Great start to 2018 for Men's 3rd XI
Convincing win against St Neots 5
Kettering Men's 3rd XI started their 2018 campaign with a convincing win over a young but resilient St Neots 5 side. The home side wanted to start the game on the front foot and got the dream start. Andy Bull's shot from a penalty corner was saved but Kettering skipper Neil Manley was on hand to score with a lifted shot from the rebound. "Bully" was a constant thorn in the side of the St Neots defence and his good link-up play with Paul Brooker set up Ben York to double the Kettering lead.
The home side kept up the pressure which led to Graham Smart intercepting a defensive clearance. He passed to Brooker who unselfishly drew the keeper off his line and switched to Bull to comfortably slot home a third goal for Kettering,
After 20 minutes, Manley managed to squeeze a cross through to York who made no mistake in front of goal and tucked the ball calmly home.
To St Neots' credit, their youngsters grew into the game and they did not let their heads go down. Before the end of the half, there was still time for York to spurn a golden opportunity for his hat-trick. Brooker put in a delightful cross that only needed to be touched in but York couldn't manage to get the vital contact.
In the second half, Kettering made a couple of formation changes that allowed some of the youngsters to demonstrate their versatility. Tom Storey showed that he is comfortable across the whole midfield and Adam Mills slotted in calmly to centre-back. After five minutes, Kettering extended their lead. Andy Bull collected the ball at the top of the circle, spun on a sixpence and despatched a fierce shot past the St Neots keeper. As the game went on, Hal Robinson became more and more influential down the right wing. He had good interchanges with Ben Smith and Jacob Tattersall that created numerous chances but a combination of good defending and Kettering profligacy kept the score unchanged. With 15 minutes to go, Manley threaded a ball through to Robinson who had made a great run behind the St Neots defence. The youngster kept his composure and slotted the ball home to make it 6-0.
After that, things became a bit more fraught for Kettering. First, York was sin-binned for a poor tackle. Then, keeper Ray Norwood had a rush of blood to the head and kicked the ball outside of his circle and he too was temporarily sent off. Neil Manley played as a kicking back and his first job was to defend a short corner. A shot came in but in concert with Justin Smith, the ball was cleared.
Once they were back to full strength, Kettering pressed for another goal but to no avail.
In the end, a good win for Kettering especially considering it was the first match after the festive break. Next week Kettering travel to St Ives 4 for a tough match against a league rival.