Brakes show Steel to withstand Kettering pressure


Brakes withstood a second-half onslaught from Kettering Town at Corby Town’s Steel Park ground on Sunday to record another important three points in their push for promotion, writes Paul Edwards.

Two superb strikes from free-scoring midfielder Lee Chilton put Paul Holleran’s men on their way but an equally fine effort from Ben Ford pegged them back and it needed a late moment of quality from Stefan Moore to confirm Brakes’ fourth away win in four.

In a bright start, Yannick Nlate came off his line bravely to deny Moore an early shot on goal and Jamie Griffiths headed well wide from a right-wing cross for the hosts.

Leamington were enjoying more of the attacking play but did not provide a threat to the Kettering goal until the 24th minute when the Moore-Chilton combination came up trumps once again, the striker laying the ball back to the edge of the area for his team-mate to thump a powerful first-time drive into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

There was a blow for Leamington when they lost Matt Dodd, who had been seeing plenty of the ball on the right wing, to a hamstring injury.

The hosts continued to move the ball around well and it needed a timely interception from Jamie Hood to snuff out the danger after Griffiths had pounced on a stray pass.

Nuneaton Town loanee Ben Ford then came within inches of an equaliser when his free-kick whistled just past the upright.

Dodd’s replacement Martyn Naylor caused problems for Nlate in the Poppies goal when his vicious inswinger from 35 yards forced the goalkeeper to push the ball over his crossbar with Richard Batchelor closing in.

Moore then pounced on Troy Johnson’s defensive header, forcing Nlate into another good block.

Patrick Noubissie’s shot was deflected through to Laurie Walker as half-time approached with the match outcome far from certain.

Kettering signalled their intent after the break when Nathan Hicks picked up a ball into the box, only for Hood to make another important block.

The sting looked to have been taken from the hosts’ tails five minutes in when Chilton set off on a run towards goal that ended with him sending a screaming 25-yard drive into the corner to double Leamington’s advantage.

However, the old adage of a team being most vulnerable when they have just scored rang true as, from the kick-off, Kettering were allowed to move forward unchallenged and Ford sent an absolute rocket of a strike thundering into the top right-hand corner of Walker’s goal.

With the home fans suddenly finding their voices the Poppies sensed there could still be something in the game for them and Liam Daly headed another effort from Ford off the line.

Substitute Joel Gyasi then cut in from the left and his shot had Walker scrambling down to his right to save at the second attempt.

Nathan Fox was finding more and more space down the left and he went close to levelling when his shot across goal was deflected inches past the far post.

Daniel Crowie then tried to improvise as he met the resulting corner in mid-flight, but he could only guide the ball over the bar.

The same player then sent a flicked header straight into the arms of Walker.

Nlate somehow prevented Leamington from adding a third goal when he clawed a powerful header from Mace on to the crossbar from a left-wing cross.

With the game approaching added time, Leamington were beginning to get forward more frequently and, from a free-kick on the right, substitute Lee Moore played the ball in for his namesake Stefan to beat Nlate at his near post with a sublime back-heeled effort.

The Poppies keeper was called into action again to save a free-kick after Henry Eze received a booking for a crunching challenge on the edge of the area.

Jamie Griffiths sent a late volley just over the bar for the home side, but Leamington saw out time and can now look forward to a run of home games after a productive few weeks on their travels.

Kettering Town: Yannick Nlate, Troy Johnson, Nathan Fox, Chris Logan, Henry Eze, Daniel Crowie, Pat Noubissie, Nathan Hicks, Jamie Griffiths, Ben Ford (Chris Pitharas, 82), Michael King (Joel Gyasi, 65). Subs not used: Jason Turner, Victor Kamjika, Will Muzvimbiri.

Brakes: Laurie Walker, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Craig Owen, Jamie Hood, Liam Daly, Matt Dodd (Martyn Naylor, 27), Lee Chilton, Ricky Johnson (Lee Moore, 73), Stefan Moore, Richard Batchelor (Tom James, 86). Subs not used: Joe Magunda, Niall Cooper.

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