BRACKLEY TOWN 1-0 KETTERING TOWN
League leaders Brackley did what they are best at tonight at home at St James Park. They netted in the 40th minute through leading scorer Lee Ndlovu and shut up shop for the rest of the game very capably. Kettering’s best chance fell to teenage striker Isaac Stones, six minutes before Ndlovu’s decider, but he could not force the ball in from a few yards out.
THE KETTERING SQUAD:
With Harrison Neal’s loan spell ended, and injuries and Covid ruling out Jordan Crawford,Rhys Sharpe,and Connor Barrett and no sign of Claudio Ofosu, Ed Cook appeared on a four man substitutes bench as Grantham had no game. He was alongside Decarrey Sheriff, Saul Milovanovic and keeper, Rhys Davies. Luke Ward, Isaac Stones and Riccardo Calder, who was back after a long injury lay off, were brought into the starting eleven. To be fair, Brackley had their own similar concerns and could only name three substitutes, including keeper, Alistair Worby – albeit they still fielded a very strong starting eleven,
The teams lined up:
1 Danny Lewis
2 Ellis Myles
3 Wes York
4 Shepherd Murombedzi
5 Glenn Walker
6 Gareth Dean (Captain)
7 Matt Lowe
8 James Armson
9 Lee Ndlovu
10 Tre Mitford (14 Fabio Lopes,70)
11 Twarig Yusuf (12 Jeff Putz, 90+3)
13 Ali Worby (G/K)
Yellow Cards: Murombedzi, 76;Yusuf,90+1
1 Jackson Smith
2 Luke Ward (14 Saul Milovanovic,62)
3 Alex Brown
4 George Cooper
5 Connor Johnson
6 Chris Smith
7 Callum Powell
8 Connor Kennedy (Captain)
9 Isaac Stones (12 Decarrey Sheriff,46)
10 Gary Stohrer
11 Riccardo Calder
13 Rhys Davies (G/K)
15 Ed Cook
Yellow card: Stohrer 90+1
On a wet surface, Kettering started with George Cooper in midfield as Luke Ward came into defence. Alex Brown was forced to play at right wingback
Kettering keeper, Jackson Smith was called into action in the second minute with a comfortable save from Matt Lowe’s drive. This signalled a bright start for the hosts as they forced three corners in the early stages – all dealt with by the visiting defence.
Ex Poppy, Tre Mitford created space for a shot on 12 minutes but great defending prevented any danger. Kettering, on the other hand, had started slowly and it wasn’t until the 18th minute that home keeper, Danny Lewis was called into action as he cut out a cross from Riccardo Calder.
Calder repeated the effort on 24 minutes as his cross found Connor Johnson, and, in space, with a great chance, he headed straight at Lewis. The game really was messy and stop-start with no real rhythm and neither side was now dominating.
In the 33rd minute Shep Murombedzi had a shooting chance for Brackley but skewed his shot wide after a corner. In the next minute, Kettering had another great chance. Callum Powell collected the ball and drifted inside from the right to shoot low with his left foot. Lewis dived low to his right and could only parry the ball to Isaac Stones a few yards out. Stones’ task looked easy to score but somehow Lewis dived across to save, at the expense of a corner. From the corner, Connor Kennedy hooked a left foot shot over the bar.
The Stones miss proved costly as on 40 minutes Brackley scored. Matt Lowe got in a low cross from the right, which was met by leading scorer, Lee Ndlovu. His first shot was well blocked out – but the rebound fell nicely for him to sweep past Jackson Smith’s dive and right hand.
Just before the break, Powell saw his shot saved, and, at the other end Jimmy Armson’s left foot effort drifted well wide.
BRACKLEY TOWN 1 - 0 KETTERING TOWN
Kettering made an immediate substitution at the start of the half, with Decarrey Sheriff replacing Isaac Stones.
Brackley seemed content to contain their visitors and rely on the break, with always emphasis on solid defending- and the game went pretty quiet. Alex Brown was trying hard to get things going, and he forced the ball through to Gary Stohrer who may have done better with his shot which drifted well wide.
Brown then forced his way through for a shot of his own which was wide of the target. Brackley were very comfortable in defence and the Poppies were struggling to create anything of real significance in front of goal.
For Brackley, Lowe came in from the right, but his left foot shot was off target. Kettering forced a couple of fruitless corners and on 57 minutes Brackley’s Mitford received the ball in space, on the break, and Alex Brown got in an exceptional block on the goalbound shot.
With Mitford substituted on 70 minutes, the Saints were clearly indicating concentrating even more on solid defending and it worked. Kettering had a good shout for a penalty for a foul on Chris Smith and a lesser shout for a spot kick as Powell ‘lost his legs’ as he burst through down the left.
Chris Smith also had a decent chance to head in but found Lewis, and Brackley had a couple of quick breaks which threatened more than they delivered.
Brackley were able to manage the game out as Kettering ran out of ideas and with Calder clearly not fully fit and running out of steam after 65 minutes, Gary Stohrer was more withdrawn, which didn’t help the visitors’ cause.
BRACKLEY TOWN 1 - 0 KETTERING TOWN
Match Officials: Referee:Oliver Mackey ; Assistants: Andrew Hitchens,Jorden Gibson
Attendance: 555 (Poppies fans estimated at 150 )
Poppies Media Man of the Match: Gary Stohrer
Forthcoming HOME games:
Saturday January 15th: Curzon Ashton at 3pm
Tuesday January 25th: Kidderminster Harriers at 7.45pm
Tuesday February 1st: Southport at 7.45pm
Forthcoming away games:
Saturday January 22nd at Bradford Park Avenue at 3pm
Saturday January 29th at Darlington at 3pm
Match report posted by Sadman KTFC.