|Date||Saturday 25 October 2014|
|Match||Royston Town v Kettering Town|
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Division One Central|
A bumper crowd of 446 saw this close encounter of the promotion chasing kind played in competitive style at Garden Walk. Early league leaders Kettering Town knew this was an important game in their own season’s progress and emerged victors with the all-important three points.
Steve Castle is still partly stymied with injuries and unavailability, but looked to youth at the back, mixed with experience and proven ability in midfield and attack and was forced into giving a debut to another goalkeeper in this important match.
The game saw the Crows slow out of the blocks with Castle urging his troops to “get it going” and we saw unusual longer balls forward, mainly played via goalkeeper Ron Yates to the chasing front line. A committed and staccato first period passed by and we saw the home side settle a bit and on 30 minutes Royston had a great chance to go one up when a particularly poor goal kick from Poppies’ stopper Jamie McAlindon was controlled well by Ryan Ingrey and his immediate direct central run on goal just needed a finish but he dithered a split second too long and a lunging last ditch tackle took the ball away from him and this gilt edged chance was gone.
Kettering punished this missed chance clinically as four minutes later a slight defensive lapse saw Elliot Sandy attempt a side scissors kick that Yates got something on but couldn’t stop it finding the net to take a one goal lead into half time.
No immediate changes seen at half time and to the home team’s credit four minutes in the scores were level as Kaan Fehmi delivered a perfectly flighted free kick for the rarely out-jumped Gary Hart to leap brilliantly and head home a looping finish much to the delight of the home team faithful.
Reece Dobson replaced Robbie Nightingale soon after this goal and was immediately involved with some good chest control but his resultant volley was blasted well over. Both Stuart and Scott Bridges were working hard in the midfield engine room and their unglamourous top end work rate cannot be under-stated.
Craig Hammond replaced Ryan Ingrey, but it was Kettering substitute Dubi Ogbonna who had an immediate impact when on 75 minutes he got what proved to be the winning strike – picking the ball up outside the left of the Royston box and driving on past defenders putting a low competent finish past the diving Yates.
Castle tried re-jigging the formation by replacing full back Kane Adams with Spyros Mentis and pushing Jack Bradshaw up but the Crows were labouring to forge any real clear cut chances until the 84th minute when Hart set up Hammond who did everything right to put in an on target effort but was thwarted by a superb flying tip round save from McAlindon.
A couple of last minute, goalkeeper up, dead ball chances for the Crows to salvage a point came and went and the Poppies saw out the final minutes to take the valuable win.
Team: Yates, Bradshaw, Adams (Mentis), Powell, Wharton, Bridges Scott, Bridges Stuart, Hart, Fehmi, Ingrey (Hammond), Nightingale (Dobson).
Subs not used – Collins, Endacott.