‘Relaxed dressing-room’ key to Poppies’ success

Steve Kinniburgh scored both goals as Kettering Town won 2-0 at Barton Rovers
Steve Kinniburgh scored both goals as Kettering Town won 2-0 at Barton Rovers

Thomas Baillie believes a “relaxed dressing-room” was a key factor as Kettering Town claimed an impressive 2-0 success at Barton Rovers.

The Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central champions returned to winning ways following the 3-0 loss at Rugby Town on Easter Monday as they dented Barton’s play-off hopes thanks to a second-half double from Steve Kinniburgh.

With the title already sewn up, Baillie and fellow joint-boss Scott Machin freshened things up with a few changes and it paid dividends as they completed a league double over Rovers.

“We were pretty comfortable to be fair,” Baillie said.

“We swapped a few things round with Ash Robinson playing at right-back and we put Brett Solkhon in midfield and Tommy Hull at the back.

“I think it helped to freshen things up a little bit and we were fairly comfortable and probably could have won by more in the end.

“We are determined to finish the season well and we gave the boys a little incentive that if they could get the win then we would only have them in for one session this week.

“It was probably the most relaxed the dressing-room has been all season and the boys went out there and beat a very good team who have been flying recently.”

Kinniburgh was the unlikely hero of the afternoon as his fine free-kick gave the Poppies the lead before he added the second after a mistake from home goalkeeper Kyle Forster.

Regular skipper Kinniburgh handed the armband to former Barton player Hull for the afternoon.

And Baillie joked: “We took the captaincy off Steve and turned him into a footballer!

“But in all seriousness, we wanted to give Tommy the armband against his former club because he didn’t have the best of games when we went there last season.

“It was a nice situation and Steve has popped up with a fantastic free-kick to put us in front and then got the other one as well.”

The Poppies are now preparing for next weekend’s final home game of the season when they take on Bedworth United.

Kettering will be presented with the championship trophy immediately after the game at Latimer Park.