VERDICT: High fives all-round as Poppies march on

Dion Kelly-Evans takes the congratulations after he scored his first goal for Kettering Town to put them 2-1 up in their 5-1 success over Bedworth United. Pictures by Peter Short
Dion Kelly-Evans takes the congratulations after he scored his first goal for Kettering Town to put them 2-1 up in their 5-1 success over Bedworth United. Pictures by Peter Short

It was a case of high fives all-round at Latimer Park as Kettering Town maintained their superb start to the new Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central campaign.

The Poppies hit back from the early shock of falling behind to Bedworth United to seal a 5-1 success to make it five wins from as many matches and open up a five-point lead at the top of the early table.

Rhys Hoenes fires home the Poppies' fourth goal

Rhys Hoenes fires home the Poppies' fourth goal

It rounded off an August Marcus Law, his players and the supporters would have dreamed of and it has certainly laid the foundations for what all of them will hope is a big challenge for promotion.

It wasn’t as straightforward as the final scoreline suggests though.

The Poppies were out of sorts for spells in the first half with the visitors creating plenty of dangerous situations.

But, spurred on by whatever was said at half-time, Kettering moved through the gears after the break and, in the end, simply had too much for their struggling opponents.

Ben Milnes was on hand to make it 3-1 following a goalmouth scramble

Ben Milnes was on hand to make it 3-1 following a goalmouth scramble

There were some impressive displays in there as well with Marcus Kelly again showing he is playing well below a level he is capable of while Dion Kelly-Evans chipped in with his first goal for the club to cap another energetic display at right-back.

Indeed, four of the five goals Kettering scored were right out of the top drawer.

But they only came after they and another 800-plus crowd had been stunned when Bedworth opened the scoring after just four minutes when Daniel Dubidat was allowed space in the right channel and produced a precise finish across the face of goal and into the far corner.

There was no time to dwell, however, and the response was almost instant.

Rhys Hoenes, who again did all the running as a lone frontman, got away down the left. His cross took an awkward bounce but Kelly was there to meet it with a superb half-volley which he guided into the far top corner.

It was a real moment of quality and another soon followed from the boot of Ben Milnes who floated in a delightful cross from the right and Kelly-Evans, possibly the shortest player on the field, rose to send his header into the bottom corner.

Kelly was denied by visiting goalkeeper Dan Crane but there was still something lacklustre about the Poppies’ display as they limped to the break.

That certainly wasn’t the case in the second half, however, as goalkeeper Paul White was a mere spectator for the majority of it.

The hosts found the crucial third goal four minutes after the restart with Milnes on hand to score from close-range following a scramble after Crane had denied Brett Solkhon, whose search for his 100th goal for the club continues.

But two more excellent goals rounded off a very tasty afternoon.

Hoenes made it 4-1 when he received an inch-perfect pass from the industrious Gary Stohrer. The pacy frontman cut in from the left and fired a right-footed shot into the far corner.

But if that was good, the best was yet to come.

Kelly found himself with just Crane to beat but the goalkeeper was equal to the firm strike.

However, he could only parry it away. Kelly ran onto the rebound and, with everyone expecting him to shoot, he produced the most exceptional of faints to send everyone the other way before calmly lifting the ball into the next.

It was outrageous, it was exceptional and it was the cherry on top of the cake.

It remains early days but the Poppies have shown their hand early and look to be in a mean mood.

How long they can sustain it remains to be seen. So far, so good..

Poppies: White; Kelly-Evans, Towers, Rowe-Turner, Toseland; Richens (sub Berry, 80 mins); Stohrer (sub Rhiney, 74 mins), Solkhon, Milnes; Kelly; Hoenes (sub Davidson-Miller, 74 mins). Subs not used: Shamalo, Lavery.

Bedworth: Crane; Whitmore, Gordon, Albrighton, Rowe; Fitzharris (sub Tonge, 69 mins), Parrott; Baldwin, Blackmore (sub Noon, 79 mins), Dubidat; Troke. Subs not used: Jeys, Christie, Bretton.

Referee: Oliver Mackey.

Goals: Dubidat (4 mins, 0-1), Kelly (6 mins, 1-1), Kelly-Evans (17 mins, 2-1), Milnes (49 mins, 3-1), Hoenes (61 mins, 4-1), Kelly (73 mins, 5-1).

Bookings: Fitzharris, Whitmore, Milnes (all fouls).

Northants Telegraph man of the match: Marcus Kelly - First of all, an honourable mention for Dion Kelly-Evans, who was outstanding for the Poppies. Unfortunately, Marcus Kelly is on a different level as he probably should be after playing 40-odd games in the National League last season. The midfielder was impressive for most of the afternoon but it was his goals that really stood out. A magnificent half-volley to equalise and then the most outrageous of finishes to wrap things up in the second half. I don’t know the ins and outs of how the Poppies secured him for this season but few inside Latimer Park will care. There will be plenty more bottles of champagne coming his way if this is anything to go by.

Attendance: 845.