Kettering 1-0 Lincoln – Same Old

“We always beat the Lincoln, we always beat the Lincoln” was the chant from the Dale Roberts Terrace at Nene Park yesterday and although not strictly true (we did draw one of our cup games against them in 2008) it was pretty much on the money. Kettering are a team that has Lincoln City’s number, even in their current cash strapped form. Here’s a few thoughts I had on the game:

1. We shouldn’t have lost.

Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t great and spurned chance after chance despite having more of the ball in the final third. But Kettering offered little apart from their physicality. They fought for that clean sheet, but wouldn’t have scored but for…

2. The worst referee I’ve ever seen.

Actually, I’m being unfair. He wasn’t Uriah Rennie or anything. But still, pretty bad. His baffling decisions, the ‘penalty’ being the most obvious, ruined the game. His assistants weren’t much better either.

3. The penalty wasn’t a penalty.

Officially it was a handball in the box, but even the Kettering players seemed surprised. There was no appeal. If it was a penalty, it was only the man in black that saw it.

He had a chance to even up the scores towards the end, when Richard Pacquette was hauled down in the box but…no.

4. Visting Nene Park is weird.

It’s like visiting a friend’s old house when someone else has moved in. There are traces of the former owners (diamonds everywhere on the design, signs to the ‘RDFC club offices’) but everywhere else you look you’re reminded that they aren’t here anymore. ‘Kettering Town FC’ is emblazoned on every surface.

Having visited Rockingham Road for that memorable cup match three seasons ago it’s not hard to see why Imraan Ladek wanted to move the club to Nene Park. It’s modern, easy to get to, pleasant…even a bit atmospheric, everything their old ground wasn’t. Certainly this should be the model any club at the lower level looks to when they build a new stadium.

The drawback for Kettering is that it’s not in Kettering, it’s in Irthlingborough, six miles away. To most chairmen, this would be reason enough not to move. Not to Kettering’s intrepid, heroic owner though…

5. Everyone at Kettering hates Imraan Ladek.

At Lincoln, we were hating the egomaniacal Imraan Ladek before it was cool, but Kettering fans are finally on board the bandwagon. All he had to do was run the club into ground, move it away from the town it’s named after and fail to pay the players for months on end.

The campaign against Ladek is such that the turnstyle operators were handing out ‘Show Imraan Ladek the Red Card’ flyers and the PA announcer was encouraging everyone to turn up to a meeting of the Supporters Trust which, he stressed, had “nothing to do with Imraan”. When the people who work for you are in open revolt…you’re in trouble.

6. Whoever runs the PA picked some hilariously ironic songs…

“Price Tag”, “Money’s Too Tight to Mention”, “I Need a Dollar”…

Man of the Match: Joe Anyon made a couple of great saves. Otherwise…a real disappointment from the Imps. We need Alan Power back…

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