Poppies beaten by 10-man St Ives

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas

Kettering Town were knocked out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy as the 10 men of St Ives Town held on to seal a 1-0 success at Latimer Park.

A goal just before the hour from Jared Cunniff proved decisive in the first qualifying round clash.

But even after Will Fordham had been sent off on 66 minutes, the Poppies were unable to find a way back into the game and give a 600-plus crowd anything to shout about.

Dean Thomas was forced into one change with Louis Hamilton replacing the cup-tied Scott Cross while striker Rob Foster wasn’t included as he was away getting married.

Hamilton was handed a striking role alongside Jake Newman and it was the Poppies who started the brighter with visiting goalkeeper Nick Bennion having to push Chimdi Akubuine’s long-range effort around the post after eight minutes.

St Ives looked dangerous on the break throughout the first half and Dubi Ogbonna saw an effort blocked by Henry Eze and was then denied by a good save from Charlie Horton when the ball rebounded back to him.

But it was Kettering who had the better of the opening period and Bennion saved well from both Jake Newman and Ashley Fuller while Andy Gooding also dragged a shot wide.

The Poppies started the second half pretty brightly without really troubling Bennion but they hit by a sucker-punch just before the hour.

Ogbonna got away from Eze and played in Cunniff who made no mistake with a low finish past Horton.

Kettering seemed to struggle after that but the game was turned on its head on 66 minutes.

Hamilton looked set to clear on goal and went down under a challenge from Will Fordham. It looked clumsy at best but, after a conversation with his assistant, referee Geoff Law dished out a red card to the visiting defender.

Steve Kinniburgh smashed the resulting free-kick on the edge of the area straight at the defensive wall.

But, despite being a man down, St Ives so nearly made it 2-0 when Horton was forced into a full-length save to deny Ogbonna, who attempted to loop a header over the home stopper.

Kettering, as you would expect, enjoyed plenty of possession in the latter stages but they really struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

Substitute Will Muzvimbiri was out of luck when his volley was cleared off the line by Stuart Cobb but that was as close as the Poppies went.

In the end, one major defensive lapse proved decisive. But his team’s inability to put a team of 10 men under serious pressure will be a huge concern for Kettering boss Thomas.

Poppies: Horton; Akubuine, Eze, Piercewright, Kinniburgh; Thorpe (sub Muzvimbiri, 73 mins), Logan, Gooding, Fuller (sub Bukasa, 81 mins); J Newman, Hamilton. Subs not used: Knight, Bradshaw, McAlindon.

St Ives: Bennion; S Cobb, D Newman, Fordham, Lambert; Cunniff, Banister (sub Ellison, h-t), Dean, D Cobb; Ogbonna, Gibbs (sub Stead, 70 mins). Subs not used: Vieira, Roberts, Meechan.

Referee: Geoff Law.

Goals: Cunniff (57 mins, 0-1).

Bookings: Dean (foul), D Cobb (kicking ball away).

Sending-off: Fordham (professional foul).

Attendance: 609.