Poppies make it five in a row as Diamonds are held at home

Rhys Hoenes fires home what proved to be the winning goal as Kettering Town claimed a 2-1 success at St Ives Town. Pictures by Peter Short
Rhys Hoenes fires home what proved to be the winning goal as Kettering Town claimed a 2-1 success at St Ives Town. Pictures by Peter Short

Kettering Town made it five wins in a row to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central - but they did it the hard way in a 2-1 success at St Ives Town.

Marcus Law made one change following the 4-1 success at Redditch United with Declan Towers restored to the first 11 with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner starting on the bench.
The Poppies enjoyed plenty of possession during the opening period but found themselves 1-0 down at the break.
Towers hauled down Ben Seymour-Shove in the area after half-an-hour and Robbie Parker stepped up to score from the penalty spot.
Aaron O’Connor blazed an effort off target for Kettering but the striker made amends when he levelled things up 12 minutes into the second half, smashing home after a pass from Rhys Hoenes.
The Poppies were presented with a chance to take the lead when half-time substitute Adam Cunnington was fouled in the area but Martin Conway went the right way to keep out Dan Holman’s spot-kick.
However, the comeback was complete soon after when Hoenes cut in from the right and fired home a fine strike.
St Ives had a late shout for a penalty waved away when former Kettering man Ben Baker went down in the area.
But the Poppies saw things out to gain revenge for their home loss to St Ives and stay out in front in the title race.

Aaron O'Connor heads off to celebrate after bringing the Poppies level

Aaron O'Connor heads off to celebrate after bringing the Poppies level

AFC Rushden & Diamonds lost ground in the race for the play-offs after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leiston at Hayden Road.
Andy Peaks made one change to the team that started the 1-0 win over King’s Lynn Town last weekend with John Dean being handed a start in place of Ben Farrell while Jack Ashton continued at left-back with Sam Brown still being unavailable.
Diamonds opened the scoring on 23 minutes when a move involving Zack Reynolds and Nathan Hicks ended with Ben Diamond crossing to the far post where Ashton rose highest to score with a looping header.
But Leiston posed a real threat to Diamonds and they hit the crossbar before levelling 10 minutes into the second half when Matthew Rutterford drove into the box and fired past Ben Heath.
It was the visitors who went closest to finding a winner when Matt Blake got in and lifted the ball over Heath, only for Liam Dolman to hack the effort off the line.
Diamonds are straight back into action on Tuesday night with a big game as they entertain third-placed Stratford Town at Hayden Road.