Date: Sun 03 Feb 2019

By David Simpson

#SFL Weekend Review - Premier Central

Advantage The Poppies

Only five games survived in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division Central on Saturday.

But two of those involved the leaders Kettering Town and second-placed Stourbridge.

And it turned out to be a good day for the Poppies, whose hard work in getting their Latimer Park pitch playable was rewarded with a 3-2 win against play-off chasing Needham Market.

The Poppies are certainly making their fans wait until the final whistle in recent games.

And this one was the same.

The Marketmen were making their first visit to Kettering and fell behind after 25 minutes when Aaron O`Connor finished off good work by Gary Stohrer and Dan Holman.

But Needham Market were level on 44 minutes when Joe Marsden curled the ball past Paul White.

The crowd of 762 had to wait until the 72nd minute for the hosts to re-take the lead when Holman flicked on for O’Connor to slot home for his second of the game.

However, the Marketmen were level in the 80th minute when Marcus Kelly bundled over Adam Mills and Marsden converted the resulting penalty.

Kettering fans have learned not to leave early, and 3 minutes into stoppage time, they were rewarded when Lindon Meikle turned a defender before smashing the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.

Over on the relatively `balmy` east coast, struggling Lowestoft Town did Kettering a massive favour by beating Stourbridge and move out of the bottom three.

The Trawlerboys started well and Josh Curry was unfortunate when his early effort crashed back off the bar.

Glassboys` keeper James Wren then pulled off a fine save to deny Shaun Bammant.

But the home side wasn`t to be denied and took a 32nd-minute lead when Adam Smith`s corner was flicked home over his shoulder by the returning Jake Reed.

The battling hosts had keeper Elvijs Putnins to thank for making several fine saves but on 65 minutes, the visitors were presented with a great chance to level when Curry brought down Greg Mills in the box.

However, Putnins pulled off a brilliant save to deny Mills and Travis Cole denied sub-Kaiman Anderson on the rebound with a terrific sliding tackle.

Kettering might well owe Putnins a drink at the end of the season!

Stratford Town missed the opportunity to pull a little closer to the top two by being held to a 0-0 draw at The DCS Stadium by battling St Ives Town.

Defences held sway and the Saints fully deserved a point.

Second-bottom Halesowen Town moved to within two points of the safety-mark after beating an out-of-form Royston Town at The Grove.

But it wasn`t until 5 minutes from time that the Yeltz managed to break through when Kieran Morris headed home from a corner.

Bottom-markers Bedworth United look doomed though as they were beaten for the 20th time in 29 matches at the Oval by Barwell.

Brady Hickey scored the all-important goal from close range 15 minutes from time.

The Greenbacks afternoon got worse when they lost defender Luke Rowe to a second bookable offence in the 83rd minute.

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