Poppies make a point against high-flying Fylde
James Wiles reports on Kettering Town's 1-1 draw with AFC Fylde at Latimer Park
Kettering Town halted AFC Fylde’s perfect start to the Vanarama National League North season, drawing 1-1 with the Coasters in an exciting encounter at Latimer Park.
The visitors were dangerous going forward and showed why they began the day at the top of the table. They took the lead just seven minutes in, Nick Haughton heading Ben Tollitt’s cross into the top corner.
The Poppies responded and took the game to their in-form opponents, creating more opportunities.
They came close two minutes after conceding, Callum Powell skilfully beat a defender and crossed for Isaac Stones, whose header was saved by Chris Neal.
The Fylde goalkeeper was busy again 10 minutes later when Harrison Neal’s corner was cleared to Lamine Sherif, the midfielder’s 20 yard volley stinging his palms.
The hosts were back on level terms when Stephen Dobbie brought down Powell in the area, and the forward picked himself up to place the resulting spot kick into the bottom right corner.
Powell almost doubled his tally on the half-an-hour mark with a 25 yard free kick that hit the bar. Stones headed over from close range in the aftermath.
The Coasters threatened on the stroke of half-time. Dobbie shifted the ball along to Luke Conlon, and the defender’s shot from the edge of the box deflected wide.
The first opening of the second period came from Fylde, but Dobbie’s drive was denied by the hosts’ debutant goalkeeper Jackson Smith.
Either side of the hour, Stones tamely headed straight at Chris Neal and Luke Ward hit the post from 15 yards as Kettering came closest to going ahead.
Powell had two chances to win the game late on. He cut inside from the left and hit the bar with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining. Then in injury time, he drove at the Coasters defence and curled towards the top corner, but Chris Neal was on hand to tip the ball over the bar.
Try as they might, the Poppies were unable to score a winner and their opponents held on to a point.
Poppies: Smith; Johnson, Ward, Dyche; Barrett, H. Neal, Kennedy, Sherif, Calder; Stones (sub Sheriff, 87 mins), Powell. Subs not used: Ofosu, Diakiesse, Smith, Perry.
Fylde: C. Neal; Burke (sub Obi, 64 mins), Whitmore, Stott, Conlon; Tollitt, Joyce, Dobbie (sub Holland-Wilkinson, 77 mins), Nolan (sub Perkins, 56 mins), Haughton; Sampson. Subs not used: Osborne, Jones.
Referee: Thomas Kirk.
Goals: Haughton (0-1, 7 mins), Powell (1-1, 21 mins).
Bookings: Kennedy, Nolan, Johnson, Neal (all fouls), Haughton (handball).
Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Lamine Sherif - Sherif was a standout performer in a good all-round Kettering display against a strong Fylde side. He won the ball back for his team and started attacks numerous times throughout, and almost got himself on the scoresheet in the first half with a thundering volley.