Sorry Poppies thumped by Slough

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas

A defensive horror show saw Kettering Town suffer a third defeat in as many games in the Calor League Division One Central.

And the alarm bells may well be ringing for Dean Thomas now as Slough Town claimed an excellent 5-1 victory at Latimer Park.

From the off, the Poppies looked far too easy to unlock as a defensive unit and the visitors did it at will for most of the afternoon.

Kettering did manage to register their first goal of the season and their first at their new home. But that was scant consolation on an afternoon to forget.

Ashley Deeney recovered from a foot injury to take his place at right-back while Nathan Fox dropped to the bench while Jonathon Thorpe was pushed forward into a more attacking role.

An almighty downpour greeted the teams but the heavy rain certainly didn’t seem to affect Slough as they took the lead inside three minutes.

And there was a familiar feel to it from Kettering’s point of view. The visitors broke in midfield, Jamie McClurg slipped the ball through to Warren Harris and he finished with an angle drive across Michael Quirke.

Kettering did respond slightly better than they did against Barton Rovers on Tuesday night with Wes Emery heading wide before Jake Newman went very close when he got on the end of Jonathon Thorpe’s low cross from the right.

But while there was a slight improvement in the attacking third, it got no better in the defensive one as Slough were handed their second goal on a plate.

A free-kick was sent into the area, no-one challenged Johnnie Dyer as he headed it across goal and Eddie Smith applied an acrobatic finish at the far post.

It could have been worse before half-time as Smith headed Dyer’s cross over the bar and Slough started the second half well with Smith seeing a shot deflected over by Chris Logan before Dave Woozley was wide from the resulting corner.

But a ray of hope came over Latimer Park on 49 minutes when the Poppies’ first goal of the season finally arrived. It owed a lot to Thorpe who raced away on the right after a neat piece of skill. And his low cross was converted at the far post by Fox.

Unfortunately, that hope didn’t last very long and it was never likely to given the quality of Kettering’s defending.

Another set-piece arrived for Slough, Dyer headed it wide but the ball came back in and Ben Edwards was unmarked to tap home.

And if that was bad, worse was to come as a cross in from the right was missed at the near post but there was no one marking Darren Wheeler and he needed no second invitation to blast past Quirke.

Rob Foster sent an effort over as the Poppies tried to respond and Slough goalkeeper Jake Somerville had to tip a Wes Emery cross over the bar.

But the damage had already been done, there was no way back for Thomas’ men and Slough completed the scoring when Fox put through his own net after Wheeler’s shot was saved by Quirke.

Defensively, it was dreadful and some serious work is needed in that department.

In the meantime, any sort of reaction will be seen as a positive when the Poppies head to St Ives Town on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm).

Poppies: Quirke; A Deeney (sub Muzvimbiri, 60 mins); Piercewright, D Deeney (sub Fox, 33 mins), Kinniburgh; Gooding, Logan, Emery; Thorpe, Clarke (sub Foster, h-t), Newman. Subs not used: Wilson, Hamilton.

Slough: Somerville; Fraser, Woozley, Hollis, Lake; Edwards, McClurg (sub Burgess, 64 mins), W Harris (sub Couch, 74 mins); Dyer (sub S Harris, 58 mins), Smith, Wheeler. Subs not used: Harrison, Short.

Referee: David Avent.

Goals: W Harris (3 mins, 0-1), Smith (31 mins, 0-2), Fox (49 mins, 1-2), Edwards (54 mins, 1-3), Wheeler (60 mins, 1-4), Fox og (89 mins, 1-5).

Bookings: Wheeler (dissent), Piercewright, Lake, Logan, Smith (all fouls).

Attendance: 559.