VERDICT: Home comforts for Poppies again as they see off Hereford
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It’s now five matches without defeat on home soil for Lee Glover’s Poppies – four of those being wins – with 17 of their 19 points so far being claimed in front of their own fans.
And while there were understandable smiles on faces as the final whistle sounded, there was also immediate confusion as to why the home form is so good yet the away form is so bad.
Two points from a possible 27 on the road, 17 from a possible 27 at home. Answers on a postcard please!
That remains a puzzle for Glover and his players to solve but this was another composed and, to be honest, decent display on their own turf.
Hereford have very much been a bogey side in recent years but that was put to bed on a big night for captain Gary Stohrer who ended a remarkable 101-game run without a goal by opening the scoring to cap a typically all-action display.
And, in Tyrone Lewthwaite who scored the superb second, the Poppies seemingly have a young striker with raw potential who will surely only get even better as time passes by.
Throw in the composure and experience of recent arrivals Ellis Myles and Stephan Morley and Kettering might just be on to something. Indeed, there can surely be no reason why they can’t change those fortunes on the road sooner rather than later.
Hereford came into the game on the back of a big night in front of the television cameras last week as their FA Cup run was ended by League One giants Portsmouth.
And they started the better with Tyrone Barnett having a headed deflected over the bar early on.
But the Poppies gradually got into their stride and both Keaton Ward, playing further forward alongside Lewthwaite, and Ethan Hill had shots blocked before Ward curled another effort just over after a neat passing move.
However, Kettering did go in front just past the half-hour. And, in truth, it was a bit of a gift as former Poppies defender Orrin Pendley’s mistake presented Stohrer with the opportunity and he duly seized it by beating Dale Eve with a low shot into the far corner.
Morley produced a good block to deny Jared Hodgkiss before half-time but the Poppies gave themselves a cushion seven minutes after the restart.
Lewthwaite produced a blistering turn of pace down the left to nick the ball past the last defender and then he was the calmest man in the building as he advanced into the area and beat Eve with a low finish.
Hereford rolled the dice and threw men forward and Kettering did have to weather a bit of storm.
Myles produced a heroic block to prevent Jack Evans from pulling a goal back while goalkeeper Harrison Foulkes made a couple of excellent saves to keep out efforts from Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Mark Derricott.
Ward and Ethan Hill both saw shots saved by Eve at the other end as the Poppies hunted a third but they continued to defend their goal well as they saw things out for another home success.
This was yet another sign that this Kettering side does have the potential to move away from the wrong end of the table.
But, at the moment, that all hinges on them sorting that away form out.
The next chance to do that is at Chorley on Saturday. What happens next is, quite frankly, anyone’s guess…
Kettering: Foulkes; Myles, Cooper, Gascoigne, Morley, Sharpe; Hill, Agustien, Stohrer; Ward, Lewthewaite (sub Sheriff, 69 mins). Subs not used: Gregory, Toseland, Bennett, Graham.
Hereford: Eve; Hodgkiss, Pendley (sub Thompson, h-t), Amadi-Holloway (sub Caton, 89 mins), Evans; Hanson, Haines; Holmes (sub Derricott, 66 mins), Storey, Pinchard; Barnett. Subs not used: Thompson-Sommers, Campbell.
Referee: Reubyn Ricardo.
Goals: Stohrer (31 mins, 1-0), Lewthwaite (52 mins, 2-0).
Bookings: Ward, Haines, Hill (all fouls).
Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Gary Stohrer – there were some good contenders but this was a captain’s innings from Stohrer. Oh and ending a 101-match wait for a goal helped his cause!