Poppies held at Biggleswade as Diamonds see off Whitworth

Rhys Hoenes' penalty is saved by Liam Gooch as Kettering Town were held to a 0-0 draw at Biggleswade Town. Picture by Peter Short
Rhys Hoenes' penalty is saved by Liam Gooch as Kettering Town were held to a 0-0 draw at Biggleswade Town. Picture by Peter Short

Kettering Town’s winning run was ended as they were held to a 0-0 at Biggleswade Town.

The Evo-Stik South League Premier leaders had gone into the clash on the back of eight wins in a row in all competitions but they were unable to find a way through on this occasion with Rhys Hoenes missing a first-half penalty against his former club.

Brett Solkhon was restored to the starting line-up alongside loanee Marshall Willock as Gary Mulligan dropped to the bench.

Gary Stohrer was also included from the start with Ben Milnes not named in the squad.

Connor Hall forced Jordan Wright into a decent save from 20 yards but Kettering went on to have the better of things and Liam Gooch tipped a Mathew Stevens header over for a corner.

The Poppies were given a golden chance to open the scoring when Aaron O’Connor was brought down in the area by Craig Daniel. But former Biggleswade man Hoenes saw his penalty saved by Gooch.

O’Connor went close with an effort before half-time and Kettering continued to threaten after the break with Stohrer having a shot blocked while substitute James Brighton headed just wide of the mark from a corner.

Stohrer and Stevens both forced Gooch into late saves but there was to be no breakthrough as both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.

The point was enough to keep the Poppies on top of the table, although they are now only one clear of Slough Town, who fought back from 4-0 down to win 5-4 at Merthyr Town.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds made safe progress into the quarter-finals of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup as they saw off United Counties League side Whitworth 3-0 at Hayden Road.

Andy Peaks fielded a strong side after admitting he wanted a “massive reaction” from his team after their FA Trophy exit at the weekend.

And they wasted little time in taking control with Nabil Shariff nodding them in front after just two minutes before he doubled the lead soon after following good work from Fernando Bell-Toxtle.

Diamonds made it 3-0 on 33 minutes when Tom Lorraine scored after a Shariff shot had been saved but there were further chances at both ends with Ben Heath making a fine save to deny Cavell Jarvis before the break.

There were chances at both ends in the second half but not further goals and the win means Diamonds will now host Wellingborough Town in the last eight next month.