Trophy win 'another step in the right direction' for Cox's Poppies

Paul Cox felt Kettering Town took “another step in the right direction” after they moved into the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 3-0 victory at Peterborough Sports.

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 8:18 am
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 8:27 am
Kettering Town celebrate Lindon Meikle's goal which gave them the lead in their 3-0 FA Trophy success at Peterborough Sports. Pictures by Peter Short

In what looked an extremely tricky third qualifying round tie, the Poppies took the lead on 27 minutes through Lindon Meikle before doubling the advantage seven minutes into the second half through Aaron O’Connor.

Kettering then had Marcus Kelly sent-off for a second bookable offence but they remained solid and then finished their BetVictor Southern League Premier Central hosts off with a goal from Dan Nti in the final minute.

And Poppies boss Cox, who has now taken the team on a five-match unbeaten run in all competitions since taking charge, was impressed with what he saw.

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Lindon Meikle scores the Poppies' opening goal

He said: “I thought we were excellent, it’s another step in the right direction for us as a team and I thought the way we approached it and our mindset throughout the game was excellent. I am really proud of the lads.

“You only have to look at the team we came up against, the record they’ve got, the finances and players they’ve got and the scalps they have taken. I read their manager’s thoughts ahead of the game and he was very, very confident that they could cause an upset.

“That’s football, this had all the hallmarks of a cup tie. It was raining, the pitch was boggy, our opponents were pumped up with an excellent record at home.

“It’s was a banana skin but I wanted to learn something about the squad. It would have been very easy to go out there and think we could turn up and win.

Marcus Kelly was sent-off for a second bookable offence in the second half

“These games are never easy but we approached it right and we got our rewards.”

The Poppies, who will be part of the FA Trophy first-round draw tomorrow (Monday) lunchtime, are now looking ahead to a return to Vanarama National League North action next Saturday when they head to Gloucester City.

Cox believes they will need to strengthen with Kelly set to serve a suspension while Joe Skarz missed the Trophy tie due to a groin problem and Ben Milnes was withdrawn due to injury.

But he insists that as long as the approach remains the same, they will continue to be a “hard team to beat”.

“We need some bodies in, that’s not rocket science,” he added.

“We had 16 players and we have lost two or three.

“But the boys have raised their own bar and if we approach any game like we do then I am not saying we will win every week, but we will be a very hard team to beat.

“That’s when I will start to smile a bit when I know we have a group who have the desire and application to win consistently week in and week out.

“It’s early days. I am not getting carried away and we have massive league games in front of us and we need to approach them like we have the last four or five.”