Promising start to 2018 despite the result.
A penalty flick denied which could have made a difference.
Kettering 4's started 2018 with the visit of St Ives 5's. The last meeting in October proved to be a competitive with St Ives winning by 4 goals to nil. This match proved to be much of the same.
Early exchanges, saw Kettering start strongly with some confident passing and good movement. In particular both Josh Cox and Gavin Ferries threatened down the wings. Dan Carter also had a strong game seeming to be everywhere from mid field to leading the line. St Ives were on the back foot but the goal wouldn't come.
St Ives then broke out of defense, moving the ball quickly through midfield to find the Kettering defense isolated and the ball ended in the back of the net. But heads weren't bowed and Kettering continued with their confident play and forced a couple of short corners. A well worked move saw Lee Paris inject the ball to the top of the D. Nigel Parkes then hit the to the left of the goal for Lee to knock the ball past the keeper.
Both teams continued in a similar vain until just before the break St Ives found the back of the net from a short corner. 2-1 at half time.was harsh but Kettering were still confident of a result.
A reflection of many games this season saw Kettering go forward early after the break and press the opposition seeking a goal. A well worked passing move saw Lee Paris receive the ball at the top of the area in some space with just a defender and keeper to beat . taking it wide to the right beating the player saw Lee meet an onrushing keeper who slid into make the block bringing him down in the process. A stonewall penalty flick you would have thought but the referee decided to award a penalty corner instead which was defended well by the opposition.
St Ives made some tactical changes to their team in the second half which saw them gain more of the ball. The Kettering defense were put under sustained pressure with numerous last ditch clearances and tackles being made. This resulted in another short corner being scored and then the goal of the game saw St Ives young player, Josh Bigwood receive the ball and drive across the top of the D to then hit a reverse stick shot which saw the ball streak through a number of players and beating the keeper to pass inside the left post.
As per usual Kettering, continued to play, throwing more men forward to seek some solace in a consolation goal which just wouldn't come.
Special praise should go to the Kettering keeper, Alistair Brooking who with every game is growing in confidence and developing as a player. He made some crucial saves , organised the defense well and on a number of occasions chose the correct moment to rush out of goal to kick the ball away. For his overall performance a well deserved man of the match award was earned.
The weekend for 4's doesn't stop. Sunday is the home game against the league leaders postponed from December.