Kettering 1 Stevenage 0

Last updated : 26 December 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Gez Murphy's second minute goal lifted Kettering Town off the bottom of the Nationwide Conference table for the first time since August.

But the Poppies could easily have finished with a far more impressive scoreline against their fellow strugglers in the relegation dog-fight.

In the gameÂ’s first incident Scott Goodwin whipped in a right-wing corner which Lee Howarth met on the half volley and Murphy got the faintest of headers to direct it into the roof of the net.

Stevenage then enjoyed the bulk of possession without really forcing their advantage through.

Justin Richards sent a shot jus twice, whipped in a cross that found no takers and then Richard Pacquette just failed to make proper contact from an inviting cross from Simon Travis.

Simon Wormull then delivered a free-kick which Ian Bowling pushed round at full stretch.

The best chance that fell to the visitors came in the 26th minute when Richards fed a pass through to Pacquette and his low shot was blocked by Bowling's legs.

The better chances though, were created by the home side with Stevenage keeper Mark Westhead reacting superbly to fist away a blistering drive from Craig Norman and then denying Shaun Murray with an outstretched limb.

The second half became a scrappy affair on a sticky pitch and Boro was fortunate not to be reduced in numbers after Stuart Fraser picked up only a yellow card for a nasty tackle on Niall Inman and resting substitute Victor Asombang to the ground.

Brad Piercewright sent a flicked header off the far post as Kettering looked for the second goal to put the game out of reach.

Stevenage finished the stronger and Pacquette forced another low save out of Bowling before firing just off target form a tight angle.

When Richards blasted a miscue from Howarth wildly over the top, the visitors realised the game was up.

The two teams do battle again on New Years Day as the fight to stay in non-league footballÂ’s top-flight continues.