Match Report - Merthyr Town
Kettering Town FC: 1
Brett Solkhon 24
Richard Bryan 36
Merthyr Town: 1
Ryan Green 39
Ashley Evans 34
Kettering Town FC: 3
Elliot Sandy 49
Courtney Baker-Richardson 83
Steve Kinniburgh 93
Elliot Sandy > Courtney Baker-Richardson75
Will Grocott > Danny Harmon83
Jevani Brown > Justin Marsden91
Merthyr Town: 2
Ryan Prosser 94
Corey Jenkins 92
Guillem Bauza > Jay Bowen59
Adam Davies > Corey Jenkins75
Kettering Town secured their first win of the season to claim maximum points against newly promoted Merthyr Town at Latimer Park.
Brett Solkhon – who scored Kettering’s last goal of their league winning season – did so again when he headed The Poppies in front after 24 minutes before Ryan Green headed the Welsh side level five minutes before the break, with host keeper Jamie McAlindon making a number of fine saves in the opening half.
Marcus Law’s side extended their lead early in the second half when Elliot Sandy scored with a fine finish past keeper Tom Bradley and the third was scored with 7 minutes remaining through substitute Courtney Barker-Richardson, who grabbed his first goal for the club.
Though deep into injury time, Merthyr still had time to half the deficit as Ryan Prosser scored from the spot after Steve Kinniburgh – who was making his 100th appearance for Kettering - had fouled Ian Traylor.
Law made two changes to the side which drew on Tuesday night at Latimer Park, with Andy Gooding returning to the starting line-up in midfield at the expense of Richie Danquah and Steve Kinniburgh taking over at left back from James Brighton, the Scot making his 100th appearance for us.
Merthyr’s first opportunity came on 10 minutes as Elliott Scotcher's deep free kick was found by Prosser who pulled the trigger first time, and McAlindon did well to block the shot before saving the midfielder's rebound.
The Poppies early chances revolved around Jevani Brown, who was firstly denied by The Martyrs goalkeeper Bradley. With fifteen minutes on the clock, the striker picked up a through ball and fired in a low left-footed shot from 15 yards which Bradley parried but the keeper claimed the loose ball. And three minutes later, Brown turned provider, this time finding Sandy alone in the penalty area, but last season's joint top goal scorer blazed over from close range, from his right foot.
Our first goal of the new season came on 24 minutes from some good build up play. Gooding had released Will Grocott down the right, whose delivery was pinpoint and Solkhon climbed highest to glance a header past Bradley and into the net.
Then the visitors threatened to level when Ian Traylor played a smart one-two with Scotcher, Richard Bryan got a touch on the return pass but couldn’t prevent the winger working his way through on goal down the left side of the area, but his centre drifted low across the face of goal and Kayne McLaggon sent the ball goal wards by sliding in. We had McAlindon to thank for preserving our lead when he pulled off a point-blank save from McLaggon’s effort.
Ashley Evans then clipped Gooding over at the other end to concede a dangerous free kick and the first booking of the game, as Grocott flicked the dead ball goal wards but the visitors cleared the danger. Just moments later, though, a Merthyr break sent Traylor away down the left, but he was cropped to the edge of our box by Bryan which earned the full-back a yellow. Scotcher, from a difficult angle, curled a wonderful effort that McAlindon strongly held and the young home grown keeper was having an excellent first half.
Two minutes later it was 1-1, with Merthyr finally getting the better of McAlindon as Gulliem Bauza's fierce drive was tipped round the post by the keeper and Scotcher delivered a teasing corner from the left which Ryan Green headed home.
We made a bright, positive start to the second period as well and from our first attack saw Brown feed Solkhon in the area. The midfielder turned his marker and squared the ball which Sandy left-footed into the bottom corner and we went a goal to the good on the forty ninth minute.
Merthyr were certainly carrying a threat going forward, however, the visitors poor finishing led to Traylor hitting the side netting before McAlindon once again preventing McLaggon scoring with a daisy cutter on the edge of the six-yard box.
We made changes to freshen things up deep into the half with Baker-Richardson and Danny Harmon replacing Sandy and Grocott and a third goal arrived on 83 minutes when Baker-Richardson tested Bradley with a drive from 20 yards, the keeper repelling his first effort but couldn't prevent the substitute from the rebound to score his first goal for the club.
Merthyr substitute Jay Bowen sent a long range over the bar when he perhaps should have done better as the visitors looked to work their way back into the contest, and they did just that moments later from the penalty spot. Kinniburgh was adjudged to have bundled over Traylor almost on the byline inside the area and Prosser stepped up to reduce the deficit deep into injury time.
That was the last opportunity of the game as the whistle blew, which led to jubilant celebrations at The Tin Hat End.