Poppies’ home campaign ends in defeat

Thomas Baillie
Thomas Baillie

Kettering Town’s home campaign ended in defeat as Gosport Borough maintained their play-off hopes in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division with a 3-1 success at Steel Park.

Henry Eze returned to the Poppies’ starting line-up after a three-match ban and played in a role in front of the back four along with Ben Ford.

The first half proved to be scrappy as both sides struggled on a bumpy surface.

Home goalkeeper Michael Quirke held on to a Rory Williams shot while, at the other end, Nathan Hicks was unable to get a shot off after a neat turn in the penalty area.

But it was the visitors who took the lead in the 20th minute when a cross into the box found Daniel Wooden who had plenty of time to fire into the top corner.

It was fairly uneventful after that with the only other chance of note coming in stoppage-time when Quirke did well to block Tom Dunford’s shot after a mistake from Nathan Fox.

Gosport started the second half well and Samuel Igoe lobbed just wide of the target before Quirke denied Williams at the near post.

But the visiting striker wasn’t to be denied as he doubled the lead on the hour-mark when he raced clear in the left channel and fired a low shot across Quirke and into the corner.

However, Kettering weren’t about to lie down and they pulled a goal back five minutes later when a ball over the top sent Will Muzvimbiri clear and he produced a very composed finish into the bottom corner.

Nathan Hicks volleyed wide from distance as Kettering eyed an equaliser and the same player forced a save out of Nathan Ashmore with another long-range effort.

But Gosport successfully killed the game after that and they finished it off six minutes from the end when Quirke raced from his goal and Williams knocked the ball away from him for Samuel Igoe to fire into an empty net.

Poppies: Quirke; Noubissie, Logan, Crowie, Fox; Eze, Ford (sub Bradshaw, h-t); Muzvimbiri, Hicks, Griffiths; Verma. Subs not used: Glen, Baillie, Singh Harpal.

Gosport: Ashmore; King, Molyneaux, Cook, Poate; Igoe, Smith, Dunford, Woodward (sub Brown, 85 mins); Wooden, Williams (sub Wilde, 87 mins). Subs not used: Ender, Wilson, Martin.

Referee: Andrew Aylott.

Goals: Wooden (20 mins, 0-1), Williams (60 mins, 0-2), Muzvimbiri (65 mins, 1-2), Igoe (84 mins, 1-3).

Attendance: 568.