After surviving a winding-up order in the summer and appointing a new chairman, Kettering now play at Latimer Park, home of Burton Park Wanderers, after getting the ground up to Southern League standards. On Tuesday, the Poppies attracted a crowd of 789 to their first home game, but have now started the season with three defeats and sit bottom of the league after this latest loss.
A downpour just before kick-off, which continued through the first half, made for extremely tricky conditions in the early going, but it took Slough just three minutes to take the lead. Jamie McClurg found space in midfield and threaded a ball through for Warren Harris on the right, who cut into the box and shot across Quirke and into the far corner.
Darren Wheeler, so impressive at Uxbridge, was again influential, before suffering a knock in the second half which may keep him out of the derby with Beaconsfield SYCOB. He got the better of his marker and chipped in a cross which had to be cleared over his own crossbar by a Kettering player.
Kettering came into the game a little, Wes Emery heading well wide and a long-range shot bringing a comfortable save from Somerville. Their best bit of play saw makeshift centre-back and former Slough player David Deeney show great vision to pick out Jonathon Thorpe on the right, who carried the ball into the box and crossed in low, but Jake Newman poked the ball wide.
The game was a scrappy affair, perhaps inevitably given the weather conditions, though Slough always looked the better side, and the Rebels doubled their lead. A free kick to the back post was headed back across by Johnnie Dyer, and Ed Smith was on hand to acrobatically hook the ball into the net – his 12th goal in his last nine games.
More rain fell, and Kettering were dealt a huge blow with the loss of David Deeney with a recurrence of his groin problem. His brother Ashley would also not complete the game due to injury. Steve Kinniburgh’s speculative long range shot was all the hosts could muster in the remainder of the first half, whilst Slough went close again as Smith headed a Dyer cross over.
Kettering looked to make a game of it with a goal four minutes into the second half, which energised the large crowd in attendance and made them believe they could push on and perhaps secure their first points. Substitute Nathan Fox was on hand to convert at the back post after good work from Thorpe on the right side.
Just minutes later though, Slough restored their two goal lead. Wheeler’s free kick into the box was not dealt with by Kettering, and after Smith did well to turn the ball back into the middle, Ben Edwards was on hand to side foot home. Edwards enjoyed a fine game in the middle of the park, frustrating Kettering on a number of occasions by breaking up the play.
A fourth goal arrived for Slough which really killed off any hopes of a fight back by the Poppies. Smith again worked hard to keep the ball in play by the corner flag, before crossing into the box, where Wheeler eventually fired high into the net, after a succession of missed clearances in the middle.
Newman shot just over the bar for Kettering as Slough made changes to freshen things up, and the Rebels rounded off a very satisfactory day with a fifth goal in stoppage time. Ollie Burgess played Wheeler in, who broke clear from the halfway line. He drove into the box and saw his shot saved by Quirke, only for the ball to squirm loose, with Wheeler completing the job by poking the ball into the net.
Kettering Town Line up
Michael Quirke, Ashley Deeney (Will Muzvimbiri), Steve Kinniburgh, Chris Logan, Dave Deeney (Nathan Fox), Brad Piercewright (c), Jonathan Thorpe, Andy Gooding, Jake Newman, Jermaine Clarke (Rob Foster), Wes Emery. Subs not used: Lewis Wilson, Louis Hamilton.