A Baptism of Fire for 4th's.
The league is a different matter when you are away to the league favorites.
Kettering 4th's began their league campaign against the runners up of the competition last year. Cambridge South have seen an influx of players over the close season which meant their current 4's have been bolstered by some 2nd and third team players. They are making a concerted effort to win the league this year.
Kettering went to Cambridge with high hopes and some confidence from their win over Saints last time out. A few enforced changes from that side brought in some young players for their league debuts and a couple of experienced players back from injury but this didn't dampen the enthusiasm. The plan was to keep it tight against the more experienced and competent side and then re-evaluate at half time to press forward.
At the whistle, Cambridge pressed forward. Passing confidently with pace and precision. They also had good movement and switched the play with some ease. However, for all of the confident play the Kettering defence held firm thwarting the numerous attacks. This continued for around 10 minutes and the inevitable happened. Cambridge pressing forward crossed the ball into the D which was diverted into the net.
The goal re-invigorated Cambridge who continued to press forward winning a number of short corners. But each was dealt with by the defence by hitting or diverting the ball wide. Kettering then counter attacked down the right just to see the ball saved by the Cambridge keeper. before Kettering could blink, the ball was then coming back at them. The Cambridge right winger, used all of their experience to ghost into the D catching the Kettering defence napping and getting off a shot. This was blocked but not cleared, the Cambridge attack pounced and knocked the ball in.
A tactical change by Kettering saw Mike Ramsay brought into midfield which provided more solidity and break up the Cambridge play. For the final ten minutes managed to put the Cambridge defence under pressure making them turn and actually defend. Both Mike Tanser and Wallace Cairns saw shots saved.
The second half played out much the same as the first. Cambridge pressed forward at every opportunity and found it difficult to get through midfield to attack. Then after an attack from Cambridge down the right saw Mike Ramsay clearing the ball. The Umpire blew for a foot and signalled a short corner. Mike disagreed with the decision and questioned the Umpire which resulted in a green card. To compound matters this was turned into a yellow due to continued questioning of Umpire. So down to 10 men the Kettering side was put under even more pressure and two more goals went in. Kettering then decided to try and push forward and stretch the play to seek a consolation goal but with no success.
6-0 at full time showed the difference between an experienced skilled team and the inexperience and some naivety of the Kettering side. The highlights for Kettering were the play of Hal Robinson and Joshua Cox, both showed that they had some hockey skills and importantly time on the ball despite playing in unfamiliar roles. Wallace Cairns showed strength and skill up front and just needs to work on his finishing. Dan Carter continued his good early season form without much luck for all of his endeavor. So despite the score the future is looking bright, a bit more experience and some stronger players returning should see better results.
You can read Cambridge South's version of events here:-
Cambridge South 4s match report