KETTERING TOWN FC   Saturday 28th September 2013   NORTHWOOD FC

Calor Southern League Central Division

  Kettering Town 3  Northwood 0  

Wilson 40, Wall 69
Hamilton 82

Team line-up  

  Team line-up
1 Charles Horton     1 Jake Knight
2 Chimdi Akubuine     2 Danny McDonnell (69m)
3 Steve Kinniburgh (53m)     3 Ryan Phillips
4 Chris Logan     4 James Burgess
5 Henry Eze     5 Ramil Sheriff
6 Brad Piercewright     6 Craig White
7 Jonathan Thorpe (71m)     7 Mark Burgess (59m)
8 Andy Gooding     8 Jon-Jo Bates (67m)
9 Jake Newman     9 Aaron McLeish
10 Lewis Wilson (80m)     10 Reece Grant
11 Ashley Fuller     11 Joakim Ehui
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Rob Foster     12 George Nicholas (59m)
14 James Tricks     14 Niko Muir (67m)
15 Will Muzvimbiri (80m)     15 Sonny Bailey-Aird (69m)
16 Stuart Wall (53m)     16 Dave Lawrence
17 Louis Hamilton (71m)     17 Oliver Sprague
      Referee: Paul Evans; Assistants: Vincenzo Byatt & Paul McVey      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  


Five defeats in six games for the Woods has seen them exit the FA Cup as well as plummet in the league table, and there were few signs of recovery in this poor showing in front of a big crowd at Kettering Town.

Jake Knight returned in goal after Sean Thomas was recalled by Hendon and with Steve Brown unavailable, young Ramil Sheriff moved into central defence with Danny McDonnell returning to the right-back spot.
While Knight made a string of fine saves throughout the game, the defence, with manager Mark Burgess patrolling the area in front of them, never looked comfortable at any stage.

Kettering, a Conference side only a couple of years ago but demoted following financial meltdown and still threatened by a winding-up order that has been appealed, made a slow start to life at the lower level. But they are starting to pick up points now and this comfortable victory took them above the Woods who have struggled to score goals all season.

The home side’s pace caused Northwood problems from the start with Jake Newman inches from getting a vital touch to a shot from Ashley Fuller following good work by Lewis Wilson after just four minutes. Three minutes later Daniel Akubuine got forward quickly to roll Fuller in and his cross saw Andy Gooding touch the ball wide at the far post.

It wasn’t all going the way of the Poppies at that stage and a minute later Aaron McLeish held the ball up well to slip in Reece Grant and he struck a good shot that forced the first save of the game out of young goalkeeper Charles Horton, on-loan from Peterborough.

After 13 minutes the lively Grant showed good skills to turn and shoot for goal and defender Brad Piercewright will have been relieved that his block went the right side of the post for a corner. The home side threatened again, this time from set-pieces, with Chris Logan heading wide after getting on the end of a deep free-kick and then Sheriff had to clear off the line after Jonathan Thorpe got his head on another long cross into the box.

James Burgess was next to clear a dangerous ball when Steve Kinniburgh got forward down the left and went for goal before a couple of corners caused further problems. Knight punched one out as far as Jon-Jo Bates but he promptly lost possession and Gooding’s shot was blocked for another corner. From that, Henry Eze came in at the far post but headed wide of the target. The pressure on the defence continued, with Thorpe missing the target and then Newman getting the better of Sheriff to race into the box with just Knight to beat. But he delayed his shot too long and Sheriff recovered to make a crucial tackle.

Despite all the pressure, the Woods could have taken the lead after 28 minutes when McLeish showed good strength to win a tackle and raced into the box. He squared to the supporting Grant but the ball bobbled as it came to him and he sliced his effort wide. On-loan teenager Grant remained as the main threat from Northwood and on 30 minutes he combined with McDonnell but shot straight at Horton and then a minute later Bates, who was subdued throughout, found space for a shot but the ball trickled through to the keeper. He was unluckier two minutes later when McLeish cut a ball back to the edge of the area and he was obstructed by Grant as he shaped to shoot and ballooned it well over.

If the Woods had held on to half-time, they may have been able to build on their brief resurgence but after 40 minutes Fuller fed Wilson, and his jinking run left both James and Mark Burgess tackling thin air as he made his way into the box to slot past Knight and put the Poppies in front. Northwood had one opportunity to level just before the break as a long kick from Knight saw McLeish put daylight between him and his marker but it needed a first time strike or more control and there was neither as Piercewright got back to touch the ball away.

While there was some hope of a result in the first half, Northwood’s performance after the break went further downhill, and Kettering were able to dominate pretty much throughout. A foul by Sheriff on Thorpe allowed Fuller a clean strike on goal from the free-kick but Knight tipped the ball over the top and from the corner the Woods keeper spilled the ball but it was scrambled away to safety. After 52 minutes, Eze went on a storming run through the middle but then shot miles wide before a deep cross saw a diving header from Thorpe that Knight did keep out, diving at full stretch to push the ball round the post.

Five minutes later a rare Northwood attack and cross from McDonnell saw home defender Akubuine beat Grant to the ball but also head only just wide of his own post. Little was going Northwood’s way and this was another example as the Referee gave a goal-kick. Knight was forced into action again soon after, pushing away a good strike from the busy Gooding but Wilson should have scored from the loose ball, reaching it first but his strike rose over the bar. The two wide players combined on the hour when Fuller got on the end of a Thorpe cross but his finish lacked composure.

George Nicholas, Niko Muir and Sonny Bailey-Aird were introduced for manager Burgess, Bates and the injured McDonnell, but things only got worse. Sheriff picked up the only booking of the game for probably the most innocuous of his tackles and after 70 minutes Kettering were awarded a second goal by the officials. A corner led to a scramble in the box and after Ryan Phillips had cleared substitute Stuart Wall’s poke off the line, the assistant referee, joined in with the hopeful and ebullient crowd, to give the goal. It looked unlikely.

If heads were down before the goal, they dropped to their chests after this and the home side looked for more goals. Fuller raced in from the left and rolled a shot past Knight that came back off the far post and was scrambled to safety. Then another substitute, Louis Hamilton left Sheriff flat-footed to race through on goal and toe-poke a shot past Knight that went in off the post for a third.

Bailey-Aird did get his head to a Phillips cross soon after this but flicked the ball wide of the post and Horton had no problems keeping a clean sheet while Hamilton was denied by another late save from Knight.

The Woods now have a week to prepare for their vital FA Trophy clash with neighbours AFC Hayes, the only side that they have beaten over the last month and the Brook will be looking for some revenge. Then follow two league games against sides amongst the four currently below Northwood in the table. Improvement in all areas must be essential.