Match Report: Poppies 3 – 1 Royston Town

Kettering Town v Royston Town

Pitching in Southern League Premier Division Central 

Saturday 4th November 2023   3:00pm

Kettering Town  Royston Town
1 Billy Johnson   1 Louis Chadwick
2 Owen Cochrane   2 Harvey Beckett        
6 Lewis White                3 James Brighton
5 Kelvin Langmead                4 Josh Coldicott-Stevens  
3 Ben Toseland   5 Adam Murray   (Capt)             
11 Rhys Sharpe   6 Ronnie Henry Off 89
18 Tom Scott Off 89 7 Greg Sandiford  
8 Gary Stohrer  (Capt) 8 Samson Esan          
20 Will Mellors-Blair   Off 69 9 Florian Tsaguim  Off 62
10 Sam Bennett    10 Fabio Virciglio Off 74
9 Tyrone Lewthwaite   11 Joe Boachie                  
  Substitutes     Substitutes
4 Harry Reilly  On 69 12 Mason Cook        
13 Niall Shackleton   14 Cain Keller On 62
15 Huw Dawson 15 Tom Newman On 74
16 Luca Purse  On 89 16 Dequanne Wilson-Braithwaite On 89
  17 Lewis Endacott  


Referee: Gareth Davis       Assistants: Jamie Stevenson and David Jarrett


With the amount of rain that has fallen on Burton Latimer this week that this game went on at all is a demonstration of all the good work that has gone into the pitch. Heavy on Tuesday night the pitch had been subject of heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Fortunately, Friday was dry but Saturday morning was wet raining until just before kick-off. The pitch held up well and after application of sand was deemed playable by the referee. It was in the financial interests of both teams for the game to go ahead to save Royston having to travel back in mid-week and Kettering some welcome income after a dearth of home games. In previous seasons this game would have been postponed.  

Kettering still without a home league win this season would need to improve defensively after Telford sliced through it with easy on Tuesday. Andy Leese’s team looked to be short of numbers naming only three outfield players on the bench. Dan Jarvis suffering from a hamstring injury was understandable but also missing from the squad was Leon Clarke. After experimenting with a back four the team reverted to a trio of centre backs with Ben Toseland returning to the starting XI. To accommodate this Harry Reilly dropped to the bench. Up front Will Mellors-Blair replaced Clarke as he did for the final ten minutes of the Telford game. The front two Sam Bennett and Ty Lewthwaite would have to perform as there was no recognised forward on the bench. Royston had one familiar face in their line-up James Brighton who always performed well in Kettering’s colours. Royston arrived in poor form having lost their previous four games, Kettering would be looking to extend that sequence.

For a November afternoon it wasn’t too chilly with the pitch looking very wet with sand being spread on puddles right up until kick-off. There was no wind to speak of. Before kick-off there was a service of remembrance for those who gave their lives for this country.

Royston in purple shirts and shorts with day-glow green socks kicked-off attacking the Tin Hat end. The kick-off was sent back to the visiting keeper who launched the ball downfield. Johnson came out of his penalty area to field the ball which was a couple of yards short of the by-line and a yard inside the touchline. Under pressure from an onrushing forward Billy managed to clear the ball but was caught by the forward who was unable to arrest his forward motion for a free-kick inside the first minute. Johnson was slow to get to his feet a concerning event so early in the game. The opening minutes of the game was fairly scrappy as the teams acquainting themselves to the playing conditions. 

The first real chance of the game fell to Kettering after five minutes. A Rhys Sharpe long throw from the open side saw a Royston head get to the ball but sent it behind him and towards the far post where Toseland was stretching but unable to make the contact to stab it home into an open goal. The rain recommenced as the ball the ball was played forward for Lewthwaite to run onto. Ty’s run was impeded by the defender clearly pulling his shirt but the referee played advantage as Kettering surged forward to be rewarded by a corner the first of the game. The corner failed to clear the first man and was easily dealt with. 

Royston won their first corner after ten minutes but it was another poor delivery and Tom Scott the first man heads the ball clear. Kettering were passing the ball well seemingly unaffected by the incessant rain. Five minutes later they won their second corner this time to be taken by Brighton on the stand side. It was a well placed set-piece foiled by a good clearing punch by Johnson.

Kettering responded with a good passing movement involving the entire Kettering midfield working the ball out to Cochrane who played a great 1-2 with Mellors-Blair before delivering a dangerous low ball into the goalmouth where Chadwick had to be alert to collect the ball just in front of Lewthwaite ready to pounce. 

With twenty minutes left in the half Royston had their best spell of the game. A ball into the box by Coldicott-Stevens was headed back across the goal by Murray but went out for a goal-kick. Five minutes later Royston broke forward working the ball to Tsaguim who sent his shot well over the bar. Royston were doing some nice approach work but they were let down by the final ball not being on target.

With half-time rapidly approaching Stohrer picked the ball up in the middle of the park. He carried the ball forward and with no options available continue dribbling the ball forward. Taking it past a couple of purple shirts he carried on surging forward. With Gary rapidly running out of space he sent a powerful shot goalwards but Chadwick had positioned himself well and took the ball with confidence.

 In an added minute Royston had a chance when Boachie advanced down the wing but his cross to Murray, who looked suspiciously off-side, put his header wide with the target begging. 


  Half Time: Kettering Town 0  Royston Town 0


During half-time the rain thankfully stopped as if it had continued the completion of the game could have been in doubt. Inside the first minute of the second half Royston won a corner. A good delivery by Coldicott-Stevens was nullified by a handball by Murray. Royston had started the second half on the front foot and a cross from Tsaguim picked out Murray and it required a good save by Johnson at his near post with a point blank range stop to keep the ball out.

Five minutes into the half Lewthwaite finally got a descision going his way winning a free kick some thirty yards out in a central position. Sharpe took the free kick which bounced just before it reached the keeper but Chadwick kept his eyes on it all the way to his gloves and palmed it firmly away for a good save. 

Five minutes later Kettering got a wake up call as to how dangerous Royston could be as Samson Esan had a good shot from distance which required an equally good save by Johnson who good only parry the ball which fell to the quick reacting Boachie who stuck the ball in the net but any celebration was equally quickly quashed by a raised flag by the assistant referee indicating an off-side to Kettering’s relief. Johnson’s free kick was poor and Royston sent the ball straight back with a shot from the edge of the area which defelected of Langmead for a corner. From the set piece Henry’s header was caught on the goal-line by Johnson. Johnson Quickly released the ball allowing Mellors-Blair to break forward but Beckett almost pulling the shirt stopped him and was fortunate not to be cautioned. The free-kick from Sharpe was lifted towards the far post where Lewthwaite was waiting. Ty headed the ball square at shoulder height where it was blocked by the raised arm of Hughes. Mr Davis considered the arm to be in an unnatural position and pointed to the spot. Will Mellors-Blair, who on the previous day had celebrated his thirty-first birthday, stepped up to take the kick and hit the kick with power and confidence putting the ball beyond the diving keeper right in the corner to give a present to the Poppies fans behind the goal with his second goal for the club. 1-0 Kettering  57 mins.

 The moment was slightly marred by Lewthwaite picking up a caution for kicking the ball away in celebration. The happy mood was soured even more three minutes later when Royston pulled level. The visitors were awarded a free- kick just inside the Kettering half when Scott was adjudged to have fouled a played who was already on the way to the floor after slipping. Poppy old boy Brighton delivered a perfect in-swinging set piece aimed towards the back post where it was met by the head of Hughes who sent the ball down towards the base of the opposite post. Joe Boachie made sure the ball had crossed the line and him and Hughes would have to decide who got the credit. 1-1 Royston  59 mins. 

Shortly after Royston made their first substitution as Cain Keller replaced Florian Tsaguim. Almost straight after Johnson had to be on his toes to deny a goal bound header from Hughes. From the resulting corner Johnson got a good fist on the ball to clear it from the danger area. Kettering played the ball forward where Lewthwaite took possession and drove deep into the Royston half but support was slow in arriving and Ty with two defenders on him did well to win a corner out of the attack which came to nothing. Royston were still in the ascendancy and Boachie had another chance as his shot from distance flew narrowly over the bar. The very next attack a off the ball block on White allowed the visitors to penetrate Kettering’s back line but a promising attack was finished of with a poor shot from Coldicott-Stevens which was high and wide.

With just over twenty minutes to go Kettering made the first substitution of the match with Harry Reilly replacing Will Mellors-Blair. Tom Scott moved forward into WMB’s spot and White moved into midfield with Reilly slotting into the back three. Harry’s first action was in the Kettering penalty area as he and Hughes came together with the forward taking a trip to the floor appealing for a penalty but Mr Davis saw it differently and waved play on. Kettering played to whistle and broke forward but the move was halted by a foul by Virciglio for which he received a yellow card. A couple of minutes later Fabio Virciglio was replaced by Tom Newman.

With just under fifteen minutes to go Royston broke through Boachie who played the ball into the substitute Newman who just as he was about to pull the trigger was tackled by a defender and the ball went out for a corner. Coldicott-Stevens corner was cleared off the line by Cochrane as Royston looked the most likely team to take the win. Royston won another corner a couple of minutes later when a Boachie shot took a touch either from Langmead or Johnson to go over. Another good punch from Johnson cleared the corner but Brighton sent the ball back into the middle where Boachie performed a bicycle a kick with again another good save from Johnson but it mattered not as the assistant referee had his flag raised for off-side. 

With less than ten minutes to go a rare Kettering attack was built from the back. The ball arrived at Bennett who fed the ball right into the path of Cochrane who was racing down the wing on the overlap. With Lewthwaite on the far side of the goal Owen struck a powerful low and hard cross in line with the six yard box. Uncertain about who was behind him Harvey Beckett tried to cut it out and put it out for a corner but such was the pace of the ball that the defender merely ended up steering the ball past Chadwick. 2-1 Kettering  82 mins.

Royston had the chance to repeat an immediate reply when Kettering conceded a free-kick. Once again it was lifted towards the back post by Brighton. An unmarked Henry was on the receiving end but with the goal beckoning he lifted his shot from a tight angle over the bar. 

With under five minutes to go Gary Stohrer was fouled in midfield for a free-kick. As Lee Wright was announcing Ty Lewthwaite as man of the match Billy Johnson lifted the ball high into the Royston penalty area. Chadwick jumped high to collect the ball but with possibly one eye on the approaching Lewthwaite muffed the catch and the ball fell close to Ty. The keeper got a single hand onto the top of the ball but Lewthwaite kicked the ball away. He still had work to do as the ball had gone wide and he needed to give a second touch. By this time a defender had got back to the goal line perfectly positioned to block a shot but Ty showed presence of mind and rather than just powering in a shot lifted the ball over the defenders leg to score. 3-1 Kettering  86 mins.

With little time remaining two further substitutions were made. Luca Purse replaced Tom Scott and Dequanne Wilson-Braithwaite for Ronnie Henry. In the five minutes of injury time Royston had the final chance for a consolation goal when on clipping the ball past a defender Boachie collided with the defender and went to the floor but no penalty was given.  

 Full Time: Kettering Town 3  Royston Town 1

An important and very welcome home win for the Poppies. For long periods of the game Royston had the upper hand. Having lost their previous four matches and despite creating numerous chances their inability to convert those opportunities by being more clinical in their finishing is a reason for their poor form. This coupled with a good performance from Billy Johnson meant that they left Latimer Park pointless. With this being Lewis White’s last game before his four match suspension, reinforcements will be required to be able to populate the substitutes bench. With Luca Miller, Harry Moors on loan and Tai Williams, Charley Barker and Kai O’Keefe on dual registration, one or more of these players could be called upon.

Kettering Town yellow cards: Lewthwaite – kicking ball away   

Royston Town yellow cards:  Virciglio – foul,   

Attendance: 555

Elgood’s Brewery Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match –  Ty Lewthwaite – Ty has been a revelation this season. This season he has scored eight goals in the league and two in the cup competitions and been by far the point of Kettering’s strike force. Not all of his goals have been spectacular but he has been in the right place at the right time to apply the finishing touch. He is still only a young man but shows determination and the willingness to give his all attributes that are appreciated by the Poppies faithful. Against Royston he won numerous balls played forward in the air nodding the ball on into space where a supporting player should be.