rubbed off on a number of players, not least young Mathew Stevens who will certainly benefit from a season of learning from him.
If the Poppies are to launch another promotion push next season then keeping O’Connor on board will be paramount.