SATURDAY FOOTBALL '“ Rampant Poppies hit four, Steelmen pick up a point but Diamonds title hopes are hit
Kettering Town scored four first-half goals as they kept their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off hopes alive with a 4-0 victory at Cambridge City.
The Poppies made an incredible start and were 1-0 up inside the first minute when Rene Howe finished off a good move involving Liam Canavan and Perry Cotton.
And it got even better just six minutes later when James Brighton broke through the home defence and slotted a shot under the keeper.
The Poppies continued to dominate and they made it 3-0 on 28 minutes when Brighton curled a superb free-kick into the top corner after a foul on Wilson Carvalho.
And a fantastic first half was capped when Spencer Weir-Daley turned in the box and drove his shot inside the near post.
There were fewer chances in the second half with Weir-Daley shooting straight at the goalkeeper but the Poppies didn’t need any further goals as they wrapped up a third successive win.
Corby Town halted a run of three successive defeats with a 0-0 draw at Tamworth.
But results elsewhere again went badly for them as they now sit five points adrift of safety in the Vanarama National League North.
Corby found themselves under pressure in the first half with Elliott Durrell sending an effort wide before Duane Courtney headed over at the other end.
Sam Donkin denied Ross Dyer and then made a fine save to deny Dan Newton from the resulting corner.
But the Steelmen went close themselves when Greg Mills’ header cannoned off the post.
Donkin made another good save from Ellis Deeney before the break while Cleveland Taylor was denied by James Belshaw early in the second period.
Taylor had another effort after a good move while Hicks headed straight at Belshaw as Corby grew into the contest.
But they needed Donkin to make another good stop from Dyer before Durrell flashed a shot wide late on for the hosts.
However, a goal wouldn’t come for either side as the points were shared.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central title hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow after they suffered a 1-0 loss at Royston Town.
It was Diamonds’ third 1-0 defeat in a row and has left them off the pace as far as automatic promotion is concerned as Royston leapfrogged them into third place.
Matt Finlay was forced into a couple of good early saves before Tom Lorraine was just off target from a pass from Claudiu Hoban.
Liam Dolman had a header from Hoban corner cleared off the line but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.
A free-kick was blocked but Simon Thomas flicked it home from close-range.
Lorraine had a good early chance in the second half when, after good work from Brad Harris, the frontman blasted over the bar.
Dan Quigley also shot over from a good position but Royston should have doubled their lead with a far post header.
However, they didn’t need a second as the hosts saw the game out.