Kettering 3rd XI held to a draw against Nomads
Wonder goal from the Smart family not enough to seal victory
Kettering 3rd XI travelled to Cambridge Nomads 3 with the aim of getting back to winning ways. During the initial exchanges, Kettering were on top but couldn't carve out clear-cut chances. They were a little too anxious to score and as a result tried to make high-risk passes instead of keeping possession.
After 25 minutes, Cambridge had a breakaway and managed to get round the back of the Kettering defence. Their forward was free on the penalty spot and managed to flick the ball past goalkeeper Ray Norwood.
At half-time, skipper Neil Manley urged his players to have more patience in attack and also show more hunger and desire to compete for 50-50 balls. The young side responded magnificently and put in a much improved display in the second half.
From the whistle, Kettering dominated and forced a number of penalty corners. Adam Duell fired in a powerful shot that was heading towards the bottom corner until the Cambridge keeper made a desperate dive to his right and deflect the shot wide. Moments later Ethan Smart picked up a loose ball in the circle and flicked towards the target. Unfortunately for him, a Cambridge defender was able to swat the ball off the goal-line.
Still Kettering pressed and Graham Smart was the next person to come close. He found space from a short corner but his shot tamely went wide of the right-hand post.
Midway through the half, the visitors deservedly drew level. Tom Storey capped a fine display when he recycled the ball from the right wing. The ball was transferred across to Graham Smart who advanced from the halfway line. He lasered in a 35 metre pass with pinpoint accuracy to his son, Ethan, at the near post. The faintest of deflections was sufficient to take the ball into the goal before the home defence could react.
Kettering had their tails up now and pushed forward for the winner. Storey burst into the circle and bravely challenged the keeper. He came off second-best but wasn't injured. Wallace Cairns grew increasingly influential as he terrorised the home defence. He had the chance to score but the giant Cambridge goalkeeper was able to smother his shot. Kettering won a couple of short corners towards the end of the match but couldn't make them tell, so had to settle for a point.
Next week, Kettering entertain the 4th XI in an intra-club league fixture.
Report from Cambridge Nomads