The new Evo-Stik Southern League leaders ended United’s winning run on the road.
Kettering maintained their 100 per cent home record with a 3-0 victory over the Puritans in Tuesday’s premier division clash with goals from Brett Solkhon, Ben Milnes and a late penalty from Rene Howe.
Ford said: “We were well beaten and I have to give Kettering credit, they were excellent and played to their strengths. I can understand our fans’ frustration but my players never gave up.
“I set up with three central defenders because I knew that would be the way Kettering played. But Rene Howe was almost unplayable, they made life very difficult for us defensively.
“We haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league for weeks, so I think I was entitled to play three at the back, especially against a team like Kettering. But I don’t think that cost us the result, I just feel our lack of experience told and our more experienced players didn’t click.
“At 1-0, we spoke at halftime about not conceding again in the second half but we gave away a ridiculous free-kick and then they get a late penalty. We didn’t concede in open play, the goals have come from a corner, a free-kick and a penalty.
“They pressed us really well and we gave the ball away a lot but I’m not going to be too critical of my team. But when you play against a big, strong team you have defend set-pieces very well.
“I had a couple of players who didn’t start the game too well and suffered as it went on. We’ve been beaten by a team which plays to its strengths in front of a big crowd and we just couldn’t cope with it.
“But the only way you gain experience is from playing and some my younger players will have learned a lot from the defeat. It was a big learning curve for a lot of my players.”