Poppies hammer Merthyr but Diamonds exit Trophy

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Kettering Town’s 100 per cent home record continued with a 5-0 rout of Merthyr Town.

The Poppies outplayed their Welsh visitors from start to finish to make it six wins from six at Latimer Park in front of a bumper crowd of 857.

The hosts almost took the lead 10 minutes in when debut man Marshall Willock headed wide but just after 20 minutes they went 1-0 up.

Lindon Meikle was fouled to the right of the box and Ben Toseland’s free kick evaded everyone into the bottom corner.

Merthyr, who were fifth in the Evo-Stik South Premier, grew into the game as the rain began pouring down.

But on the stroke of half time it was 2-0 as Matty Stevens flicked home.

The Poppies refused to settle and added three second half goals to their tally.

On the hour mark Aaron O’Connor made it three with a clever dink over the visiting goalkeeper before Gary Stohrer made it 4-0 after finishing from a tight angle.

With 10 minutes left it was 5-0 after Toseland’s free kick was sliced into his own net by Merthyr’s number 10.

The result keeps the Poppies top of the table with 30 points from a possible 33.

Elsewhere it was a miserable afternoon for AFC Rushden & Diamonds as they crashed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle.

The Diamonds fell 3-1 to Kidsgrove Athletic at Hayden Road leaving Andy Peaks’ men out of both the FA Trophy and FA Cup.

The visitors led after nine minutes when Tom France beat Matt Finlay off the post after the referee played advantage from a Richard Bunting foul.

Diamonds struggled to get going but almost equalised when a cross came off top scorer Nabil Shariff’s knee and went wide.

Just after half-time Kidsgrove almost doubled their lead when a Kyle Diskin cross across the face of goal but missed everybody.

But two minutes later it was 2-0.

Diskin crossed again and this time captain Anthony Malbon slotted home.

With 20 minutes left it was 3-0 as a Diskin’s shot took a cruel deflection of Liam Dolman’s back and looped over Finlay.

Tom Lorraine pulled one back with a neat finish from a Dolman cross with two minutes left but the Diamonds had left too much to do.