Men's 3rds edged out in top of the table clash
Good performance but not quite enough to win a tight contest
Kettering welcomed the league leaders, Cambridge South 4, in an early season "six-pointer". The visitors were obviously worried about the threat posed by the Kettering side because they felt the need to bolster their line-up with a few players who had featured for their 2nds/3rds earlier in the season.
The home side are developing every match they play and they are adding strength, guile and match-play to their already skillful style of hockey. Kettering started brightly and took the lead after great work down the right from the blossoming combination of Tom Storey and Paul Brooker. Their interplay set up Geoff Elliott whose initial shot was saved but Ben York was on-hand to pounce on the rebound. Unfortunately for Kettering, they could not hold on to the lead for long. Cambridge South had possession in the circle and the Kettering defence couldn't clear their lines. The loose ball was tucked away to draw the visitors level.
In the second half, the match carried on with the same high intensity as displayed in the first period. Kettering went on the attack and played some lovely intricate passing to penetrate the Cambridge circle. However, they were unable to fashion a clear goal-scoring opportunity. To rub salt into the wound, Cambridge regained possession and quickly broke downfield. Their centre-forward found himself one-on-one with keeper Ray Norwood and calmly slotted home.
The home side were not despondent and they kept on pressing for an equaliser. Throughout the second half, Kettering had several short corners but couldn't find a way past the Cambridge defence. The pivotal moment came halfway through the second period. Great work down the left by Ben York led to him crossing into Ethan Smart in the centre of the circle. As Smart was in the process of taking a reverse stick shot, he was clattered into by the opposition goalkeeper. The loose ball fell to Adam Mills who turned the ball home. Unfortunately for Kettering, the umpire had blown early. To make it a double whammy, the decision was only to award a short corner and not a penalty flick.
The pace of the match didn't drop and the home side kept pushing for another goal. This left more space at the back for the Cambridge winger to exploit. One of his mazy runs led to the award of a short corner which was converted with mis-hit shot that bobbled into the corner of the Kettering goal.
Cambridge South returned home with all three points but Kettering are improving every match and will look to exact revenge in the return fixture.
Next week, Kettering travel to face Cambridge Nomads in what promises to be another tight contest.
Cambridge Souths Version here Camb South v Kettering Report