Relief, stress and strain are all part of it as Poppies' push continues

Kettering Town manager Marcus Law admits his side and indeed the supporters are going to encounter several moments of relief, stress and strain between now and the end of the season despite their incredible run of form.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 10:00 am
Brett Solkhon celebrates with the Kettering Town fans after his late goal wrapped up a 3-1 win over Dunstable Town at Latimer Park last night. Pictures by Peter Short

The Poppies raced into a two-goal lead in the opening half- hour of the game against Dunstable Town at Latimer Park last night (Thursday) thanks to a brace from young Birmingham City loanee David Popa.

But they faced some nervy moments in the second half as the visitors pulled one back.

However, Law believes the result was the correct one in the end as Brett Solkhon rounded off a 3-1 victory, which extended the Poppies’ unbeaten run to nine matches and moved them to within touching distance of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off places.

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David Popa heads home the first of his two goals during the Poppies success

“Yes, I think that over the ninety minutes we thoroughly deserved it,” Law said.

“Typical Kettering, we have a little quirky moment where the opposition gets a sniff, but I think literally five minutes after that we settled down and we started doing what we were doing in the first half.

“I think we were just playing the pressure game, we know we need to win, we know we have some good attacking players so I think we are just making teams have to defend us and put them on the back foot and that certainly came to the fore in the first half.”

Popa certainly showed his eye for goal and his technical ability and the Poppies manager was delighted with his performance.

David Popa takes the congratulations after firing in his second goal as Kettering beat Dunstable

Law said: “He’s (Popa) taken a little while to settle in.

“He’s now starting to understand the physicality here and there, though still learning, but, some of his technical touches, you know the reason he’s involved with a championship club.”

With the play-offs now in sight, Law believes there is no better motivation for his players when they tackle their hectic upcoming fixture schedule.

“I can’t question the motivation of the boys,” he added.

Action from Kettering Town's victory over Dunstable Town, which enhanced their chances of reaching the play-offs

“We know every game is pressured, we have always been chasing it would just be nice to peak them when there’s no more games to play.

“We have had one blip against Histon but in the other games we have made sure we have come back with something and that’s a credit to the boys

“I think that’s one in 13 that we have lost now which is a fantastic run and a great time to be going in with confidence and form at the business end of the season.”

The only real negative aspect to take from the game was news of an injury to striker Spencer Weir-Daley.

David Popa heads home the first of his two goals during the Poppies success

“Unfortunately he [Spencer Weir-Daley] had an accident at home and we wish him all well,” Law confirmed.

“He has dislocated his shoulder so we will wait for a report back on that and we will see if he will be available for the rest of the season or certainly over the next week because that’s the core of our season.”

The Poppies continue their chase when they travel to Chesham United tomorrow (Saturday) and Law is wary of the threat their opposition pose.

He said: “Chesham have been the sort of nemesis to every team up there.

“I think it’s only Poole who have had a good result against them. They obviously enjoy the frustration of the opposition.

“They will be very professional and they will certainly try to win the game and try to frustrate us knowing that we have something on the fixture, a bit like Dunstable last night.”

David Popa takes the congratulations after firing in his second goal as Kettering beat Dunstable

The centre-half pairing of Gary Mulligan and Brett Solkhon both picked up little niggles last night but Law is comfortable with the strength and depth his side possesses in that position.

“I don’t think he (Mulligan) will be fit for tomorrow with a bit of a niggle through the knee,” he added.

“We will get that sorted for the Leamington game (next Tuesday) and make sure he’s prepared and available.

“Brett just had somebody stand on his foot and was hobbling around for a bit.

“But Dom (Langdon) and (Chris) Carruthers, they’ve really done excellent for us and we are quite fortunate that we have got numerous players that can play centre-half and there is quite a good balance amongst the squad in terms of covering other positions.”

Action from Kettering Town's victory over Dunstable Town, which enhanced their chances of reaching the play-offs