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A FOUR-GOAL salvo from livewire Ben Kelly kept a spirited Claret Shoemakers at bay, Watford IFC running out eventual 6-3 winners against our friends, the supporters of Northampton Town FC.

After early Cobblers’ pressure, particularly from set-pieces, Kelly latched onto a long through-pass to round the keeper and put the Hornets one up.

He made it 2-0 when cutting back inside from the corner of the penalty area to curl an accurate shot into the far side of goal, but Town responded with a goal that followed several failed Watford attempts to clear from an opposition corner.

Paul Shelock got on the scoresheet eight minutes before half-time, sending the hosts in 3-1 up at the break, when he placed a 22-yard free-kick out of the reach of a stranded Cobblers’ keeper after a foul on that man Kelly.

It was four moments into the second 45 – but in far more fortuitous circumstances this time, with Kelly’s cross swirling beyond the new Northampton gloveman before dropping tamely over the goal-line.

Cobblers fought back well, though, typical of their indomitable spirit whenever the two sides meet. And, by the time there was 12 minutes left on the watch, they’d reduced Watford’s lead to just one goal with two of their own.

It was only in the final few moments of the match that the Hornets eased over the finishing line; first Kelly converting a spot-kick for his fourth goal after he’d been felled, the club’s first penalty since Feb 2022, then unselfishly slipping a pass to Sean Kidby to stroke home Watford’s sixth seconds before the full-time whistle at Callowland Rec.

WIFC: Bateman; Blythe, Gallichan, (debutant) Anthony Smith, Lau; St-Cyr, Salvidge, Shelock, Maloney; Kidby, Kelly, 
Subs used: Ainsley, Sperinck.