A narrow defeat against high flying Nomads.
An eventful match for Ben!
This week saw 4s travelling away to Cambridge to face Nomads 3's on their notorious pitch. The heavy rain in the morning created a very slick and slippy surface which required some good astro turf shoes to stay upright.
No matter, the game got underway, with Shaun Curtis deputising for the injured skipper, who stood on the sidelines shouting encouragement and managing the subs (but more of that later).
Kettering started brightly with some good passing around the park orchestrated by NIck Cusk and Tim Plevin at the back. Particularly good movement down the right through Ben Smith and Tom Storey saw the Nomads defence put under some pressure. Down the left Adam Mills was showing all of his fitness and skills to ensure that their right back was not given an easy game. A couple of short corners were forced which Nomads and their giant keeper managed to deal with easily. In the first 20 minutes Nomads only mustered one attack of note which ended with the ball being fired wide.
A couple of substitutions at the back for Kettering caused some disruption in communication. Players were now being caught out of position. Nomads were experienced enough to capitalise on this with numerous forays into the Kettering D. On one of these attacks, which ultimately broke down, saw a Nomads player swing his stick in frustration catching Ben Smith across the forehead. He went down, thankfully no blood or broken skin, but after some first aid treatment decided to carry on. Two minutes later he asked to be substituted for an ice pack. Another change to the back line was forced. This caused further unrest and resulted in the five minutes that cost Kettering the game. On two occasions Nomads players waltzed through the defence to put in a killer pass for a forward to slot the ball home. If only the manager had held off on the subs for a few more minutes.
Towards the end of the half, Kettering settled back into their rhythm of play and resumed putting the opposition under pressure.
The second half turned into the carbon copy of the first. Kettering pushed up the pitch with the defenders joining the midfield play. Numerous short corners were one but again none could be forced home. The Nomads side were also showing there frustration with some robust play on occasions, particularly against the younger Kettering players. One incident involving a very angry Nomads central defender saw Ben Smith shoved to the ground whilst shielding the ball over the side line. Despite protestations from the sideline no card was shown, the player only receiving a lecture from the umpire.
Finally, the pressure came to fruition. Another short corner was one, the ball came to the top of the D for Phil Coward to strike the ball cleanly for it to bounce up off the keeper and into the goal. Spurred on 4s continued to toil and play some good hockey but to no avail.
All told a good game between two evenly matched sides.
Next week, sees 4's at home for the last time this season against Ely City 3's who site at the bottom of the league. This was building into the bottom of the league clash to see who finished last. But after they conceded their last game the importance is not so great. But buoyed by this performance 4s are looking to finish the season on a high and get some more points.