Poppies on the spot to maintain their lead

Kettering Town joint-bosses Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin
Kettering Town joint-bosses Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin

Kettering Town were right on the spot as they maintained their five-point advantage at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central with a 4-0 success at bottom side North Greenford United.

The Poppies went 3-0 up thanks to three penalties, all of which were converted by three different players, before Andy Hall did score from open play to secure a comfortable victory – their fifth in a row.

With second-placed Bedworth United also winning with a 1-0 verdict at Bedford Town, it means Kettering remain on top by five points while also having a game in hand on their nearest rivals.

Joint-managers Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin made one change to their starting line-up following the 1-0 success over Aylesbury at the weekend with Elliot Sandy dropping to the bench and Andy Hall coming into the side.

It proved to be a quiet start, although the Poppies created the first chance when a fine through-ball from Josh Moreman released Dubi Ogbonna and he beat a defender before shooting just wide.

But Kettering did take the lead just past the midway point in the first half when Ogbonna was brought down in the area. And he picked himself up to send home goalkeeper Amadou Tangara the wrong way from 12 yard.

The Poppies dominated possession after that goal but they were forced into a re-shuffle when Sandy replaced Gary Mulligan, who suffered a calf injury.

And the visitors were almost caught out in stoppage-time when Richard Knight pushed Bradley Morris’ effort away for a corner.

Romeo Agebane also headed wide for the hosts early in the second half but Kettering went close themselves when David Kolodynski, on for Ogbonna who had taken a knock, crossed but Sandy could only lift the ball over the bar.

Kolodynski sent an effort wide but he won the second penalty of the evening when he was fouled by Tangara. This time Sandy stepped up to make it 2-0 from 12 yards.

And the game was made safe five minutes later thanks to yet another spot-kick. This one was more controversial as Hall was adjudged to have been fouled.

But Kolodynski wasn’t complaining as he became the third different player to score from the spot.

The game was well and truly up with nine minutes to go when Hall fired home at the near post after good work from Kolodynski, who fired over before the end after a fine run from Moreman.

The Poppies really pulled away from their struggling opponents in the second period and the win sets them up for another away day at Godalming Town on Saturday.

Poppies: Knight; Clifton, Solkhon (sub Richard-Noel, 74 mins), Lee, Kinniburgh; Hall, Jepson, Hull, Moreman; Mulligan (sub Sandy, 40 mins), Ogbonna (sub Kolodynski, 58 mins). Subs: Gooding, Marsh.

Goals: Ogbonna pen (24 mins, 0-1), Sandy pen (67 mins, 0-2), Kolodynski (72 mins, 0-3), Hall (81 mins, 0-4).

Attendance: 107.

Don’t miss all the latest news from Latimer Park in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph