Stevens the late hero as Poppies go top

Poppies boss Marcus Law celebrates with the travelling fans after the dramatic win at Farnborough. Pictures by Peter Short
Poppies boss Marcus Law celebrates with the travelling fans after the dramatic win at Farnborough. Pictures by Peter Short

Mathew Stevens was the last-gasp hero for Kettering Town as they claimed a dramatic 4-3 success at Farnborough to move to the top of the Evo-Stik South League Premier.

The Poppies looked to be cruising when they opened up a 3-0 lead in the first half but the hosts staged a remarkable fightback and made it 3-3 late on.

Gary Mulligan shows his delight after he put the Poppies 2-0 up

Gary Mulligan shows his delight after he put the Poppies 2-0 up

But there was more drama to come as substitute Stevens struck in the sixth minute of stoppage-time to secure another victory.

Marcus Law named an unchanged starting line-up following the 2-0 midweek success at Bishop’s Stortford and the Poppies made a flying start.

Just two minutes were on the clock when Lindon Meikle crossed from the left and Rene Howe headed over home goalkeeper Matt Cafer.

And the lead was doubled just 11 minutes later when Gary Mulligan curled the ball home from 12 yards after some head tennis following a corner.

Paul White produced a good save to deny Perry Coles and, after Aaron O’Connor had seen a shot saved by Cafer at the other end, the Poppies did make it 3-0 before half-time.

Ben Toseland received the ball in the middle of the pitch, beat one man and then fired his shot into the top corner.

The Poppies lost Mulligan and Durrell Berry to injury during the first half and Farnborough responded after the break when Conor Calcutt pulled a goal back with a fine header from a corner as Kettering had their defences breached for the first time in 610 minutes of league action.

And it was game on soon after when Jack Barton was given plenty of space 25 yards from goal and he found the top corner.

The Poppies were given the chance to add a fourth when they were awarded a penalty after Stevens was fouled but O’Connor missed from the spot again as his shot came back off the bar.

And it looked like the Poppies were going to pay the price when veteran striker Jamie Cureton grabbed the equaliser in the final minute of normal time.

Both teams went in search of a winner and it was Kettering who got it as Meikle squared the ball to Stevens to finish it off.

With King’s Lynn Town losing to Chesham United and Slough Town on FA Cup duty, the dramatic win meant Kettering went two points clear at the summit.