Fleet maintained their recent unbeaten record this afternoon but left pondering whether the draw should instead have been a more positive result.
An unchanged side fell behind to David Bridges 13th minute effort as he turned in Steven Meechan’s ball in. But Fleet weren’t behind for long as the sky fell in on Kettering in the 22nd minute. Nathan Koo-Boothe’s foul on Calum Willock inside the box saw him issued with a straight red card to the disgust of the home fans while Willock dusted himself down to convert the resulting penalty.
Fleet extended their lead 10 minutes later as they looked to pick off 10-man Kettering when Jamie Darvill fired into the top corner, his second goal in three games. It stayed that way until early in the second half when ex-Fleet striker Moses Ashikodi did well to tee up Josh Dawkin and he unleashed a volley that left Preston Edwards stranded.
Fleet tried to make their extra numbers tell, Darvill curling a shot at the goalkeeper from Ram Marwa’s pass, but the home side were looking bright. And they could have put the game beyond Fleet’s reach on 66 minutes when Marcus Kelly eased through the Fleet defence and was one-on-one with Edwards until hauled down by Yado Mambo. The Fleet defender was issued with the second red card of the game and it was all even. Thankfully for the Fleet it stayed that way despite the award of a penalty, Bridges smacking his spot kick against the crossbar.
Michael West had a shot saved soon after but the Fleet sought to hang on for the point as the Poppies came at them seeking all three. Meechan had a low shot well-saved by Edwards and the Fleet keeper had to be alert moments later when Dawkin got the better of substitute Ian Simpemba and saw his shot tipped away for a corner.
Down to nine man late on when substitute Scott Ginty pulled up injured, it was Edwards who saved the Fleet again deep into stoppage time when Kiernan Hughes-Mason was played through by Sol Davis and the visitors trooped off the Nene Park pitch probably glad – in the end – for the point.
TEAM: Edwards, Stone, Howe, Mambo, Lorraine, Marwa, West, Phipp (Stavrinou 76), Shakes (Ginty 82), Willock, Darvill (Simpemba 71). Subs not used: Welch, Herd
Jamie Darvill won his second man of the match in succession v Grimsby. Vote for today’s using drop-down panel above.