Kettering 3rd XI held to a draw against St Ives 4
Fair result on reflection
Kettering welcomed Nick Cusk into the team to bolster the defence and they started the match brightly. Wallace Cairns put the home defenders under pressure which helped create chances for his team mates. After 10 minutes Kettering took a deserved lead. A well-rehearsed short routine saw the ball switched to Tom Storey who saw the keeper was off balance and calmly tucked the ball through his legs and into the goal.
St Ives gradually asserted themselves more on the game but strong tackling from Adam Mills, Tom Ward and Ben York made sure that Ray Norwood in the Kettering goal was never seriously threatened.
In the second half, St Ives increased the physicality of their challenges and only kept a full complement of players thanks to some lenient umpiring.
Man of the match Phil Coward began to have more of an impact on the game as he strode forward from defence and set up attacks for Kettering. Paul Brooker and Storey combined well down the right hand side of the pitch while great work from Cairns set up a chance for York but the ball slipped agonisingly wide.
As time went on, the game got stretched and there were incidents at both ends. Ben Smith made a superb last ditch interception to stop a St Ives goal. Kettering nearly doubled their lead when York deflected an aerial ball just past the post and then shortly afterwards Coward was on hand to block a goal-bound shot.
Finally, the home side managed to pierce the Kettering defence. A ball into the circle wasn't cleared, ricocheted around and then fell to a St Ives forward to slide it into an unguarded goal.
Kettering tried to re-double their efforts in the final ten minutes and came close when Paul Brooker burst into the circle, only to be stopped by a fairly cynical challenge. Unfortunately for the visitors, the resultant short corner wasn't converted.
With the last action of the match St Ives were awarded a short corner of their own but justice was done when Kettering cleared the danger.
All in all, Kettering weren't at their free-flowing best and so a point apiece represents a fair result. Next week Kettering return to St Ives, this time to face their 5th XI.
For St Ives version of events click here