Match Report: The Poppies 1 – 3 AFC Telford United

Kettering Town v AFC Telford United

Pitching in Southern League Premier Division Central 

Tuesday 31st October 2023   7:45pm

Kettering Town  AFC Telford United
1 Billy Johnson   1 Brandon Hall
2 Owen Cochrane  Off 72 2 Ellis Myles        
6 Lewis White                3 Nathan Fox
5 Kelvin Langmead                4 Jordan Piggott    (Capt)             
11 Rhys Sharpe   5 Orrin Pendley  
18 Tom Scott   6 Sam Whittall  
4 Harry Reilly   7 Ricardo Dinanga Off 61
8 Gary Stohrer  (Capt) 10 Remi Walker              Off 77
10 Sam Bennett    9 Montel Gibson
9 Tyrone Lewthwaite   18 Reece Styche Off 81
7 Leon Clarke  Off 80 11 Byron Moore                   
  Substitutes     Substitutes
3 Ben Toseland  On 72 12 Jared Hodgkiss         
13 Niall Shackleton   14 Ty Webster           On 81
15 Huw Dawson 15 Steffan Jones  
16 Luca Purse   16 Tre Mitford On 61
20 Will Mellors-Blair   On 80 8 George Forsyth On 88


Referee: Daniel England       Assistants: Ellis Mills and Paul McVay


Football returned to Latimer Park after a five week hiatus apart from a rained off game courtesy of Storm Babet. However the team had kept busy fitting in 5 away games in that period. The results were of varying quality first up was a very good win at Hitchin after a 4-0 home defeat by the same team 4 days earlier followed by an abysmal performance in the FA Trophy where the team only started playing after falling 3-0 behind. The latest two games were victories over teams towards the bottom of the table, Kettering’s first back to back away wins since 2019.

Kettering without a home league win this season would be hoping for a repeat of last season when Telford provided the opposition for Kettering’s first home win of the season. With the recent personnel departures from LP, the injury to Dan Jarvis on Saturday and Huw Dawson less than 100% fit Andy Leese’s choices were limited. Tom Scott would start for his first home game of the season after two good performances at Leiston and Berkhampstead. Reilly started in midfield replacing Jarvis with Stohrer completing a three man midfield. Up front Kettering played a three man front line as the team lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as Lewthwaite would start after coming on as a substitute in the last two games. To accommodate this Ben Toseland was relegated to the sub’s bench.   There were plenty of familiar faces in the Telford line-up with Ellis Myles and George Forsyth from last season’s squad. Tre Mitford, Nathan Fox and Orrin Pendley were all returning old boys.

It was a mild, dry, still evening but plenty of rain had fallen in the previous week to ensure the surface would easily take a stud. The grass was wet from a heavy dew and the ball would skid across the surface but a rolling ball would hold up. Telford in all yellow would kick-off attacking the Tin Hat filled with Kettering fans due to the crowd being segregated. 

 Telford started quickly and won a corner in the second minute when a ball into the box by Dinanga was put behind. The set piece was headed by Sharpe but only towards his own goal where Johnson had to be alert and tipped it over for another corner. The second corner from Fox towards the far post was missed by everyone and goes out for a goal kick.

After seven minutes the ball is played down Telford’s right for Lewthwaite to chase but Myles manages to get in front of Ty but the forward keeps the pressure on the defender tight on the corner flag and in attempting to play the ball inside to his keeper Ellis only manages to put it out for Kettering’s first corner. Reilly’s corner is partially cleared but the action is stopped as Clarke concedes a free-kick. 

Styche was lucky to avoid a booking in the eighth minute when a long ball was looking to go out close to the corner flag being shepherded out by White but the ball slowed due to the damp grass. Styche came racing in in an attempt to intimidate White but merely bounced off the solid defender and ended up on the floor himself and slid into the advertising boards. Meanwhile the ball had stopped in bounds and White shaped up to clear the ball down-field when the clearly irate forward jumped up and almost rugby tackled the defender grabbing him around the waist in an attempt to wrestle him to the ground believing that he’d been fouled by White. Mr England had to come over to calm the situation down with Styche showing a flash of temper towards the defender.

 On eleven minutes Telford were looking to break after Kettering gave away possession whilst on the attack, however a well timed sliding challenge by White on the half way line cut out the ball and sent it to the feet of Bennett. Sam showed presence of mind and played the ball inside to an unmarked Clarke standing on the edge of the penalty area. Leon, with more time than he realised, tried a first time shot attempting to curl the ball into the top right-hand corner of the goal but only managed to scoop the ball over the bar by some distance.

 Just after the quarter hour mark Walker played the ball long down Kettering’s left where Gibson timed his forward run to perfection to run onto the ball ahead of Langmead who could not match the younger man’s pace. Montel took the ball to the by-line before cutting it back inside to Styche  just by the penalty spot. Two defenders had tracked back but rather than mark a player had run aimlessly onto the edge of the six yard box. Styche with time and space could pick his spot and lashed the ball past Johnson who was powerless to stop it. 0-1 Telford  16 mins. 

 Telford continued to press looking to test Johnson at every opportunity despite the range. Firstly Styche’s effort cleared the crossbar and then Gibson whose shot grubbed along the ground and was a simple collect for Billy. 

 After twenty-three minutes Kettering won a throw-in on the clubhouse side just in front of the burger van. Sharpe delivered a long throw into the box but it was easily dealt with by a defender who headed the ball away in the direction of Rhys who lifted the ball back into the middle where Clarke had a free header but the ball bounced off his head and looped over the bar. From the resulting goal-kick the ball was sent down Kettering’s left where once again Gibson used his pace to race clear. His low cross flashed across the face of the goal evading Johnson but there was no attacker there to apply a finishing touch as it passed narrowly wide of the far post.

 Just after the half hour mark Scott carried the ball forward and lifted a ball toward Reilly in the Telford penalty area but Harry’s header lacked power and didn’t trouble Brandon Hall. Two minutes later the ball was up the other end where Lewis White cut out a dangerous cross the ball fell to Nathan Fox who carried the ball into the penalty area where on being closed down fed the ball back to Moore who from a couple of yards outside the penalty area struck a wicked dipping shot. It took a top drawer save from Johnson who managed to tip the ball one handed over the bar for a corner. The corner from Fox was cleared but struck Stohrer which gave Fox a second chance to deliver the ball into the middle where Whittall with a free header had a golden opportunity of doubling Telford’s lead but sent his header wide of the target.

 With a little under ten minutes left in the half Kettering played the ball forward towards Lewthwaite who once again tested himself against Myles. Finding no way past he fed the ball inside to Stohrer who picked out Scott in some space thirty yards out from goal. He carried the ball forward and as he was closed down veered to his right running past a second defender he worked his way to the edge of the penalty area making space for a shot which he sent low to the goalkeeper’s right for the equaliser. 1-1 Kettering 36 mins. 

 Kettering had little chance to relish being level as within four minutes Styche had restored Telford’s lead. A free-kick deep inside Telford’s half was lifted forward by Hall. Gibson on the edge of the penalty area got to the ball in front of Langmead and with his back to the goal flicked the ball on it’s way up and over Kelvin. Styche was on hand to receive the ball and struck a firm shot past Johnson beating the keeper at his near post. 1-2 Telford  40 mins.

 Neither keeper was tested in the remainder of the half including three additional minutes.


  Half Time: Kettering Town 1  AFC Telford United 2


 The second half didn’t start well for Kettering as after only two minutes of the half a fine passing movement was finished off by a tap in from close range by Gibson. Kettering were saved by the linesman though as the goal was ruled out for off-side.

 After fifty-one minutes Tom Scott won a free-kick just right of centre about thirty yards from goal. Buoyed by his success at Berkhampstead Sharpe looked for a repeat performance but this time the ball was overhit and sailed over the top of the Tin Hat. Three minutes later Kettering had their best chance of scoring. Johnson stopped a weak shot from Piggott and bowled the ball out quickly to Stohrer on the left wing. Gary beat a player and played the ball on the ground down the wing for Lewthwaite marked by Pendley. Ty on the corner of the penalty area turned inside Orrin and then hit a low right footed shot which Hall parried well at his near post. The rebound fell to Clarke by the penalty spot but his shot hit the keeper who pushed the ball away again for Bennett to try his luck which once again was blocked and then was adjudged to have fouled Pendley in his follow up to stop the attack. 

 Just before the hour mark the referee produced the first card of the game when he booked Pendley following a foul on Clarke. Four minutes later Telford won a corner when a shot from distance was turned behind by Johnson. Dinanga’s corner to the far post was header towards goal by Whittall where Pendley in front of Johnson tried to turn the ball in by Johnson managed to get enough on the ball to see it trickle past the post for another corner which came to nothing. 

 On sixty-seven minutes Kettering forced a corner and it was only partially cleared and fell to Sharpe who tried an ambitious shot but his effort goes high and wide. Telford from the goal-kick switch play to the Kettering end and start toying with the defence like a cat with a mouse passing the ball at will at the edge of the penalty area. The ball was eventually threaded through to Styche who got in front of Cochrane before tumbling to the floor in an attempt to con the referee in to awarding a penalty but Mr England was having none of it and awarded a goal-kick.

 With twenty minutes to go Kettering made their first substitution with Ben Toseland replacing Owen Cochrane. Five minutes Nathan Fox became the second player booked after kicking the ball away at a throw in. A minute later it was all over as Telford cut through the Kettering defence. Walker took possession of a loose ball midway inside Kettering’s half and fed the ball outside to Dinanga who strode forward a couple of yards before threading the ball through to Gibson who had spun away from his marker to receive the ball in space before crossing the ball precisely to Styche to tap home from a yard out.1-3 Telford  77 mins. 

 With ten minutes to go Styche was finally booked after previously received his final, final warning from Mr England for persistent fouling. Before play restarted Kettering made their second substitution with Will Mellors-Blair replacing Leon Clarke. Shortly after Telford took Styche off replacing with Ty Webster.

 With five minutes to go in the game any comeback chance for Kettering was snuffed out when following a rash horribly timed challenge by Lewis White in midfield sent Byron Moore up into the air deservedly earning him a straight red card. Both teams played out the remaining five minutes and five minutes of injury time.

 Full Time: Kettering Town 1  AFC Telford United 3

The green shoots of recovery shown by Kettering after back to back away wins were trampled into the ground by Telford who seemed to be able to score at will with Gibson getting a hat-trick of assists providing Styche with his hat-trick. The 4-3-3 formation employed by Kettering appeared fragile at the back susceptible to pace. The three man front line failed to materialise goals but if the chances created had been converted the final result could have been different. The absence of Lewis White for three games following his red card will test the small squad with Andy Leese fearful of any injuries.


Kettering Town yellow cards: none  red: White – foul

AFC Telford United yellow cards:  Pendley – foul, Fox – kicking ball away, Styche – persistent fouling   

Attendance: 604

Elgood’s Brewery Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match –  Tom Scott – After two fine appearances on the road Tom put in another assured performance for an eighteen year old. He was happy coming deep to collect the ball and was always looking for a precise pass.

Match Report by Roger Rose.