Derby action took centre stage at the Dog & Duck on Boxing Day as promotion-chasing
Wellingborough Town played host to local rivals Desborough Town.
Jake Stone’s side came into this seeking the chance to go top of the United Counties Premier Division South for at least a couple of hours before title rivals Racing Club Warwick played later that afternoon.
Neil Healey’s men, however, arrived in Wellingborough one point and place above bottom side
Leicester Nirvana and looked to pull off a huge shock in the Doughboys’ backyard.
Having secured the services of young striker Harry Moors on loan from Kettering Town and Owen Brooks from their hosts’ next-door neighbours Wellingborough Whitworths, Ar Tarn boss Healey hoped for an instant impact.
On a chilly early afternoon in Northamptonshire, the Doughboys almost made the perfect start to
this local derby as Neo Richard-Noel got past Brady Stratford and into the box, but the Wellingborough striker’s close-range shot from a tight angle was cleared off the line with ease by David Peplinski. Left-back Rico Alexander saw his effort fly well over the bar a couple of minutes later. That quick start from the hosts seemed to have brought Ar Tarn to life, as they forced a corner down the other end. But after Jack O’Conner’s clearance, Peplinski also saw his shot float over the top of the goal frame. Harry Moors’ well-timed through ball then found Owen Brooks through on goal, but the winger’s strike was kept out well by Doughboys goalkeeper Adam North. Bernard Nkansah also had a header cleared off the line just moments after from the resulting corner, with Ollie Anderson’s curling shot travelling just over the bar as well.
Neil Healey’s side had taken this game by the scruff of the neck, and Kettering loanee Harry Moors
could have made sure of matters in the 20th minute as he was released through on goal, but his
effort was well blocked by Doughboys right-back Charlie Green. Up the other end, however, Wellingborough midfielder Will Bates threatened to break the deadlock twice in a minute; firstly with a long-range shot that forced a great save out of visiting goalkeeper Adam Honour, and a second effort which travelled just wide of the far post.
Brady Stratford had away fans thinking he had put Ar Tarn in front three minutes before half-time,
but the right-back fired his close-range shot into the side netting instead.
HALF-TIME: WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN 0-0 DESBOROUGH TOWN
A reasonably quiet start to the second half was brought to life by Wellingborough no.6 Lloyd Buckby, with the defender seeing his headed effort from a corner unlucky not to dip just under the bar instead of over it. Buckby also fired long-range volley just wide of the far post moments after.
The centre-back’s defensive colleagues Charlie Green and Brett Solkhon also saw headers of their
own kept out superbly by Adam Honour, while Buckby saw yet another headed chance float just
over the bar.
Neil Healey introduced Liam Boath into the derby clash in the 68th minute, and the midfielder
almost had an instant impact, with his long-range shot unlucky not to find the top corner.
Up the other end, it didn’t seem to be Lloyd Buckby’s day, as the Doughboys’ no. 6 saw another
headed chance come to nothing, this time with help from the safe hands of Desborough
goalkeeper Adam Honour.
Eni Agemoah-Davies’s introduction late in the game seemed to spark belief into the home side that
they could nick all three points in what proved a more-than-challenging contest for the team sitting
second in the league.
The midfielder saw a teasing strike float just over from close-range, but Agemoah-Davies would
make amends just two minutes into second-half stoppage time, as after receiving the ball from
fellow substitute Tom Iaciofino, the midfielder then curled a dangerous cross towards the far post,
where Brett Solkhon was waiting to head home what proved to be the winner; jubilation for the
Doughboys, despair for the visitors after a very positive performance from Neil Healey’s side.
FULL-TIME: WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN 1-0 DESBOROUGH TOWN