Poppies secure survival after picking up point against Berkhamstead

Conditions certainly dictated proceedings as Kettering Town and already-relegated Berkhamstead produced a largely forgettable draw at a blustery Latimer Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Poppies picked up a point on Saturday (picture: Peter Short)The Poppies picked up a point on Saturday (picture: Peter Short)
The Poppies picked up a point on Saturday (picture: Peter Short)

The Poppies mathematically secured step three football for next season, but the single point needed to guarantee survival came about in a largely uninspiring and unsatisfactory performance.

The weather aside, questions will be asked about the desire of certain Kettering players, with the visitors showing a lot more spirit and fight despite learning their league fate last weekend.

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The Comrades got to grips with the wind much quicker and looked the more comfortable outfit throughout the match.

They could have opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute but there was no white shirt in the area to turn home Luke Massingham's pass across the face of goal.

It took nearly half an hour for Kettering to have a meaningful effort, but Dan Jarvis ended the Poppies' best move of the half by blasting the ball well wide of the goal.

Berkhamstead took a deserved lead on 31 minutes through a goal worthy of winning any match as Max MacAire rifled his shot from outside the area past the rooted Dan Jezeph, off the inside of the crossbar and in.

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Kettering couldn't do much worse in the second half and were awarded a penalty five minutes after the restart, with substitute Kobe Chong sending Jamie Head the wrong way.

Chong nearly added a second two minutes later but his deflected shot was comfortably saved.

With 20 minutes remaining, both teams suddenly realised there were three points at stake and finally showed threats in front of goal.

Sami Bessadi should have hit the target on 73 minutes but instead dragged his shot wide.

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Moments later, Tom Scott should have given the Poppies the lead but headed wide just eight yards out from goal.

Kelvin Langmead would like another go at his header at the back post from a Bruno Andrade corner on 85 minutes whilst Callum Ismail forced Jezeph into a save with the final whistle looming.

In truth, neither side could defeat the conditions and win a match that will already be forgotten by those who where there!

Kettering boss Richard Lavery was not in the mood to sugarcoat the performance in his post-match comments.

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"In the first half, they looked a good outfit but we were poor first half,” Lavery said.

"I've had to have a few words at half-time because I wasn't happy - I think probably the whole ground heard me that I wasn't happy.”

The Kettering manager also had a hand in who was to take the penalty that brought the Poppies level.

"I think he (Kobe Chong) wanted it - Adi also wanted it but Adi missed one last week so I shouted over and said 'let Kobe have it' - if he was to miss it would have been my fault but it was a good penalty!"

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