We like to do this the hard way!
Continued good performance despite the score line.
At the halfway point of the season, Kettering 4's are bottom of the league with no points. However, the team that came out to play today compared to the team that started the season are chalk and cheese. A good performance despite the score bodes well for the second half.
Today, Kettering 4's hosted Ely City 2's who are sitting comfortably in mid table. Buoyed by a good performance of a week ago, they set out determined to continue and play equally well and surprise the visitors. This week we had guest appearances from Matt Coe in goal, Phil Rowbotham in defence and Ben York out on the wing. A few changes but the core of the team remained.
The opening few minutes showed the intent and 4's put Ely under a bit of pressure with some robust determined and skillful play. A couple of chances were created and unfortunately not capitalised on. Ely appeared to be expecting an easy game in those opening minutes and they took a while to settle in.
Unfortunately, they settled in pretty well after realising that we weren't going to roll over and they began to have a few forays forward threatening the Kettering defence. Then to make life interesting Kettering decided to make life difficult for themselves with two defensive errors which lead to two easy Ely goals. 2 nil down early on in the half threatened to put the game out of reach but the 4's have developed a more determined streak in recent weeks and continued to put into practice their game plan of pressing high up the pitch, competing for all loose balls and putting the opposition under pressure. The score was held until half time with only a couple of further chances at either end. The ball did find its way into the back of the Ely net after a a cross from the Kettering right being powered across the face of goal and an Ely defender turning it in after being pressured by Ben Mayes. Disallowed for not finding a Kettering stick.
The second half began with Kettering thrusting forward again with determination and good movement. Simon Davey continues to find his feet and was always available to receive and hold the ball up front for the other players to run off. Lee Paris has also begun to be match honed and being a part of the team. Drifting wide and pulling the Ely defence around the park. But the younger players all deserve a mention with some accomplished and composed play against the stronger Ely players.
Persistence paid off for Kettering with the ball being passed nicely into the D and Lee Paris managing to turn it in for his second of the season.
After the goal the game turned into a match that flowed end to end with Kettering pressing forward at every opportunity and Ely counter attacking quickly and at pace. However, as much as Kettering toiled further chances were created but the ball stubbornly refused to go in. With every Ely counter attack a goal scoring opportunity was created, a few were hit wide, a few were scored and a few were saved. Matt Coe put in a man of the match performance in goal. On numerous occasions he had to deal with "one on ones" but none got through. He also managed to use his stick on at least two occasions to clear the ball whilst he was spread on the deck after diving in to stop the attack. he also commanded the D to make sure that Ely had to play well to create their chances.
Overall Kettering were beaten by a highly accomplished team with no obvious weaknesses. But all the players take heart from the fact that we managed to compete and not give up. Next week we welcome the League leaders to Kettering and the team we faced back in September in our first match. Will they notice the difference in our play?