Poppies and Diamonds pick up points on the road

Nicky Eaden's Kettering Town ended a run of three defeats in a row with a 1-1 draw at Southport
Nicky Eaden's Kettering Town ended a run of three defeats in a row with a 1-1 draw at Southport

Michael McGrath had an eventful debut for Kettering Town as they ended a run of three successive defeats with a 1-1 draw at Southport in the Vanarama National League North.

Former Hereford midfielder McGrath joined the Poppies on Friday ahead of the long trip north and was thrown straight into the starting line-up while there were no places in the squad for Michael Richens and Aaron O’Connor.

Andy Peaks saw his AFC Rushden & Diamonds side fight back from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Redditch United

Andy Peaks saw his AFC Rushden & Diamonds side fight back from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Redditch United

The Poppies went close when Dan Nti saw a shot go just wide after he was played in by Gary Stohrer.

But they fell behind when the unfortunate McGrath turned a cross into his own net.

However, the new signing made amends when he brought the Poppies level on 27 minutes, scoring from close-range following a corner.

And Kettering went on to have the better of the remainder of the first half with Ben Milnes seeing an effort come back off the post while the same player also headed wide from a free-kick.

The Poppies had further chances in the second half with Joel Carta shooting over from the edge of the area while Dan Nti was denied late on.

But Kettering had to get through five minutes of stoppage-time with the hosts piling on the pressure to seal their share of the spoils.

They will now be hoping to follow it up when they take on Boston United at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

Ryan Dove’s first AFC Rushden & Diamonds goal earned them a 1-1 draw at Redditch United in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central.

Diamonds were without Alex Collard, who scored their last-minute winner against St Ives Town on Bank Holiday Monday, so Zach Reynolds came back into the starting line-up.

After an even start, Diamonds fell behind after 28 minutes when Rhys Hilton cut inside and beat Ben Heath with a well-placed shot.

They almost went 2-0 down five minutes later when a mix-up between Jack Ashton and Ben Heath allowed Connor Deards to get in between them but Ashton made it back to clear the final effort.

Diamonds’ best chance of the half fell to Dove, whose firm volley forced the home goalkeeper into a fingertip save.

Dove went close again when he flicked a Ben Acquaye free-kick just wide but the frontman’s moment did arrive with 11 minutes to go.

Sam Brown’s ball in was won by Jack Ashton and it fell to Dove who smashed it through a crowd of players and into the net.

And Diamonds went close to a stoppage-time winner with Sam Johnson stabbing the ball wide at the back post.