Verma seals a point for Poppies on his return

Poppies boss Thomas Baillie
Poppies boss Thomas Baillie

Aman Verma marked his return to a Kettering Town shirt by grabbing a deserved late equaliser as they claimed a second successive 1-1 draw at Cambridge City in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

The Poppies produced another good display but were caught out with eight minutes to go by Adrian Cambridge’s goal.

However, Verma - who came straight into the side for Ben Ford having been cleared to play earlier in the day - headed home the leveller with two minutes left.

Poppies boss Thomas Baillie was forced into one other change as Troy Johnston came in for the injured Pat Noubissie at right-back.

And the visitors had a lucky escape early on when Craig Hammond swept the ball into the net, only to see his effort ruled out by an offside flag.

Cambridge continued to enjoy the better of the early stages but Kettering gradually came into it and Chris Logan dragged an effort wide before Lewis Wilson forced Zac Barrett into his first save and Verma headed wide of the mark.

At the other end, Ieaun Lewis nodded just wide of the post for the hosts while a good passing move ended with Adam Marriott lifting his shot over the bar.

But the Poppies continued to play their part in an even first half and central defender Henry Eze forced Barrett into another save as he parried the Kettering man’s shot away after a driving run. And, from the resulting corner, Logan shot just over.

Michael Quirke saved from Ashley Fuller early in the second half and Cambridge substitute Craig Calver shot over after a nice piece of control.

But Kettering remained a threat and Verma struck the post with a shot before Wilson fired one over and Nathan Hicks forced Barrett into another save.

Lewis went close with a header for the hosts but Barrett was called into action again as he made a terrific double save to deny Jamie Griffiths and Verma.

And Kettering looked like they would pay when Cambridge fired his side in front on 82 minutes after a scramble in the box had seen one effort saved and another blocked.

But Kettering weren’t to be denied and Verma made it a debut to savour as he headed home Griffiths’ cross to earn his team a share of the spoils.

Poppies line-up: Quirke; Johnston, Eze, Crowie, Fox; Hamilton, Hicks, Logan Griffiths; Verma; Wilson. Subs: Ford, Muzvimbiri, Bradshaw, Glen, Talbot.

Goals: Cambridge (82 mins, 1-0), Verma (88 mins, 1-1).

Attendance: 212.