Kettering Town 1 AFC Fylde 1: Coasters settle for a share of the spoils

Nick Haughton netted his sixth goal of the campaign as the Coasters secured a point with a hard-fought draw at Kettering Town on Saturday.

By Joe Davis
Sunday, 5th September 2021, 4:45 pm

Fylde had travelled to Latimer Park in search of a fifth consecutive victory in National League North.

Manager Jim Bentley made two changes to the team that started in Monday’s victory over Southport.

Haughton returned to the starting line-up with Sam Osborne dropping to the bench, while an illness to Joe Piggott presented Jack Sampson with a chance to lead the line.

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With Haughton identified as the in-form player prior to kick-off, it took him just six minutes to head Fylde into an early lead and claim his sixth goal in five games.

A clever reverse pass from Luke Burke released Ben Tollitt and his pinpoint cross was glanced home by an unmarked Haughton.

Riccardo Calder registered Kettering’s first attempt on goal, but his ambitious 30-yard strike was watched wide by Fylde goalkeeper Chris Neal.

Two minutes later, Neal held onto a fierce 25-yard drive from Lamine Sherif.

With Kettering in the ascendancy, their pressure resulted in Callum Powell winning a penalty, after Stephen Dobbie brought him down inside the area.

Powell dusted himself down and slotted a well-taken spot-kick past Neal.

Both teams struggled to find any real rhythm following the equaliser, but Powell continued to grow into the game.

He struck a wonderful free-kick off the upright on the half-hour mark, with Neal well beaten.

Ten minutes later, Luke Conlan drove forward and was found by Dobbie on the edge of the 18-yard box, but he dragged his strike well off target.

As the half drew to a close, Liam Nolan was awarded a yellow card for a late challenge on Poppies skipper Connor Kennedy.

It was a slow start to the second half before Haughton and Dobbie brought the Coasters to life on 56 minutes.

Conlan’s well-timed pass into Haughton allowed the goalscorer to slide in Dobbie, but Jackson Smith got down well to deny the Scotsman his third goal in as many games.

Kettering then hit the woodwork for the second time after a long throw found Luke Ward, whose first-time effort crashed off the inside of the post and away.

Fifteen minutes later, Powell found some room 30 yards out, only to be denied by the woodwork once again to the relief of the travelling Fylde fans.

With five minutes remaining, Fylde put everything into finding a last-gasp winner and Haughton almost grabbed it.

More good work from Tollitt saw the winger cruise past his defender and pull the ball back to the penalty spot, but an unfortunate bobble meant that Haughton couldn’t keep his shot down.

In the final moments, it took an outstanding save from Neal to deny Powell, diving low to his left to beat away another powerful drive.

Kettering Town: Smith, Barrett, Calder, Ward, Johnson, Dyche, Powell, Kennedy, Stones (Diakesse 86), Sherif, Neal. Subs not used: Sheriff, Ofusu, Smith, Perry.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Burke (Obi 65), Conlan, Whitmore, Stott, Joyce, Nolan (Perkins 58), Tollitt, Haughton, Dobbie (Holland-Wilkinson 78), Sampson, Subs not used: Jones, Osborne.

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