Men's 3rds continue their winning run
Kettering make heavy weather of it
Kettering Men's 3rd XI continued their impressive start to the season with their third win on the trot. Given the presence of storm Brian, it was apt that they made heavy weather of the match.
With several absentees, Kettering captain Neil Manley had to shuffle his pack and bring in some recruits from the 4th XI. Wallace Cairns and Hal Robinson made their debut in the 3rds but there was no signs of nerves as both produced very assured performances.
The home side started brightly and veteran Paul Brooker made the initial breakthrough. He picked the ball up in space, drove into the circle and picked his spot. His unerring accuracy was too good for the St Ives keeper. Kettering continued to dominate and Cairns forced a good save from the talented St Ives goalie. Manley was able to deflect a Geoff Elliott pass towards goal but this time luck was on the side of St Ives as the ball hit the keeper and went wide.
Kettering deservedly extended their lead through their skipper. Manley picked up the ball and exploited the space afforded to him by the visitors' defence to stride into the circle. His powerful shot was goalbound but, for good measure, it flew into the goal via a defender's leg.
The home side kept pressing forward and should have scored more. Good chances came and went for Cairns, Brooker and Elliott. Youngster Robinson also tested the keeper on several occasions. However, a combination of good defence and Kettering profligacy meant that it remained 2-0 at the break.
Kettering knew the third goal would be crucial to kill off the game and they started the second half in determined fashion. However, once again they were thwarted by the St Ives defence. Ten minutes into the half, the visitors were thrown a lifeline. Their speedy winger outpaced the Kettering defence and rolled the ball past the onrushing keeper, Ray Norwood.
The home side redoubled their efforts and went in search of another goal. Ben York and Adam Mills worked tirelessly and caused the St Ives defence lots of problems. They grew increasingly desperate in their attempts to keep Kettering at bay. After another great spell of interplay, Kettering had a shot blocked by a defender who threw himself across the goal; the loose ball fell to Tom Ward who seemed to be taken out by the keeper; another goalbound shot was blocked on the line - this time illegally - and finally a penalty flick was awarded. Up stepped captain Manley to calmly send the keeper the wrong way and convert the flick and restore the two-goal cushion.
That should have marked the end of the St Ives resistance but they refused to give up. Buoyed by Kettering's inability to kill the game off, the visitors got another goal back. Inexplicably, the goal was a carbon copy of their first one. Instead of learning from their earlier mistake, the home defence did the same thing and the result was also the same.
St Ives had their tails up but Kettering were able to keep their composure and close the game out and seal a 3-2 victory. Next week Kettering entertain St Ives 5th XI.
Here is the St Ives view of events:-
St Ives report of game v Kettering 3rds