VERDICT – Pressure is turned up again as Poppies conspire to lose it

Marcus Law trudges off after seeing his Kettering Town team lose 2-1 to Redditch United at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short
Marcus Law trudges off after seeing his Kettering Town team lose 2-1 to Redditch United at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short

Kettering Town suffered yet another defeat at Latimer Park and this was possibly the worst of the lot so far this season.

Quite what the Poppies’ players’ problem is on their home ground is somewhat mysterious but it’s an issue that is proving oh so costly for them.

Nathan Hicks saw this indirect free-kick from close-range blocked

Nathan Hicks saw this indirect free-kick from close-range blocked

And the way they conspired to gift Redditch United a 2-1 success was enough to depress even the most optimistic of fans.

Things were looking good when James Brighton put Kettering in front after just 49 seconds but on a strange old night which saw a 20-minute delay when referee Matthew Smith suffered an injury, a couple of absolutely shambolic moments ensured it was Redditch who were celebrating at the end of it all.

This will result will only see the pressure increase on boss Marcus Law – that’s the nature of football. The results aren’t coming and when that happens it is, of course, the manager who carries the can.

But his players must start taking some responsibility. Goalkeeper Dean Snedker, who was at fault for the opening goal, barely had a save to make all evening. Indeed his busiest times came when he twice had to pick the ball out of the net.

James Brighton takes the congratulations after giving the Poppies an early lead

James Brighton takes the congratulations after giving the Poppies an early lead

Poor decisions, lapses in concentration and an inability to take advantage of dominant moments all added up to another miserable outcome on home soil.

There was certainly nothing with the way Kettering started as they stormed into the lead inside the first minute.

Liam Canavan won possession and fed Wilson Carvalho on the right. His cross found Spencer Weir-Daley at the far post, he nodded it back and Brighton was there to stab home.

The Poppies were in control after that and Canavan curled an effort just off target while Carvalho drew a decent save out of Bradley Catlow after skinning his marker.

Then came that break when referee Smith pulled up with an injury. With no qualified official in the ground, an SOS was sent out to local referee Ellis Clark who duly arrived to enable the game to go on.

Redditch reacted to the break well and they had a decent shout for a penalty waved away when the lively Simeon Cobourne went down under a challenge from Snedker.

But Kettering still created a couple of openings before the break. Weir-Daley fizzed one effort just over and then Canavan was unable to get on the end of Paul Malone’s knockdown from a Brighton set-piece.

The Poppies were handed a chance to double their lead early in the second half when they were awarded an indirect free-kick just six yards from goal after Catlow picked up a back-pass. Weir-Daley touched it to Nathan Hicks but his shot was well blocked.

But on 57 minutes, things took a turn. Hicks was muscled out in an aerial battle and Cobourne knocked the ball forward in between centre-halves James Haran and Paul Malone.

Snedker, for some reason, raced from his goal, he didn’t get there and the ball ricocheted to the beautifully named Apostocis Apostocopoucas who gratefully rolled it into an empty net.

The Poppies tried to respond and Canavan stabbed a shot wide before Weir-Daley shot straight at Catlow after being played in by Malone.

Weir-Daley went even closer when he blasted against the outside of the post but the warning signs were there at the other end when Apostocopoucas missed his kick in front of goal.

Nonetheless, there was no excuse for the way the winning goal came about.

It was a catalogue of errors with Haran giving away a needless free-kick. But, from it, Kettering were unable to properly clear their lines.

The ball was eventually played into Max Loveridge and he gleefully danced through a couple of weak challenges before beating Snedker with a fine finish into the far corner.

It was, in truth, an absolute disaster and while Gary Mulligan had a late header tipped over, the game was up.

This was another home game that the Poppies simply conspired to lose and it’s becoming an recurring theme.

They are paying the price for a miserable record at Latimer Park and until they sort it out, any talk of the play-offs can be well and truly put on hold.

Another home game arrives on Saturday when they take on Dorchester Town. That’s one the Poppies and Law, in particular, surely dare not lose...

Poppies: Snedker; Hicks (sub Barnes-Homer, 82 mins), Haran, Malone, Langdon; Carvalho, Canavan (sub Solkhon, 71 mins), Brighton; Howe, Weir-Daley. Subs not used: O’Connor, Westwood, White.

Redditch: Catlow; Jones, Courtney, Liburd, Kelly; Loveridge, McDermott (sub McDonald, 84 mins); Apostocopoucas (sub Brown, 90 mins), Spink, Johnson (sub Ali, 7 mins); Cobourne.

Referee: Matthew Smith (replaced by Michael Scriven, 23 mins).

Goals: Brighton (1 min, 1-0), Apostocopoucas (57 mins, 1-1), Loveridge (87 mins, 1-2).

Bookings: Brighton, Haran (both fouls), Weir-Daley (dissent).

Attendance: 343.