A few Sparks but no Fireworks for 4's.
Another difficult game.
Kettering 4's started the match in good spirits and confidence. The skipper returned after taking a restful break and recharging his batteries. Tim McDowell, Josh Cox and Hal Robinson made a return. Alistair Brooking made his league debut in goal. Finally Simon Davey who was making a return to Hockey after three and a half, made his first start for the club.
The match started with Cambridge having to employ a kicking back, Whilst their keeper was in the changing rooms getting his pads on after getting to the ground late. Kettering pushed forward to take advantage but couldn't get a clean shot away. The keeper made an appearance after 5 minutes and Cambridge strode forward dynamically. Play was stopped when the umpires spotted that they had one too many players on the pitch.
Early on Kettering strived and tried but they couldn't get their passing game going. There was no rhythm to the play. Players were keeping hold of the ball too long and were getting caught in possession. Cambridge were playing a forceful game and driving into the box after every opportunity. Eventually the pressure told and a string of penalty corners were given away by Kettering. Before long Kettering were 3 nil down after one goal and a couple of penalty flicks. This continued throughout the first half, substitutions were made but Kettering couldn't get their game going and eventually went into the first half 6 nil down.
In the second half Kettering did change their approach making a conscious effort to hold a higher defensive line and try to challenge more in midfield. This made a difference and they became more competitive. A good move saw the ball go into the D where Tony Heath managed to pass the ball to Tom Sheffield who swept it confidently passed the Cambridge Keeper scoring his first goal of the season. The game went backwards and forwards for a while but Cambridge proved to be too strong with players making strong drives into the box. A further 4 goals were scored including another penalty shot to end a bad day for the Kettering team.
Despite a difficult day between the posts, Alistair made a number of excellent saves he was also very dynamic and didn't seem phased with facing older opponents. A couple of saves are worthy of note to demonstrate his obvious talent. the first was from a lifted flick from the top of the D which was headed to the top corner. Alistair didn't panic and blocked the shot using his stick deflecting it wide of the post. The second goal save came when Cambridge had a three on one, a smart pass saw them clear on goal. Alistair made himself as large as possible taking up an excellent position to cut down the angles available. The shot came in and a confident stride saw the shot deflected past the goal from his pad. A performance to be proud of despite the final score, the defence need to do better to protect the young keeper in future matches.
St Neots 5's are the opposition in the next match. the final chance for Kettering to get some points on the board before matches against the league leaders begin.
Cambridge South complimentary view of events can be found here:- Camb South 5ths v Kettering 4ths