VERDICT: Poppies secure a well-deserved success
Kettering Town continued their good form under Paul Cox with a well-deserved 1-0 win over Farsley Celtic at Latimer Park.
The Poppies created the first few chances of the match as Ben Milnes and Gary Stohrer both fired wide while Daniel Nti had a shot blocked.
On the quarter-of-an-hour mark, Marcus Kelly played in Tre Mitford as Kettering broke away, and the forward forced a low save from Kyle Trenerry after cutting in on his right foot.
In response, Farsley’s Jack Higgins headed over from a deep free-kick, before Will Hayhurst played in a dangerous ball that was collected by Paul White following some miscommunication amongst the Poppies defence.
Kettering took the lead after 20 minutes, when a long throw by Connor Kennedy was cleared by Farsley captain Daniel Ellis, only managing to find Michael Richens - on as an early substitute for the injured Milnes - whose strike from 30 yards left Trenerry stranded, finding the bottom right.
Five minutes later, the away side won a penalty when Tyler Walton was fouled by goalscorer Richens, however Hayhurst was denied from 12 yards by White.
Moments later, the Poppies won a penalty of their own when Nti was brought down by Trenerry, but Brett Solkhon hit the post and Kennedy hit the side-netting with the rebound, meaning that in the last two matches involving Kettering, four penalties have been missed.
A few minutes into the second-half, Kelly had his shot blocked on the line, before the clearance hit Mitford, deflecting to Stohrer who hit the post from six yards, leaving the Kettering fans wondering how they hadn’t seen their team double their advantage.
After an hour, Nti was pulled back by a Farsley defender in the box, but referee Matt Corlett saw no infringement, booking the forward for a late challenge on Trenerry which saw the visiting goalkeeper stretchered off.
Ten minutes later, Kettering pressed forward, with Mitford being played in on goal by Kelly, but the former lifted the ball over the bar when one-on-one with substitute goalkeeper Elliot Wynne, before hitting the bar from the edge of the box soon after.
Farsley pushed for an equaliser, and had the ball in the back of the net through Nathan Cartman with ten minutes to go, however Higgins had shoved Luke Graham in the build-up, before Tom Allen’s free header from a free-kick went over the bar.
In injury-time, the Poppies withstood pressure from numerous Farsley attacks, the best chance coming when Jordan Richards found Syers, whose volley from just inside the box was well-held by White.
With moments remaining, Kettering counter-attacked, as substitute Aaron O’Connor kept the ball under pressure before Kelly was played in by Nti, firing straight at the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.
The Poppies managed to see-out the dying moments of the match, earning three points against play-off chasing Farsley, a week before travelling to Spennymoor Town who are also battling towards the top of the table.
Poppies: White; Graham, Solkhon, McGrath; Stohrer, Milnes (Sub Richens, 5 Mins), Kennedy, Kelly, Taylor; Nti, Mitford (Sub O’Connor, 86 Mins). Subs not used: Carta, Harding.
Farsley: Trenerry (Sub Wynne, 60 Mins); Richards, Higgins, Ellis, Allen; Walton, Atkinson, Syers, Hayhurst (Sub Clayton, 86 Mins), Spencer (Sub Atkinson, 71 Mins), Cartman. Subs not used: Parkin, Bett.
Goal: Richens (20 mins, 1-0).
Bookings: Kennedy, Richens, Nti, Hayhurst, Higgins (all Fouls), Stohrer (dissent), White (time-wasting).
Referee: Matt Corlett.
Man of the match: Gary Stohrer – A near ever-present in the Kettering line-up since joining at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, Stohrer is one of the most consistent performers in the squad. Having been utilised primarily as a wing-back in a 3-5-2 formation this season, his versatility is one of his best qualities, filling in defensively whilst running down the line and creating chances further forward. This was highlighted in the Poppies’ victory over Farsley, as Stohrer helped his team to a valuable clean sheet whilst being unlucky not to score, seeing his shot go wide early on and hitting the post in the second-half in a goalmouth scramble.