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Stratford suffer heavy defeat to play-off chasing Poppies

STRATFORD Town slipped to a disappointing 4-0 home defeat to play-off hopefuls Kettering Town on Saturday.

Carl Adams' side were looking to build on a run of three wins in their last four, but they were comfortably second best on a bitterly cold afternoon at the MoodChimp Stadium.

Stratford, with the wind at their backs, started the better of the two sides, with Ben Stephens forcing Poppies stopper Paul White into an early save from a free-kick.

However, it was Kettering who took the lead after Town goalkeeper Louis Connor clattered into Matt Stevens in the area.

Poppies skipper Brett Solkhon took the penalty, confidently smashing the ball into the top corner.

Chances were at a premium for the remainder of the half, with Dan Summerfield going closest for Stratford when his 30-yard effort sailed inches over the bar just before half-time.

Stratford started the second half brightly and they were a whisker away from an equaliser in the 50th minute.

After earning a free-kick on the edge of the area, Stephens took it himself, steering his effort low towards the bottom corner, forcing an excellent save from White.

That bright start disintegrated when the Poppies scored their second just before the hour.

The ball was laid across to Michael Richens, who unleashed a stunning 25-yard strike that nestled into the top corner, leaving Connor with no chance.

Minutes later it went from bad to worse as Aaron O'Connor held up the ball nicely before playing in Stevens, who fired home from a tight angle.

Poppies' top scorer O'Connor then rubbed salt into the wound when he slotted home Stevens' cross to make it 4-0 with two minutes to play.

Stratford return to Evo-Stik South Premier action on Tuesday night when they welcome Tiverton Town to the MoodChimp Stadium.

Stratford Town: Louis Connor, Dan Summerfield, Lee Thomas, James Fry (c), Loyiso Recci, Liam Francis, Eli Bako (Charlie Evans 71), James Hancocks, Edwin Ahenkorah, Will Grocott, Ben Stephens. Subs not used: Justin Marsden, George Dawson.

Kettering Town: Paul White, Kalern Thomas, Ben Toseland, Brett Solkhon (c), Gary Mulligan, Orrin Pendley, Lindon Meikle, Aaron O'Connor, Matt Stevens, Michael Richens (Rene Howe 71), Rhys Hoeness (Ben Milnes 79). Subs not used: Liam Bateman, Gary Stohrer, Tom Marshall.

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