Horncastle 0 - 3 Kettering
Kettering back on track
Kettering travelled the long road north for the second time in 8 days to face Horncastle, expecting another tough encounter, after last seasons 2-2 draw in this fixture.
Things started badly with one Kettering player having to back out last minute through illness, leaving Kettering once again with the unenviable task of having no substitutes for the game.
However, this was a strong Kettering side, with a match under their belt since Christmas/New Year, so fitness shouldn't have been, and wasn't in the end, an issue.
Kettering started much the stronger of the two sides, and saw pressure being applied from the off, with some more of the usual crisp passing that they have come to expect, and that has seen them on their day be unplayable. There were still some slack passes, and some very poorly connected balls (and on a couple of occasions completely missed attempted to hit a ball). But these were few and far between, and the Kettering forwards were playing some great hockey in the right areas.
The pressure eventually told as Kettering were awarded their first of what would be many short corners, which was played short from Simon Evans to Adam Duell, who duly found the back corner. More chances came and went (something to work on), including a couple of other short corner routines, one of which very nearly saw George York touch the ball in. It wasn't to be though, as his deflection went narrowly wide.
York did get his goal though, as a typical fast breakout saw captain Ricky Payne slide a ball between two Horncastle midfielders to Simon Evans, whose pass across to James Hogg was equally accurate. 'Hoggy' had the opportunity to shoot, but saw the better option of George York unmarked at the back post, and a final pass across the goal left the Horncastle 'keeper no chance as young York calmly slotted home.
After a simple half time talk, it was 'same again please' for the second half, where more pressure came from the Kettering line, and as they had for the entire first half, the Kettering defence quickly and firmly shut out any sniff of a chance that Horncastle might have thought they had after a breakaway or a rare foray into the Kettering 25..
There was one last goal in for Kettering though, once more from a short corner. A carbon copy of the first goal saw Adam Duell double his tally for the day, and end the game as a contest.
Kettering did have their chances, but a combination of poor final balls in and good goalkeeping kept the score down.
It was a very enjoyable game, and credit should be given to Horncastles players for a well played game, and a very clean game. And also to the umpires, who kept the game flowing well and helped make the game as enjoyable as it was.
We must also wish Horncastle the best of luck tomorrow, as they entertain table topping Wellingborough, whilst Kettering will entertain a March side that will be looking for revenge for the 0-6 reverse in the first game of the season.