Poppies hit back with a routine victory

James Clifton scored his first goal for Kettering Town as they claimed a 3-0 victory at Chertsey Town
James Clifton scored his first goal for Kettering Town as they claimed a 3-0 victory at Chertsey Town

Kettering Town returned to winning ways in comfortable fashion as they recorded a 3-0 success at struggling Chertsey Town.

The Poppies bounced back from their 1-1 draw at Marlow to make it 16 games without defeat in the Calor League Division One Central as they kept up their hunt for a play-off place.

Andy Gooding scored for the fifth successive game as he gave the Poppies the lead from the penalty spot and further goals from Elliot Sandy and James Clifton, his first for the club, rounded off a good night for the visitors.

Dean Thomas made a couple of changes ahead of a run of three away games this week with Ben Ford being handed his first start since rejoining the club while Ash Fuller also came into the starting line-up. Josh Moreman and Chris Logan both dropped to the bench.

The Poppies made a quick start and were unlucky not to take an early lead when Henry Eze’s looping header struck the base of the post.

Home goalkeeper Rhys Marshall saved smartly from Fuller soon after but the visitors had a scare when Alastair Worby came to their rescue.

James Jepson’s back-pass went straight to Alan Musoke but goalkeeper Worby made a diving save to deny him.

And Kettering took full advantage as they scored twice in the space of nine minutes.

Jonathon Thorpe was brought down by Marshall in the area. A penalty was awarded and the home stopper was booked. And he was soon picking the ball out of the net as Gooding again won a battle from 12 yards.

And it was 2-0 on 28 minutes when Sandy raced forward and calmly lobbed over Marshall who had come to the edge of the box.

Thorpe forced Marshall into a save with a firm header and the goalkeeper was at it again before the break when he blocked a shot from Eze following a corner.

It was a quiet start to the second half but Kettering almost went 3-0 up when Sandy’s shot was blocked and Gooding missed the follow-up before. The ball went back into the box and Ford was unable to turn it home.

The Poppies always looked the more likely to add another goal and Sandy sent an effort wide after the ball broke for him following more good work from Gooding.

But the third did arrive with 16 minutes to when Clifton headed home Fuller’s free-kick to round off a comfortable evening.

Kettering now have just 48 hours to recover as they now prepare for one of their toughest assignments of the season so far when they make the short trip to face title-chasing Daventry Town.

With the Poppies unbeaten in 16 matches and Daventry yet to taste defeat at Communications Park, something may well have to give...

Poppies: Worby, Clifton, Kinniburgh, Gooding (sub Logan, 81 mins), Eze, Hull, Thorpe, Jepson, Sandy (sub Ogbonna, 70 mins), Fuller, Ford (sub Hamilton, 63 mins). Subs: Moreman, Osi-Siribour.

Goals: Gooding pen (19 mins, 0-1), Sandy (28 mins, 0-2), Clifton (74 mins, 0-3).

Attendance: 94.