Mens 3rd XI hit a brick wall
Kettering thwarted by impressive Ely City defence
Kettering 3rd XI entertained Ely City 2 and started brightly enough but the home defence was caught napping after five minutes. An Ely forward evaded several tackles and managed to slide a pass across goal for a colleague to tap the ball home at the far post. Kettering tried to regroup after this initial setback but after 15 minutes found themselves two down. An Ely forward mis-controlled a ball which bounced over the Kettering defender, the forward then kicked the ball as he broke into the circle. Unfortunately, this was missed by the umpires and the visiting player was happy to see his shot evade Ray Norwood in the Kettering goal.
However, Kettering are made of stern stuff and they refused to be cowed. They gradually ramped up the pressure with Wallace Cairns leading the forward line to good effect. A series of short corners were obtained but the pattern for the rest of the match was set when attack after attack was foiled by a resolute Ely defence. A well-worked set-piece created a chance for Paul Brooker but he couldn't convert. Finally, the breakthrough came, once again from a short corner. A goalbound shot hit an Ely foot so a penalty flick was awarded. Skipper Neil Manley converted to half the deficit. With their tails up, Kettering should have scored from yet another short corner, but Cairns was unable to get the vital touch.
In the second half, Kettering continued to dominate possession and a further raft of penalty corners were won but the Ely defence, including an excellent goalkeeper, foiled the hosts. From an open-play move, Manley thought he'd equalised but his goal-bound shot was deflected past the post by the toes of the goalkeeper. Subsequently, Brooker had another great chance from a short corner but again it was snuffed out. Ely were happy to hit Kettering on the break and managed to win a short corner of their own. A deflected shot found its way into the unguarded corner of the Kettering goal. To rub salt into the wound, Ely made it four from another short corner, this time flicked across the goal.
There was still time for Kettering to press forward and they finally got a goal from a short corner. Brooker's initial shot was saved but he smartly followed up the rebound.
Kettering were disappointed with the result but the outstanding defence from Ely got the visitors the three points they deserved.
Next week Kettering look to bounce back against the league leaders, Cambridge South 4.