Boro settle for point at Kettering

Kettering Town 1 Stevenage Boro 1 Boro had to settle for a point at Rockingham Road despite having enough chances to strike a crucial blow over one of their promotion rivals. Boro were in front inside two minutes thanks in no small part to a mistake fro

Kettering Town 1 Stevenage Boro 1

Boro had to settle for a point at Rockingham Road despite having enough chances to strike a crucial blow over one of their promotion rivals.

Boro were in front inside two minutes thanks in no small part to a mistake from Kettering goalkeeper Lee Harper as he let Joel Byrom's free-kick slip through his fingers but Chris Day returned the favour with a blunder of his own.

His poor kick out resulted in Moses Ashikodi getting the Poppies back on level terms before the break.


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Boro enjoyed the better of the second half as both Charlie Griffin and Chris Beardsley missed excellent opportunities to give their side all three points.

However, Day showed the mark of a good goalkeeper by making two good saves in injury time as Kettering staged a late rally.

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Boro got off to a dream start in the second minute thanks to an absolute howler from Harper.

Chris Beardsley, given a surprise start against his former club, won a free kick in a central position and Joel Byrom's well struck effort appeared to be going straight down the goalkeeper's throat.

However, Harper failed to get his body behind the midfielder's effort and could only parry the ball into his own net.

Harper partially redeemed himself in the eighth minute when Michael Bostwick unleashed a shot from outside the area that had to be tipped round the post by the Kettering shot-stopper.

Kettering had clearly been rocked by Boro's lightning start and were struggling to find any kind of rhythm going forward.

The only time they looked threatening for the first 20 minutes was when Ashikodi got on the ball with the Poppies striker looking lively in the early stages.

And it was Ashikodi who got his side's leveller just before the half-hour mark but it was only thanks to another goalkeeping error.

Day's kicking, for once, let him down as his attempted clearance eventually fell to Ashikodi, who shot low through the legs of Ashton, who was trying to atone for Day's error, and into the back of the net from outside the area.

Kettering took the ascendancy for the remainder of the half without threatening the Boro back four although Boro were suddenly having problems of their own going forward.

But Boro should have gone back in front in the 57th minute when some great industry down the wing by Yemi Odubade saw the former Oxford man get the ball to Ronnie Henry, who teed up Bostwick on the edge of the area but the Boro youngster's shot was always on the rise and flew over the bar.

A minute later a smart turn and shot from Odubade took a slight deflection and whistled just wide of Harper's post.

Boro looked more likely to find a winner as the second half wore on as the Boro midfield trio of Bostwick, Byrom and Bridges took control.

Bridges, who was making his first competitive start of the season, almost broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when he embarked on one of his trademark runs before flashing a low drive just past Harper's post after his initial shot had been blocked by John Dempster.

But Griffin had a golden opportunity to find a winner in the 79th minute when Henry made a great run down the right flank before standing a sumptuous cross to the back post for the Boro striker.

However, Griffin couldn't quite grow enough and his header went just over the crossbar.

The chances were coming thick and fast in Boro's favour now and Beardsley had a gilt-edged opportunity five minutes from time when he found himself with just Harper to beat. However, the 24-year-old hesitated and allowed Greg Taylor to get back in and make a last-ditch tackle and clear the danger.

It almost came back to haunt Boro but Day made two good saves in injury time to keep Kettering at bay.

Kettering Town (4-4-2): Harper, Taylor, Dempster, Roper (Boucard 62), Jennings, Geohaghon, Heslop, Noubissie, Green, Spencer, Ashikodi. Subs not used: Wrack, Marna, Carayol, Thomas.

Boro (4-3-3): Day, Henry, Ashton, Roberts, Laird, Bostwick, Byrom, Bridges, Beardsley (Vincenti 88), Odubade (Cole 88), Griffin. Subs not used: Bayes, Odhiambo, Albrighton.

Referee: Rob Lewis

Attendance: 1,844

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