Poppies defeat Lambs again.
Lambs boss Gary Mills made two changes to the side that drew with Telford on Boxing Day – Rikki Bains and Kirk Jackson coming into the starting eleven in place of Marcus Ebdon and Anthony Robinson.
For Kettering, ex-TFC manager Mark Cooper brought with him three familiar faces – Tom Kemp, Mark Rawle and Gary Mills.
Kettering entered the game as the only team in the league to be unbeaten on their travels all season, while Tamworth were looking to end the year on a high note with a home victory against the side placed third in the league.
The Lambs started with a very different formation – Des Lyttle in the centre of defence with Craig McAughtrie, Rikki Bains at right back, Gareth Sheldon in the centre of midfield with Chris Nurse and Michael Briscoe on either side, and three up front but the start was shaky from both sides with long high clearances coming in the swirling wind which helped neither cause.
Gary Mills picked up the first booking of the game following a two footed challenge on Graeme Law on the half way line but the Poppies cleared the freekick and play, in the air, continued.
A corner came to Tamworth on 15 but a foul on Kettering ‘keeper Lee Harper halted play almost as soon as it started.
Brett Solhkon hit the far upright with a low shot when it looked far easier to score on 18 after Craig Westcarr whipped the ball across the area and after Philip Palethorpe had recovered, Richter on the counter, burst into the Kettering area but shot high over the bar.
Cooper was forced to make an early substitution on 21 replacing Poppies captain Nicky Eaden with John Brady.
On 25, from a freekick following a booking against McAughtrie for a tackle on Westcarr fired the ball into the area and both Rawle David Bridges got as touch but the ball somehow stayed out, but from the corner on 26 Westcarr curled the ball into the corner from the edge of the area to give the visitors the lead. (0-1)
A rare Des Lyttle shot from the edge of the area went into Harper’s arms on 30 from Sheldon’s freekick as Tamworth tried to get back into the game quickly.
Rawle went off injured on 38 to be replaced in Kettering’s second substitution of the game by Jean-Paul Marna
John Dempster halted the run of Jonti Richter as he bore down on the area on 43 and he escaped a sending off, picking up just a yellow card for his troubles and from the free kick Harper denied Briscoe’s header on the line.
On 50 minutes the scores were level after Chris Nurse stole in and took the ball round Harper before slamming home from close range. (1-1)
Then on 54 McAughtrie scuffed a freekick but still forced Harper to save low to his right to deny the ball creeping in at the near post.
Briscoe tried a dipping effort which just cleared the bar from 25 yards on 63 before Kettering enjoyed a spell of possession and forced a couple of corners but failed to trouble Palethorpe.
A Poppies freekick following a dubious booking for Law on 70 was eventually claimed by Palethorpe who released Richter to win a corner from which Lyttle’s volley was cleared and Kettering broke through Westcarr again.
Light cold rain covered The Lamb for the remained of the second half and neither could create a clear cut chance despite move the ball rapidly up and down the field, so Mills brought on fresh legs in attack with Nick Wright taking to the field on 82.
But then on 84, Westcarr ran onto a ball from Marna who looked to be at least a yard offside and slotted home to give Kettering the lead (1-2) and with it all three points.
Palethorpe, Lyttle, Law, Bains, McAughtrie, Briscoe, Richter, Nurse (Edwards 88), Robinson, Williams (Wright 82), Sheldon
Subs: Robinson, Sheridan, Seal
Harper, Eaden (Brady 21), Shilton, Dempster, Kemp, Solkhon, Westcarr, Mills, Rawle (Marna 38), Bridges, Hall
Subs: Collis, Lawrence, Bussey
Yellow Cards: Mills 8, McAughtrie 24, Dempster 43, Sheldon 45, Law 70
Referee: Mr. D. Meeson
Matchball sponsor: Sarah Robinson
BJs Man Of The Match: Chosen by match sponsors: Delta Labelling, Dr. A. Moosa, Interlink Express: