VERDICT: Poppies' fine form continues as York are held

Paul Cox’s Kettering Town gained a well-deserved point in an absorbing 0-0 draw with second-placed York City in the Vanarama National League North.

By James Wiles
Saturday, 7th December 2019, 7:18 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th December 2019, 7:23 pm
York clear their lines after goalkeeper Peter Jameson had denied Aaron O'Connor in the goalless draw at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short
York clear their lines after goalkeeper Peter Jameson had denied Aaron O'Connor in the goalless draw at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short

The Poppies started brightly as Aaron O’Connor kept the ball while on the floor and made a yard of space in the box before his shot from six yards was deflected behind for a corner.

The Minstermen responded when Paddy McLaughlin’s cross was parried out by Paul White, before Alex Kempster’s volley from the edge of the box was tipped over by the Kettering goalkeeper.

On the half-an-hour mark, the home side pressed forward, with Gary Stohrer’s floated cross being flicked towards goal by Connor Kennedy, however his header from six yards was well-saved by Peter Jameson.

Paul White tips Alex Kempster's first-half effort over the bar

O’Connor then forced a save of the season contender from Jameson with a diving header from six yards after Daniel Nti’s whipped cross, before the ball was scrambled off York’s goal line.

The away side counter-attacked and Joe Tait fired over from just inside the box after the Poppies failed to clear a corner.

On the stroke of half time, O’Connor missed a golden opportunity, blasting over from the penalty spot after rounding Jameson.

The first chance of the second half fell to the Minstermen, as Sean Newton’s free-kick was parried by the diving White, before Kempster hooked over from 12 yards.

Connor Kennedy drives forward during another man-of-the-match display for the Poppies

After an hour, Elliott Durrell drove through the Kettering defence but a superb sliding challenge from Michael McGrath prevented the forward from getting a shot on goal.

Moments later, Kennedy’s long throw caused problems for the away defence but Brett Solkhon only managed to head over from the back of the box.

The home team continued to push forward and Lindon Meikle played a fantastic diagonal ball to Nti but nobody could apply a finish to the forward’s drive across goal.

With 10 minutes to go, Kettering captain Luke Graham missed a great chance, half-volleying wide from inside the box after a deep Gary Stohrer free-kick.

The final whistle meant that Paul Cox maintained his unbeaten start as Poppies manager, however the former defender will rue his side’s missed chances that should have won them three points.

Kettering can now look forward to travelling to FC United of Manchester in the first round of the FA Trophy next weekend.

Poppies: White; Solkhon, Graham, McGrath; Stohrer, Kennedy, Meikle, Richens, Taylor; Nti, A O’Connor. Subs not used: Kelly, Carta, Mitford, Sebbeh, J O’Connor.

York: Jameson; Tait (sub Spratt, 77 mins), McNulty, Newton; Griffiths, Moke (sub Green, 71 mins), McLaughlin, Ferguson; Kempster, Durrell, Burrow. Subs not used: Bond, Langstaff, Whitley.

Bookings: Griffiths, McLaughlin, McGrath (all fouls).

Referee: Dean Watson.

Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Connor Kennedy – Since his arrival from local rivals Corby Town in the summer, Connor Kennedy has been one of the first names on the Poppies team-sheet each week. A solid team performance was epitomised by a solid individual display from Kennedy, who worked tirelessly in defence and attack. His long-throws caused problems for the York defence all afternoon, and he was regularly involved in Kettering attacks. It was a hard-working effort from the young midfielder.

Attendance: 859.