VERDICT: Defensive lapse proves costly as Poppies are held

Andrew Oluwabori celebrates with Ben Toseland after he put Kettering Town in front. Picture by Peter ShortAndrew Oluwabori celebrates with Ben Toseland after he put Kettering Town in front. Picture by Peter Short
Andrew Oluwabori celebrates with Ben Toseland after he put Kettering Town in front. Picture by Peter Short
Kettering Town were left counting the cost of a defensive lapse as they missed a chance to open their home campaign with a win at a sweltering Latimer Park.

In the end, a magical goal from Peterborough United loanee Andrew Oluwabori was only enough to earn a point as Bradford (Park Avenue) hit back almost immediately to also secure their first point of the Vanarama National League North campaign.

It will, no doubt, leave Poppies boss Lee Glover frustrated as his team were on course for victory in a game in which they probably just had the edge as both sides struggled to create clear openings on a hard surface and the high temperature.

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Oluwabori was a real livewire throughout and, in general, the Poppies defence had coped with pretty much anything that came their way until they switched off at a crucial period.

Gary Stohrer in action for the PoppiesGary Stohrer in action for the Poppies
Gary Stohrer in action for the Poppies

Chances were few and far between in an even first half but Kettering came closest to breaking the deadlock when Rhys Sharpe’s well-struck volley was just the wrong side of the post while Keaton Ward shot straight at George Sykes-Kenworthy after a good passing move down the right-hand side.

Bradford started the second half with renewed rigour and Jacob Blyth saw a flicked header deflected over before Sharpe was in the right place to clear Shane Maroodza’s effort off the line after he’d been left unmarked at the far post.

But the Poppies came back into it and Oluwabori was just off target with a curling effort before he opened the scoring with 12 minutes to go.

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He flicked the ball over one defender and then beat another to leave him in the clear and he showed all the calmness in the world as he slotted past Sykes-Kenworthy.

It felt as is one goal would be enough but, instead, the Poppies allowed their visitors back into it just three minutes later.

Maroodza was allowed to run unchallenged across the edge of the penalty area and the ball was eventually slipped into substitute Adam Nowakowski who rolled the ball past Cameron Gregory in the Kettering goal.

The Poppies huffed and puffed after that and substitute Sam Bennett fired over at the near post but there was to be no dramatic winner.

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The first point is on the board but, in truth, once they got in front it really should have been all three as Kettering were given a harsh reminder that one mistake could cost you everything.

That lesson will need to be learned when AFC Telford United come to town on Tuesday night.

Kettering Town: Gregory; Bodnar, White, Gascoigne, Toseland, Sharpe; Reilly, Stohrer, Ward (sub Sault, 89 mins); Graham (sub Bennett, 81 mins), Oluwabori. Subs not used: Sheriff, Richard-Noel, Wright.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Sykes-Kenworthy; Odunston, Lund, Havern, Staunton, Richman; Spencer (sub Brooks, 67 mins), Fielding, Maroodza (sub Longbottom, 90 mins); Blyth (sub Nowakowski, 73 mins), Harper. Subs not used: Smith, Johnson.

Referee: Benjamin Tomlinson.

Goals: Oluwabori (78 mins, 1-0), Nowakowski (81 mins, 1-1).

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Bookings: Harper, Staunton, Stohrer, Toseland, Oluwabori (all fouls).

Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Andrew Oluwabori - the Peterborough United youngster was a real livewire for the Poppies and their biggest threat. He has pace to burn and produced a magical moment of skill and a cool finish to give them the lead.

Attendance: 557.