Match Preview :- Kettering Town - Saturday March 25th, 2006 (15:00:00)
Next up at Bower Fold is ninth placed Kettering Town (kick-off 3pm). Kettering are currently two places and two points behind Celtic having played a game more. Having beaten us once already this season, they will be looking to take all six points off Celtic.

However, Kettering?s away form has been well short of spectacular this season, with only two wins on the road, a 1-0 win over Lancaster back at the start of the season, and a 2-0 win over Leigh RMI in February. Other than that, they have picked up the rest of their thirteen away points this season with seven draws.

The win over Celtic back in November was the last game that they played before having a bit of a wobble that saw them fail to win for nine games, and win just one game in eleven matches. With three wins on the bounce at the start of February, Poppy fans could have been forgiven for thinking that their season was back on track, but it was followed by three consecutive losses through March. Their last match was a win, though, seeing them thump struggling Redditch United 4-0 at home.

Kettering?s last two visits to Bower Fold saw them win both, and Celtic haven?t beaten Kettering since 1996, with the visitors winning their last six games home and away. In the last fifteen games, Celtic have won three (including a 6-1 thrashing of the Poppies in Kettering) drawn two and lost ten. Hopefully Celtic?s excellent home form, combined with Kettering?s poor away form can overcome this history. The prediction algorithm is on our side, with a 3-2 win predicted for Celtic.

Christian Moore is Kettering?s top scorer this season, despite no longer playing for them. His eleven goals keep him in the lead and their only entry in the top fifteen goal scorers? chart (in thirteenth). With him gone, Neil Midgely has been catching him up, with nine goals now, after scoring five goals in his last eight games. Big money signing Anthony Elding has found the net three times since joining, though he did score in Kettering?s last match.

Kettering have been scoring roughly equally between the two halves, though they are dangerous around the fifteen minute mark, when they have scored six, and midway through the second half, when they have scored twelve. Their defence has been quite miserly not conceding more than three goals in any period of the game ? except in the final moments of the game when they have conceded more than ten goals. These late conceded goals have been costing them points this season. On average, then, they score 1.1 goals per game away from home (1.5 overall), and concede 1.6 goals per game away (1.3 overall).

In their last match, the 4-0 home win over Redditch United, Kettering lined up as:
1. Mark Osborn
2. Wayne Diuk
3. Nathan Koo-Boothe
4. David Theobald
5. Craig McIlwain
6. Brett Solkhon
7. Moses Olaleye
8. Jamie Paterson
9. Anthony Elding
10. Neil Midgley
11. Ollie Burgess

Celtic lost their last game, 1-0 away at Harrogate. In that match, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Stephen Baines
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Barrie Keeling
7. Ashley Winn
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Phil Eastwood
11. Neil Prince

Our home form is good enough for us to gain revenge for our previous encounter with Kettering, easily Celtic?s worst performance of the season. Hopefully we?ll be able to show Kettering why we are above them in the league. Despite their poor away showing, Kettering are a more than able side, and Celtic will need a performance equal to that against Nuneaton.

A win against Harrogate would have been useful, putting us within reach of Droylsden, as it is we are still six points behind our neighbours with one game in hand, which means we have to win our game in hand, and beat them at the Butcher?s Arms. Having beaten us, Harrogate could do us a big favour on Saturday and also beat Droylsden. That way if we win, we will be three points behind with a game in hand, and equal or better goal difference. This season is going down to the wire.
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