Poppies return to winning ways

Aaron O'Connor is congratulated by Ben Milnes after he gave Kettering Town the lead in their 2-0 success at Bishop's Stortford. Pictures by Peter Short
Aaron O'Connor is congratulated by Ben Milnes after he gave Kettering Town the lead in their 2-0 success at Bishop's Stortford. Pictures by Peter Short

Kettering Town made a welcome return to winning ways as they moved up to third place in the Evo-Stik South League Premier with a 2-0 victory at Bishop’s Stortford.

Marcus Law recalled Durrell Berry, Gary Mulligan and Aaron O’Connor to the starting line-up and his team went on to pick up a comfortable victory as they bounced back from Saturday’s FA Trophy exit to move back to within a point of leaders Slough Town and second-placed King’s Lynn Town.

Aaron O'Connor fires the Poppies into a first-half lead

Aaron O'Connor fires the Poppies into a first-half lead

O’Connor opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season before Rhys Hoenes’ effort early in the second half wrapped up the points.

The Poppies almost went behind on the quarter-hour as Joe Robinson’s effort hit the bar and, in the resulting scramble, Dip Akinyemi’s strike was cleared off the line.

But Kettering responded and Rene Howe hit the top of the crossbar when he sent a 30-yard lob back over goalkeeper Tyler McCarthy after he had come from his goal to clear the ball.

However, the Poppies did take the lead on 24 minutes when Lindon Meikle flicked the ball on to O’Connor, who beat his man before finding the net.

Lindon Meikle gets on the ball during Kettering's win at Bishop's Stortford

Lindon Meikle gets on the ball during Kettering's win at Bishop's Stortford

The hosts thought they had levelled five minutes into the second half when Williams had the ball in the net, only for the referee’s assistant to have ruled that Tyrique Hyde’s cross had already gone out of play.

And just 60 seconds later, the Poppies doubled their lead when Hoenes was released one-on-one with McCarthy and he smashed home to make it 2-0.

Meikle was denied by McCarthy while Jordan Westcott fired over at the other end.

But it was Kettering who continued to threaten with O’Connor and Howe both going close before McCarthy produced a fine save to prevent an own-goal.

There were to be no more goals, however, and the Poppies can now look forward to hitting the road again at the weekend when they travel to Farnborough.