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Kettering Town 3-1 Kingstonian

In their first 360 minutes of football this season, Kettering Town had failed to record a single goal. After 90 minutes of playing Kingstonian, they had three. And they really should have had more.

The signs looked good for K's as they travelled to Rockingham Road looking for their first ever victory there. Gary Patterson, who made a brief appearance on Bank Holiday Monday, was available to start, and a reshuffle up front meant that Eddie Akuamoah was playing in his more accustomed role alongside Sammy Winston. A "team huddle" before the start showed that the players knew that they had to get something out of the game.

Brett McNamara started for the home side. He was the player who disgraced himself at Wembley in the Trophy Final against K's last May by tripping himself to win a penalty if you'd forgotten. None of the travelling K's-ites had forgotten, but the abuse heaped upon the number eleven seemed to inspire him to play above himself. His was the first shot of the game after just two minutes and Richard Hurst was pleased to see it fly just wide. McNamara then played a good ball down the line to Dale Watkins on the left. His cross was met by Carl Shutt who just cleared the bar.

As though the Poppies weren't already creating enough chances, K's did all they could to craft another for them. Richard Hurst kicked out from his hands, but he got his direction ever so slightly wrong, smacking the ball against the back of the retreating Eddie Saunders. The ball dropped to Shutt who blasted over when he really should have done better. Hurst breathed again.

The first half an hour of this game really did belong to the league's bottom side. Hurst was called upon to make a very good save when Niall Inman connected with a knock-down from McNamara six yards out. But just a few minutes later Hurst was called upon to pick the ball out of his net.

McNamara - the Wembley cheat - picked up the ball on the left and ran at Derek Allan in the Kingstonian area. Right in front of the travelling fans, the winger knocked the ball past the defender and fell to the ground. Uproar ensued with the referee waving away claims for a penalty and the Kingstonian defence telling McNamara just what they thought of him. But with the game going on, the ball was thrown to the winger on the left, his cross deflected off of Allan and Watkins headed in at the near post. The K's defence was obviously still thinking about the previous incident, but Kettering had shown exactly how to get on with the game.

The last ten minutes of the half finally saw K's show some of their undoubted attacking prowess. Sammy Winston - suspended for the next three games - and Eddie Akuamoah combined to set Geoff Pitcher free on the right. His cross was met by the onrushing Colin Luckett whose shot flew just wide of Steve Wilson's right-hand post. Just moments later, and David Bass sent a ball through for Pitcher, who was flagged for offside, whose shot hit the outside of the post. The half finished with Mark Beard running through a very square Kettering defence only for his attempted lob to be put off for a corner by Wilson.

The start of the second forty-five minutes saw one good chance for the visitors, when Sammy Winston beat Colin Vowden on the left and cut into the area. The covering from Chris Perkins was superb, and the tackle even better. Any mistake would have meant a certain penalty, but he got it just right to send the ball away.

At the other end Richard Hurst got punished for holding onto the ball for more than 6 seconds, but luckily Kettering couldn't capitalise on that. But they did capitalise on the next defensive mistake.

A long ball was played over the K's defence, and Hurst made his way to collect it. Unfortunately Eddie Saunders didn't realise where his goalkeeper was going and so decided to head the ball away. He did so, and it landed at the feet of Inman. His first time shot went straight between the posts, and with Hurst stranded out to the right the lead was doubled.

There was still over half an hour to go and it really looked as though Kettering could completely embarrass K's. Watkins tried a spectacular volley from a McNamara cross but sent it just inches wide. Hurst was then called upon to save his side again when Saunders allowed a long ball to escape him with Watkins running onto it. Hurst's hand stopped the shot and Saunders had recovered enough to clear the follow up shot from Shutt off the line.

The third goal came on 68 minutes, and it was a simple affair. An Inman cross from the right was met by Watkins at the far post and he headed past Hurst. And with over 20 minutes to go it looked like the home side could put an end to their goal drought with a hat-full.

A triple substitution saw the introduction of three strikers for K's: Allen, Green and Simba. They couldn't do much when McNamara headed over just seconds after their introduction, but to be fair they did produce more than the side had up until now.

What proved to be just a consolation goal was scored with ten minutes to go when a long punt from Mark Harris was collected by Lee Allen on the right. His cross found Pitcher who cut back behind a defender before coolly slotting home. Thoughts of a possible revival were short-lived, as Kettering went straight down the other end to almost restore their three-goal cushion. Fortunately Ian Ridgway shot just wide.

Pitcher did almost pull another goal back when a tackle on Ronnie Green saw the ball spill to him on the edge of the box. Whilst Green and others appealed for a penalty, Pitcher concentrated on his shot, but sent it just over the bar. The last real chance fell to Amara Simba, but his left-footed poke hit Pitcher on the back and looped over.

And so in the end it didn't really seem that bad. Three-one isn't a demolition by any stretch of the imagination, but that is what this was. Kettering could, and should, have scored six or seven. That they didn't is down to bad finishing on their part. Kingstonian, on the other hand, were lucky to get one. The defence looked rocky, the midfield couldn't pass the ball and the attack that started the game couldn't finish.

Chapple has threatened to make changes for Tuesday's game if the side hadn't shown an improvement, so expect to see a side packed full of reserves when the hoops run out against Nuneaton on Tuesday evening. Because, quite simply, the fourteen who played in this game were not good enough.

Sat 2nd Sep 2000
Rockingham Road
Football Conference
Kettering Town3
1Richard Hurst
2Mark Beard
3Colin Luckett
4Eddie Saunders12
5Derek Allan
6Mark Harris
7David Bass
8Geoff Pitcher
9Sammy Winston13
10Gary Patterson
11Eddie Akuamoah16
12Amara Simba4
13Lee Allen9
14Simon Stewart
15Junior Kadi
16Ronnie Green11
Man of the Match
Eddie Saunders
Eddie Saunders
Match Report By
Gary Ekins