Match Report, Stats & Photos Stratford Town 1 Kettering Town 3
By Mark Bickley
Town unable to stop leaders Kettering making in 6 out of 6.
Match Report Kevin Hand, Match Stats Rob Abrahams, Photographs by Granty
Evo-Stik Premier Division Central League at the Arden Garages Stadium.
* Though it be honest………..
Stratford 1 Kettering 3 (1-2) HT
In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 396 Town were yet again on the wrong end of the score line in a high quality encounter. Town slip to 18th in the league just 2 places of the relegation zone while Kettering stride on at the top clear of the rest.
The opening exchanges were even with Taylor lively up front and Ahenkorah linking the play together well. The first moment of quality came in the 16th minute when the influential Andrea Borg set up Ben Milnes to fire home in style from 25 yards to give Kettering the lead. Within 2 minutes Town were level when Taylor outpaced the Poppies’ defence and the impetuous Paul White in the Kettering goal was left stranded for the Stratford striker to roll in the equalizer into an unguarded net.
Stratford, through Shariff and Carvalho, grew in confidence and was more than a match for the league leaders. The stylish Rhys Hoeness was well marshaled by McAteer and Skendi but on then on 39 minutes he eluded them, only for Nathan Vaughan to make a brilliant save from 6 yards, from a Ben Milnes’ tantalizing cross.
With the half drawing to a close the game swung back to Kettering when on 45 minutes defender Gary Stohrer nipped through the ‘sleep-walking’ Town defence and his low shot to Vaughan’s left crept into the bottom of the net. Was the keeper ‘unsighted’ or injured for it seemed a soft goal? The answer came early in the second half when Vaughan was withdrawn nursing a thigh strain. He was replaced by James Behan.
Kettering had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half playing with verve and no little skill. The game appeared ‘wrapped-up’ when on 54 minutes Dion Kelly-Evans made it 3-1 to the Poppies with a fabulous strike.
Taylor and Ahenkorah gave way for debutants Kevin Monteiro and Walsall youngster Cody Fisher and Town was once more competitive. The sending off of Dion Kelly-Evans on 68 minutes for a late challenge on Will Grocott re-energised the game and with Albi Skandi pushed forward Town looked threatening. Kettering quickly re-organised and although hard pressed saw the game out successfully ensuring a happy trip back home on the A14.
After the game manager Darren Byfield remained upbeat and emphasized how Town’s next two home games were critical in getting back on track. He’s looking to a successful cup run starting with Alvechurch next Saturday and a victory in the league over Bedworth the following Saturday. Of the defence today he was critical of their inability to close down and block at vital moments in the game.
Man of the match: Jamie McAteer
* Though it be honest, it is never good to bring bad news. Antony and Cleopatra Act 2 Scene 5
Saturday 08 September 3.00pm Alvechurch (H) 1st Qualifying Round FA Cup
Saturday 15 September 3.00pm Bedworth (H) – Evo-Stik Premier Division