Kettering 3rd XI defeat St Ives with comprehensive and stylish performance
Wallace Cairns bags a hat-trick and man of the match award
Kettering visited St Ives for the second time in two weeks, this time to face the 5th XI. The team was determined to make up for the dropped points in the previous match and started the game in dominant fashion. The young team distributed the ball very effectively and frequently attacked down both wings. Adam Mills and Ben Smith were a constant threat with their attacking runs from deep. The entire team contributed to a slick passing display and Wallace Cairns looked in menacing form from the outset. Unfortunately for Kettering, Paul Brooker didn't have his shooting boots with him and he spurned a couple of gilt-edged chances.
Kettering broke the deadlock midway through the first half after a period of sustained pressure in the final third. They patiently probed for an opening with Geoff Elliott pulling the strings in midfield and Brooker applying his customary guile on the right wing. Finally, an opportunity was carved out in the circle and Cairns finished powerfully from close range. The visitors kept the pressure on St Ives which led to an interception by Brooker. The veteran displayed some silky skills to set up Cairns for a first-time finish. The Kettering purple patch showed no sign of abating and this time they attacked down the left. Tom Ward passed infield to skipper Neil Manley whose pass found Hal Robinson in space in the circle. The youngster showed great skill and vision to create an opportunity for Cairns who blasted home from the top of the circle. Despite more chances for Cairns and Ben York, Kettering couldn't add to their goal tally and went into the break 3-0 to the good.
In the second half, the visitors looked to press home their advantage and not let St Ives back into the game. Tom Ward and Nick Cusk controlled the defence and gave Kettering a strong platform to attack from. After 10 minutes, they pushed down the right wing through Smith and Robinson. When the ball came across into the circle, Elliott was on hand to finish with style.
The home side were struggling to cope with Kettering's attacking play and relied upon speculative long hits up the field to relieve the pressure. Mills started an attack from his own half which culminated in Jacob Tattersall receiving the ball in the circle. His neat skills were too much for the St Ives defence and a short corner was awarded. From the set-piece Cusk fired in a powerful flick into the roof of the net that no keeper would have kept out.
Although Kettering weren't quite as fluent as in the first half, they kept pressing forward. Another attack was launched down the right wing and the ball was played into the circle. The defenders tried to clear their lines but only managed to find Tom Storey on the edge of "D". He fired a shot into the far corner of the goal to grab his second goal in successive matches.
With five minutes to go, Kettering blotted their copybook and allowed St Ives to score a consolation goal. A ball across the circle reached a home player who was unmarked and he shot past the helpless, and hitherto untroubled Ray Norwood.
All in all, it was a terrific team performance from the young 3rd team with every player contributing to a great win. Next week Kettering entertain Ely City 2nds in the first of a series of tough fixtures.