4 - 1
Kettering Town FC
Saturday July 23, 2022, 3:00 pm
Jersey played their final pre-season friendly against another club with Island links, Kettering Town. The National League North side are owned by Island born Ritchie Jeune and were managed in the mid 1970s by Geoff Vowden, uncle of the current Jersey F.A. President, Bradley. In addition, current striker Lorne Bickley made three starting and three substitute appearances, scoring once, for Kettering in October and November 2020. The match had become the final pre-season friendly as Risborough Rangers called off their trip for next Saturday as their league season, like Jersey’s, starts in the following midweek.
The club was established in 1872 as plain Kettering. They joined the Midland League in 1892 and were champions in 1896 and 1900. They failed in their subsequent application to the Football League and joined the Southern League instead. Finishing bottom in 1904 they returned to the Northamptonshire League until re-joining the Southern League in 1909.
In 1912 Kettering left the Southern League again, transferring to the Central Alliance until returning to the Southern League in 1923 and the following year added the suffix “Town” to their name. They were Southern League champions in 1928 and were runners-up in 1929. Despite these successes they dropped down to the Birmingham League in 1930 and then the Northamptonshire League the following season before joining the Central Combination in 1933.
The club re-joined the Northamptonshire League, now re-named the United Counties League, in 1935 and were runners-up in their first season back. They won the league in 1939 but in 1946 re-joined the Birmingham League where they were champions in 1948 and runners-up in 1949 before once again re-joining the Southern League in 1950.
Kettering were Southern League champions in 1957 and again failed in their bid for Football League membership. Finishing bottom in 1960 they bounced straight back but were relegated again in 1964. This time it took four years to regain their Premier Division place. Relegated yet again in 1971 Ron Atkinson took over as manager and bounced them straight back to the Premier Division which they won at the first attempt.
Following their league title, they again applied for Football League membership, this time receiving 12 votes, well behind Darlington’s 26. The following season saw them receive 16 votes, finishing as the highest ranked non-League club and only five votes behind Workington. In 1975, now under Geoff Vowden, the club received 20 votes, again the top ranked non-League club, but this time eight behind Workington.
In 1975 Northern Irish international Drek Dougan was appointed player-manager and he negotiated a £1,000 shirt sponsorship with Kettering Tyres, the first such deal in England. However, the F.A. demanded that the club remove their sponsor’s logo. 1978 saw them reach the final of the F.A. Trophy where they lost 0-2 at Wembley to Stafford Rangers.
In 1979 the club were founder members of the Alliance Premier League, now the National League. This being the first ever single division at the top of the non-League pyramid. Runners-up in 1981, 1989, 1994 and 1999 they reached Wembley again in 2000 when they lost 2-3 to Kingstonian in the F.A. Trophy final. In 1989 they also reached the Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup before losing 1-2 at Charlton Athletic.
Twenty years of being at the top of the non-league system came to an end with relegation to the Southern League in 2001. Bouncing straight back they only lasted a season and this time moved to the Isthmian League. The formation of the Conference North in 2004 saw them placed there and after a couple of play-off failures they won the League in 2008 to return to the Conference National.
In the 2009 F.A. Cup Kettering reached the fourth round for a second time, going out 2-4 at home to Fulham. Financial woes followed and they lost their Rockingham Road ground in 2011 and went into administration during 2011-12. They finished bottom of the Conference National and were demoted two divisions to the Southern League where they again finished bottom and were relegated to Division One Central, since when they have played at the Burton Park Wanderers ground.
In 2015 the club won the Division One Central title and returned to the Premier Division which they won in 2019 to return to the National League North where they finished 8th last season.
After four days of relatively cool temperatures the thermostat raised its game again and Kettering kicked-off attacking the Robin Hood end with it at 25C.
Kettering’s striker, Andre Wright, hooked an opening minute volley at Euan Van der Vliet, before a Sol Solomon corner led to the opening goal. Captain Jonny Le Quesne volleyed it on from the right, and with Lorne Bickley challenging, Rhys Sharpe only managed to shin his attempted left footed clearance past his own ‘keeper from on his own goal line.
Just after the half hour Kettering equalised when Van der Vliet failed to reach a cross from the right by Keaton Ward. The ball rebounded off the back of a defender and Decarrey Sheriff beat Harry Curtis to the loose ball to place his shot in to the undefended net from ten yards with the defence vainly appealing for a foul on Curtis.
Parity did not last long and a slick Bickley, Ruben Mendes move was finished off by Sol Solomon from ten yards with a shot in off the underside of ‘keeper Cameron Gregory.
Bickley extended the lead five minutes later. John Lloyd on the left sideline harried Brad Gascoigne in to a loose back pass which went to Bickley. There was still work to do but from a narrow angle eight yards out he shot under Gregory.
Ten minutes after the interval Solomn spotted Gregory off his line and from in his own half tried to lob him but he hit it too well and it cleared the bar as Gregory back peddled furiously. Bickley was thwarted by Gregory and Stephens had a shot deflected over before Le Quesne failed to finish off a good move instigated by substitutes Jake Prince and Francis Lekimamati.
With ten minutes to go the scurrying Prince dragged a shot across the face of the goal before John Lloyd’s far post header to finish off another good build up was tipped over by Gregory.
Prince gained the reward for his efforts when, set up by Lekimamati, he made another break down the right channel. His low pass inside for Lekimamati was instead rifled in to the roof of his own net by Sharpe as he frantically chased back.
There was still time for Kettering to look for a face saving goal but both a Jordan Graham back heel volley and a Neo Richard-Noel shot were well saved by second half goalkeeper Pierce Roche to leave Jersey with a convincing win against a side three levels higher than themselves.
Jersey Bulls 4 (Jonny Le Quesne 6, Sol Solomon 36, Lorne Bickley 41, Rhys Sharpe o.g. 90); Kettering Town 1 (Decarrey Sheriff 32)
Programme – None (not even online), only media teamsheets
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet (wore 21), Frank Tobin, John Lloyd, Harry Curtis, Sammy Sutcliffe, Joe Kilshaw, Fraser Barlow, Jonny Le Quesne (c), Lorne Bickley (wore 16), Ruben Mendes, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – 1. Pierce Roche (for Van der Vliet 46), 14. Kamen Nafkha (for Kilshaw 81), 15. Francis Lekimamati (for Bickley 73), 18. Kieren Stephens (for Mendes 46), 20. Jake Prince (for Barlow 64), 23. Max Thompson (for Le Quesne 86)
Red/White/White; GKs both All Green
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Steve Martin (Physio.)
Kettering Town – Cameron Gregory, Lewis White, Ben Toseland, Gary Stohrer (c), Brad Gascoigne, Aiden Walker, Harvey Shepherd, Rhys Sharpe, Andre Wright, Keaton Ward, Decarrey Sheriff
Substitutes – 12. Ben Sault (for Walker 81), 14. Sam Bennett (for Shepherd 46), 15. Ethan Hill (for Toseland 46), 16. Jordan Graham (for Wright 46), 20. Joseph Moore (for Ward 81), 21. Neo Richard-Noel (for Sheriff 64)
White (Red shoulders) / Black (Red side panels) / Red (White tops); GK All Yellow (Black trim and Black lower sleeves)
Lee Glover (Manager), Rory Prendergast (Assistant), Harry Hogg (GK), Dan Willis (Kit), Aaron Lewer (Assistant Kit)
Jersey Bulls (4-4-2 R to L) 21; 2-5-4-3; 7-10-8-6; 11-16
Kettering Town (4-4-2 R to L) 1; 2-51-6-3; 7-4-8-11; 10-9
Referee – Dele Sotomirin (Brixton) referee of the opening match of last season at Beckenham Town and then the home fixture against Sheerwater.
Assistants – Luke Nerac (Jersey) on the dug-out side and Jamie Guyan (Jersey) on the grandstand side.
Drinks breaks (25C) – 15, 32, 62 and 79 minutes
Cautions – Solomon (JB) 66, Hill (KT) 74, Sutcliffe (JB) 75
Corners – Jersey Bulls (3) 6, Kettering Town (1) 3
Player of the Match Award – Lorne Bickley