Jake Smeeton’s penalty miss costs Dorchester in Kettering defeat

BY: Josh Donaldson Dorset Echo Sport


A missed penalty from Jake Smeeton coupled with a tap-in from Rene Howe consigned Dorchester Town to their second-straight league loss at the hands of Kettering Town. After a lacklustre first-half, Smeeton had a golden chance to open the scoring just after the hour mark however, he could hit the bar with his effort.

The Magpies were made to pay minutes later as, after a goalmouth scramble, poacher Howe was on to score the winner.

There were a few changes to the Dorchester side that lost 4-1 to Cirencester Town in midweek. The Magpies were dealt a huge blow before the kick off with the news that Franklyn Clarke had been hospitalised and his appendix removed. He announced on Twitter that he would be out for six weeks after playing just three games since returning from York City. David Jerrard replaced him.

Mark Jermyn was suspended for the clash so Jason Brookes stepped in at right back with Ben Wood starting in the place of Lewis Morgan, who dropped to the bench. Interestingly, Nathan Walker, who has played up front for much of the season, wore the number five shirt, meaning he settled back into the heart of the defence.

Kettering had won just once at home all season and they looked in fiery mood, with the first chance of the game. William Carvalho tried his luck with a volley but Shane Murphy was equal to it.

Just a minute later and the visitors showed their attacking intent. Smeeton found Tom Blair inside the area and his shot was saved well by Dean Snedker. Wood then had whistled an effort past the post as the away side started the brighter, looking to put their performances right after their poor result in the week.

Despite the early chances, the rest of the half contained little quality as Dorchester were able to disrupt the flow of the Poppies and stifle their shooting opportunities. Only Rene Howe was able to create a chance as he drifted into the box but, shot wide.

The Magpies would have been the happier side at the break having kept Kettering at bay and creating some chances of their own.

And it was the away side who went closest after the break. After the county town side had dealt with a long Dominic Langdon throw in, Wood, who had the best chance in the first half, rifled a deflected shot off the bar to give the Poppies a fright.

Then, on the hour mark, they should have taken the lead. The referee awarded the visitors a penalty and Smeeton, who has been clinical from the spot this season, stepped up but, his effort cannoned off the bar. It was a huge chance that went begging and a massive let off for the hosts.

The Poppies reacted by making a double change. Spencer Weir-Daley and Lewis Hornby, who had made little impact, were replaced by Aaron O’Connor and Nathan Hicks. After that they put the pressure firmly on the visitors, creating chance after chance, yet they weren’t able to capitalise.

Morgan was brought on for Jerrard as Mark Jermyn’s men seemed to be playing for a point but, that plan went out of the window soon after as Howe scored the opener for Kettering.

After a goalmouth scramble, where the visitors had chances to clear the ball, the forward was on hand to tap home with 18 minutes to go. A goal that had been coming.

However, the Poppies invited the Magpies on after the goal as they sat deeper looking to consolidate their one-goal lead. The visitors obliged and Paul Malone had to be at his best to head away a certain goal.

With time running out, Sol Ayunga was brought on for Brookes but, he was ineffectual as the Magpies slipped closer to the relegation spots meaning Tuesday night’s game against Cinderford Town even more pivotal.

Kettering: Snedker, Langdon, Solkhon, Malone, Mulligan, Carvalho, Weir-Daley (O’Connor 65), Howe (Barnes-Homer 76), Hornby (Hicks 65), Brighton

Subs not used: Westwood, White

Magpies: Murphy, Brookes, Smeeton, Martin, Walker, Dillon, Jerrard (Morgan 72), Oldring, Wood, Bassett, Blair

Subs not used: Yates, Mitchell, Crittenden

Referee: Robbie Badley

Bookings: Kettering – Mulligan

Magpies – Blair, Bassett, Murphy

Attendance: 475