Ogbonna wins it for Poppies

Poppies joint-bosses Scott Machin and Thomas Baillie
Poppies joint-bosses Scott Machin and Thomas Baillie

Dubi Ogbonna came off the bench to fire Kettering Town to an excellent 2-1 success at Royston Town as they stayed on top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central.

The top scorer scored with his first touches to win it in the second half after Elliot Sandy had marked his return to the club by giving the Poppies the lead in the first half before Royston levelled early in the second period.

The Poppies made four changes from the team that beat Lincoln United in the FA Trophy last weekend.

Sandy was handed a start while captain Steve Kinniburgh was also restored to the team.

Tommy Hull returned after a three-match ban and started in the midfield with Brett Solkhon continuing at centre-half.

Lewis Wilson was also included for the final game of his loan spell before returning to Oxford City.

It meant Ogbonna was only on the bench alongside fellow frontman Alfie Taylor and youngster Reubus Richard-Noel, who made an impressive impact on his full debut last week.

Royston started brightly but after a cagey first 20 minutes, the Poppies gradually grew into the game.

And they took the lead on 34 minutes when the first real chance of the game fell to Sandy who volleyed home from close-range.

Wilson shot over from James Clifton’s cross before the break but the hosts were level just four minutes into the second half.

Kaan Fehmi sent in a free-kick and Gary Hart headed home to make it 1-1.

Royston went close to taking the lead when Ray Wharton headed over from Stuart Bridges’ corner.

But Ogbonna entered the fray with 16 minutes to go and, with 14 minutes to go, his first touches ensured the Poppies were back in front as he beat a defender and finished well.

That proved to be the winner but Ogbonna played in Wilson who could have finished it off but saw his chip saved.

It didn’t matter though as Kettering saw things out to pick up a crucial three points.

Royston: Yates, Bradshaw, Powell, Wharton, Adams (sub Mentis, 81 mins), Hart, Scott Bridges, Stuart Bridges, Nightingale (sub Dobson, 58 mins), Ingrey (sub Hammond, 63 mins), Fehmi. Subs not used: Collins, Endacott.

Poppies: McAlindon, Clifton, Kinniburgh, Gooding, Solkhon, Lee, Wilson (sub Richard-Noel, 89 mins), Robinson (sub Ogbonna, 74 mins), Sandy, Hull, Hall. Subs: Taylor, Bukasa, Jepson.

Goals: Sandy (34 mins, 0-1), Hart (49 mins, 1-1), Ogbonna (76 mins, 1-2).

Attendance: 446.