Ten-man Poppies battle away for a share of the spoils
James Wiles reports on Kettering Town's goalless draw with Chester at Latimer Park
Kettering Town and Chester played out a competitive goalless draw in the Vanarama National League North at Latimer Park on Saturday, writes James Wiles
Both sides were reduced to 10 men in the second half as Kyle Perry and Kevin Roberts were sent-off for second bookable offences, and both had chances to snatch all three points.
The draw halts the Seals’ disappointing run of form and somewhat eases the pressure on their joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, whilst adding another point to the Poppies’ impressive start to the season.
The hosts created the first clear opportunity 10 minutes in when Perry flicked on Claudio Ofosu’s cross but Alex Brown was unable to turn home at the back post.
Chester’s best chance of the first period came on the half-an-hour mark, Jackson Smith holding captain George Glendon’s curled shot from long range.
Kettering hit the woodwork soon after, Brown heading against the crossbar from another Perry flick on. The assistant referee’s flag was up for offside before anyone could follow up.
Luke Ward’s 20-yard free kick was easily held by Louis Gray as the Poppies ended the first half on top.
The last action of the opening 45 minutes came when Harrison Neal volleyed across goal and narrowly wide of the Seals’ goal.
Chester’s Jack Redshaw headed over from a corner shortly after the break, and Kettering were reduced to 10 men moments later.
Having been shown a yellow card for dissent before the interval, Perry was given his marching orders after colliding with Simon Grand.
Despite being a man down, it was the Poppies who threatened with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, but Dan Cowan made a great last-ditch challenge on Ofosu as he shaped to shoot.
The visitors also had a player sent off when Roberts was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Brown late on.
Seals substitute Jude Oyibo came close to scoring an added time winner when he drove into the area and almost walked the ball in, but neither side were able to break the deadlock and the match ended goalless.
Paul Cox’s side host Buxton in the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round next week. The Bucks remain unbeaten in the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division after a 3-2 win at Radcliffe Borough in their latest encounter.
Poppies: Smith; Smith, Ward, Johnson; Barrett, Neal, Stohrer (sub Sherif, 86 mins), Brown; Ofosu (sub Crawford, 88 mins), Perry, Powell (sub Stones, 66 mins). Subs not used: Sheriff, Sharpe.
Chester: Gray; Cowan, Grand, Williams; Roberts, Glendon, Lacey, Weeks (sub Waring, 72 mins), Askew; Dudley (sub Oyibo, 80 mins), Redshaw. Subs not used: Livesey, Hardy, Clark.
Referee: Richard Holmes.
Bookings: Williams, Weeks, Roberts (all fouls), Perry (dissent).
Sendings-off: Perry, Roberts (both second bookable offences).
Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Harrison Neal - Neal put in a lot of effort throughout, particularly in the half-an-hour spell his side were a man down. The midfielder almost got himself on the scoresheet with an effort that flashed across the face of goal on the stroke of half time.