Three in a row for impressive Poppies

Nathan Hicks was on target with a penalty as Kettering Town claimed a 3-1 success over Bideford at Steel Park
Nathan Hicks was on target with a penalty as Kettering Town claimed a 3-1 success over Bideford at Steel Park

Kettering Town made it three wins in a row and two in the space of 24 hours as they claimed a 3-1 success over Bideford at Steel Park.

Having already been relegated from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, the Poppies have now enjoyed a good run of form as they followed up Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Bedworth United with a second successive home win against a Bideford side who were beaten 1-0 at Cambridge City earlier this weekend.

It is a run of form that has come at a good time for boss Thomas Baillie and his assistant Dean Thomas as they stake their claim to take the job on a permanent basis at the end of this season with the club now taking applications for the post.

Having won at Bedworth, Baillie made two changes to his side with striker Jason Turner - still signed on a dual registration with Holbeach United - and Aman Verma coming in for Nathan Fox and Chris Logan.

Bideford started the better and forced three early corners, one of which caused a bit of scramble with the Poppies eventually able to clear.

Kettering goalkeeper Michael Quirke got down well to save from Matt Hockley before Sean Downing shot wide when he was clear on goal.

The Poppies’ first chance saw Will Muzvimbiri send an acrobatic effort over the crossbar before one of the best moves of the half saw Verma skip past a couple of challenges and find Turner, whose shot was cleared off the line with visiting goalkeeper Tim Sandercombe beaten.

But it was Bideford who struck first in controversial fashion when Quirke was adjudged to have held down an opponent as he attempted to punch clear. A penalty was awarded and Hockley sent the Poppies stopper the wrong way from 12 yards.

But Kettering hit back quickly with a penalty of their own when Matt Andrew brought down Turner. Skipper Nathan Hicks fired home the spot-kick to level the scores.

And the hosts went into half-time with a 2-1 advantage when Aidan Bradshaw’s cross was headed into his own net.

Bideford came out in determined style after the break and the excellent Quirke saved well from Ben Wood before producing a flying save to claw away a header from close-range.

They also had a good shout for a penalty when substitute Kevin Squire was felled in the box.

But no decision was forthcoming and it was Kettering who grabbed the all-important next goal when Ben Ford’s wind-assisted corner was punched into his own net by Sandercombe.

The visitors tried to respond but Muzvimbiri was in the right place at the right time to clear Connor Clifford’s effort off the line as the Poppies saw the game out.

The Poppies now have three games left to play, the first of which is against Barwell at Steel Park on Wednesday night before they entertain Gosport Borough in their final home match of the season next Saturday.

Poppies starting-line-up: Quirke, Bradshaw, Ford, Singh-Gill, Crowie, Muzvimbiri, Hicks, Verma, Turner, Griffiths.

Attendance: 189.