Kettering pull it out the bag
By Laura Beacon
A must win game brings out the best in Kettering Ladies 1s
Well there’s nothing like leaving it to the last minute!! Kettering Ladies XI pulled out what was perhaps their best performance of the season today in a must-win game against Tamworth. Not only winning but doing so convincingly with an exceptional team performance.
Both sides were playing to stay in the league but Kettering needed a win and Tamworth only a draw; Kettering it seemed had the fire needed today to perform. The start of the game saw a loose pass picked up by their centre forward who earned her team a penalty corner, which Kettering fortunately defended and then it was game on. Kettering moved the ball swiftly through the team, making a number of one-touch passes and breaking down any form of attack Tamworth tried to mount. Kettering had a few opportunities before finally getting the much needed goal. A penalty corner won by Laura Beacon, allowed her a straight strike from the top, which fell to the post defender who in trying the clear the ball, deflected it into her own net. A fine finish if she had intended it, and just the stroke of luck Kettering needed!
A second goal soon followed as player of the match Imogen Smith took the ball from the centre player and started the ball moving down the pitch. Mandy Starsmore-Young was found with space in the circle but rather than take the shot saw that Charlie Fowle was free to the square of her. As the defender closed down Fowle, she slipped the ball back to Starsmore-Young who then finished the ball at close range.
Kettering did not want to relinquish their pressure though leading to a couple of green cards for some hard but late tackling by Megan Forader and Ola Bednarzcyk. This didn’t deter the team and if anything made it harder for Tamworth to play against us as we showed our determination to hold onto the lead.
The second half should have seen more goals from Kettering as they settled and started to enjoy the game. Opportunities fell to Forader, Sophie Reynolds and Toni Hustwait, but none quite find the target. It seemed that Tamworth had all but given up by the end of the half which allowed Emma Storey and Sophie Richardson to push up and show off their attacking skills as well as their defensive. Constant running for Harriet Goswell up front ensured that the opposition defence were never able to rest and excellent distribution of the ball by Cath Irvin and Beth Winfield completed the performance on pitch. On the occasions that Tamworth did break through, Nik Baker was on fine form today to deny any chance to score.
Kettering not only saved themselves from the relegation battle but ended up finishing 7th in the table above Tamworth, Stone and Towcester!
For what has been a tough season for a number of reasons it was a relief to finish today having won, avoided the relegation play-off and having enjoyed the game that we all love to play!
Bring on next season!