Mens 3rd XI unlucky to only take a point from league leaders
Ben York puts in a man-of-the-match performance
On paper this looked like it would be a closely-fought contest and the match lived up to expectations. The visiting Kettering side knew they would have to match the physicality of the older, more experienced Cambridge South 4th XI and the youngsters did themselves proud.
From the outset, Wallace Cairns and Dan Carter gave the opposition no time on the ball and this helped Kettering get the better of the early exchanges. Ben York and Tom Storey probed down the wings while veterans Geoff Elliott and Neil Manley anchored the centre of midfield. Both sides kept striving for an elusive clear-cut chance and Kettering had the first opportunity. Nick Cusk fired in a strong shot but it was deflected wide.
Somewhat against the run of play, the hosts took the lead after 20 minutes. Their pacy yet volatile young forward broke through a couple of tackles and was able to slide the ball past Ray Norwood in the Kettering goal. The Kettering team were a bit shell-shocked for the next five minutes and were indebted to Norwood for a couple of vital blocks. However, the visitors regained their composure and finished the first half strongly again.
Kettering knew they were playing well and they retained their self-belief and tenacity into the second period. Josh Cox, making his 3rd team debut, made some composed passes in midfield in an assured display. The entire team really dug deep and played some great hockey with triangles and quick, short passes being made all over the pitch. Despite some overly-physical tackling, Kettering kept their cool (with the exception of a couple of senior players) and let their skills do the talking.
Since they were on top, the Kettering defence took the opportunity to push forward, so the attack was bolstered by Ben Smith, Phil Coward and Tom Ward. One such attack saw York released down the right channel but he was brought down by a sliding tackle that should have received harsher punishment. Undettered, Kettering ploughed on and earned a penalty corner. Nick Cusk unleashed a powerful flick that the keeper just managed to deflect over the bar with his stick. The dominance continued and yet again York was felled by a sliding tackle this time resulting in a green card for the offender.
York is made of tough stuff and has great skill to boot, so he took retribution in the best way. An attack down the left wing ended up with the ball in the corner of the pitch. York was in possession and was surrounded by several opponents with only his skipper Manley for support. The Kettering youngster showed great skill, strength, composure and vision to take the ball out of the corner and pass across to Wallace Cairns in the centre of the pitch. The steadily improving Cairns looked round to see that Phil Coward had sneaked into the circle from his central defensive position. A perfect pass found Coward in plenty of space and he picked his spot perfectly to find the corner of the goal.
In the final five minutes Cambridge South tried to raise themselves but their long-ball tactics were comfortably dealt with by the Kettering defence.
In summary, a great display from the Kettering team against the champions-elect. Next week they entertain Cambridge Nomads 3rd XI.
This is what South thought Cambridge South v Kettering