Kettering Town maintained their perfect start to the Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central campaign with a 3-1 victory at Stratford Town.
Goals from Ben Milnes, Gary Stohrer and Dion Kelly-Evans sealed a sixth win from as many matches for Marcus Law’s team who still hold a five-point lead at the top of the early table.
But they were had to produce another solid defensive effort to see the game out after Kelly-Evans was shown a straight red card for a lunge on former Poppy Will Grocott in the second half.
Law made two changes to his starting line-up with Durrell Berry and Andrea Borg coming in for Brett Solkhon and Ben Toseland while Matty Foy, a young striker who joined the club on loan from Cambridge United on Friday, was named among the substitutes.
After a quiet start it was the Poppies who broke the deadlock when Milnes fired a 25-yard strike into the far corner.
But the lead only lasted three minutes as a mix-up between goalkeeper Paul White and Stohrer allowed Mike Taylor to score into an unguarded net.
Kettering had the better chances after that with Rhys Hoenes being denied by Nathan Vaughan while Declan Towers headed wide from a Marcus Kelly free-kick.
But the Poppies did regain the lead on the stroke of half-time when Stohrer got into the area, skipped past a couple of challenges and then beat Vaughan as he slotted into the far corner.
Borg went close to a third when his shot went just past the angle of post and crossbar.
But Kettering did extend their lead on 54 minutes when Hoenes’ cross was headed down by substitute Solkhon and Kelly-Evans sent a fine volley into the top corner.
However, Kelly-Evans’ afternoon soon turned sour as he was sent-off for a lunge on ex-Kettering man Grocott.
Stratford piled bodies forward as they looked to use their numerical advantage but the Poppies’ defence remained resolute as they saw the game out to secure another success.