We gave it away, says Cox as Poppies face FA Cup replay

Kettering Town squandered a 2-0 lead as unbeaten Buxton fought back to force a fourth qualifying round replay with a last-gasp penalty

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 6:40 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th October 2021, 6:44 pm
Referee Dean Watson points to the spot to award Buxton their last-gasp penalty as Kettering Town conceded late on in the 2-2 draw at Latimer Park. Pictures by Peter Short

Paul Cox admitted Kettering Town “gave it away” after Buxton grabbed a last-gasp equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw at Latimer Park.

It means both teams will be in tomorrow’s draw for the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup but the Poppies will now have to come through a tough replay on Tuesday night to seal their spot.

It all looked to be going to plan when they led 2-0 at half-time in front of a crowd of 1,218.

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Paul Cox was far from impressed after he felt the Poppies 'gave it away'

They took the lead thanks to Alex Brown’s first goal for the club as he thundered home a left-footed strike after exchanging passes with Callum Powell.

And it was Powell who doubled the lead just before the break when he scored from close range with Isaac Stones’ mis-hit shot rolling towards the corner after excellent work from Claudio Ofosu.

The Poppies piled the pressure on in the early stages of the second half and Buxton goalkeeper Theo Richardson produce a brilliant save to deny Luke Ward.

And the visitors were given a way back into the game when Connor Barrett’s poor clearance was seized upon and the ball found its way to the dangerous Diego De Girolamo who rifled home.

Alex Brown heads off to celebrate after he put Kettering in front

Jackson Smith made fine saves to deny Jamie Ward and De Girolamo but, just when it seemed Kettering would see it out, disaster struck in the fourth of five minutes of injury-time.

A long ball forward wasn’t dealt with and in the scramble, the ball struck the hand of Chris Smith to give the visitors a penalty.

De Girolamo stepped up and scored low into the corner to send the visiting fans crazy and maintain their unbeaten record this season.

“We gave it away, that’s the only way you can say it,” Cox said.

Callum Powell savours the moment after he put the Poppies 2-0 up

“We were in the driving seat, probably too heavily at times but that’s when good teams go and put the game to bed. A third goal would have killed it.

“But we weren’t ruthless enough and then, if you don’t defend your box in the 94th minute, then you are not going to win a game.

“It was one straight ball. They went very direct. We didn’t win the first ball, we didn’t connect with the second ball and that has led to the penalty.

“Sometimes you have to take ownership. Once again, that’s probably the youthfulness in us and missing someone like Kyle Perry who, when he has been in the side, has calmed us down and given us that bit of experience.

“There were good parts of the game for us but I just felt we weren’t as dynamic as I expect us to be. I wanted more from us going forward.

“I thought we looked nervous with the ball in the first half, passes were going astray.

“I said to the boys afterwards, I just hope we can’t be as disjointed as we were at times.

“That’s the FA Cup, one minute you think you’re sailing and the next it comes and bites you.

“So we have to go and do it on Tuesday, it’s as simple as that.

“It’s such a weird competition because it feels like it has been taken off you but sometimes you have to go and do it in an extra game.

“We are in the draw, like we asked, but when you’re 2-1 up with 90 seconds to go you expect to go and know who you are playing.

“But it’s another game on Tuesday and we have to go and do it.”

The draw for the first round will be made live on ITV at lunchtime tomorrow (Sunday) but Cox admitted he probably won’t watch it.

“I want to win on Tuesday, I probably won’t watch the draw if I am honest because my mind will be focused on Tuesday,” he added.

“If we win on Tuesday then we can sit down and look at what we have got.

“But to win on Tuesday, we have to earn the right and we probably have to do that more than we did today.

“It’s not what we wanted but we have to dust ourselves down and go again.”