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Kingstonian 1-0 Kettering Town

A new fixture to the Ryman League saw Kettering, freshly re-relegated from the Football Conference, visit Kingsmeadow seeking to improve upon their start to what has been deemed the easier feeder league down south.

Having suffered a disappointing defeat in the FA Cup, K's welcomed player/assistant-manager Scott Steele back into the starting lineup after injury while Matt Elverson too returned after a shorter spell out on the sidelines.

The opponents from Northants were fielding several familiar faces, the most significant being former K's loanee and now former Spurs goalkeeper Gavin Kelly. Striker Paul Fewings appeared briefly at Kingsmeadow in the same season as Kelly before a number of moves around the Ryman League, and captaining the Poppies was Gary Butterworth - predecessor to Gary Patterson as England semi-pro captain.

One familiar face not present was Trevor Jones - former Kingstonian reserve team player/manager and understudy to Lance Key for the current season - who was tragically killed in an accident at work during the week, and for whom a minutes silence was held before the game.

Kingsmeadow falls silent

A good start by K's had Kettering on the back foot for much of the opening, though openings were limited. Gavin Kelly was called into action with a fine flying save to tip over a curling Bashiru Alimi effort with twenty minutes gone.

Kelly was called into action again as Scott Steele drilled a low strike at goal, managing to tip the ball past the post, but was unable to do anything late on in the half when Stafford Browne managed to head a Stephen Broad cross in under the bar at the far post (below) for the opening goal. Or so it seemed, for the linesman's flag was raised indicating offside.

Stafford Browne beats Gavin Kelly

And so the sides went in to half time level, Lance Key barely troubled and Kim Harris' men looking the more likely.

K's started where they left off, grabbing control of the game and keeping the visitors on their toes with Stephen Broad and Stafford Browne threatening before the breakthrough finally came.

Pressure in the Kettering box

And it all started at the back when Max Hustwick played a splitting ball through the middle for Browne to chase on to. Kelly came rushing out of his goal to block, and partially did, though the ball broke back to Browne to stumble on to goal before curling his strike into the back of the net. All eyes back on the linesman's flag, but then this time back to the players celebrating the goal.

Bashiru Alimi and Browne had chances to extend the lead before the almost inevitable moment of danger came at the other end. Richard Graham crossed for substitute Michael Boyle-Chong to send his shot into the terraces.

The final minute saw Stafford Browne felled in the box by Martin Matthews though the referee decided against awarding a penalty. The points were however secured and the players had achieved what they set out to do on a day of real emotion.

Sat 4th Oct 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Kettering Town0
1Lance Key
2Stephen Broad
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Liam Collins
7Scott SteeleCautioned
8Mark Beard
9Grant Payne
10Stafford Browne
11Bashiru Alimi
12Billy Mead
13Chris Nurse
14Anthony Savage
15Mark Jones
16Sofiane Mehdi
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi