2 - 1

Man of the match

Joe Whittaker

Tw…one fantastic goal

Lemon of the match

Nev Warren

Attempting to climb over one of the opposition

Always Celebrate Because You Never Know

Owen Russell

We had Captain Kerny back so the preparations for the visit of the strong Kettering Men’s 2s side to Fortress Long Road felt slightly more professional than last week. We had a kit bag, warm up balls, enough shirts, and a team sheet – yes, doing it this way is much better. However, it was pointed out in the lead up that we did win four-nil last week with a somewhat disjoined arrangement. But being able to warm up without having to ask to borrow balls from the opposition is less embarrassing.

The game started at a fast pace. Kerny was keen that we kept up with Kettering, which we did. However, the visitors’ class was obvious as they pushed hard and pinged the ball around with a clear competence and confidence. South were not deterred so we chased and harried, tackling where we could and keeping possession when we had the ball, then attacking with verve ourselves. The back line of Adam and Dylan, and occasionally NBM, knew they were in for a busy afternoon, as one booming long ball after another was driven in by Kettering.

When he is not at Disneyland stalking Snoop-Dog, Joe is an assured figure in the middle, breaking up the play and distributing expertly, digging us out of trouble and getting from the back foot to the front quickly.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring when one of the long balls found its way through and the quick-acting attacker managed to scramble the ball under George. Their confidence clearly racked up a notch. South didn’t roll over though and matched the increased intensity, using the subbing process well to keep legs fresh. We stuck to the task of unsettling the opposition, Pip nicking the ball continually all over the pitch. We didn’t get the ball into the D frequently but when we did we were effective. On one occasion Ed dribbled up the right hand side around the back and, after he’d tried a couple of times to get the ball over the defender’s stick, and then after Joe had had a go, it finally fell kindly for me to mis-hit it into the keeperless goal (only beating the guarding defender because of the mis-hit – yeah for bobblers).

Levelling the scores invigorated South and led to a couple more chances before half time as we took control of the game and had the better of it before the break.

The half time chat was positive and, again due to having the chief back, more effective and constructive than last week. We were doing well - keeping it up would certainly mean we were in with a good shout of getting some points.

For the first ten mins we were great – playing some really good hockey and creating great chances, whilst maintaining solidity at the back.

Can’t remember which happened first but Joe scored a goal and tried to convince everyone he had scored another. Both instances were a long hit into the D where an attempt was made by Joe to nick/deflect the ball past the keeper. One of the instances he did nick it and scored (cue wild celebrations). The earlier instance (which I insist on not calling a disallowed goal, as it was no such thing) he was miles away from getting a nick to it (but cue even wilder celebrations). So one counted: two-one!

I should really have made it three-one but, whilst the crowd had swelled to its peak as the M4s had showed up, I completely missed a through ball from Pip which would have put us clean through. Cheers and groans from the sidelines.

Kettering huffed and puffed but couldn’t get back into the game – we’d got our heads in front and we weren’t going to give it up. Into the dying minutes, George made two fantastic saves to deny the visitors before the final whistle went and the points were kept in Cambridge!

At some point in the first half Nev got stuck in the challenges and was maybe a bit too rough and ready, taking no prisoners in the tumbles - unanimously running away with LoM for the second week in a row.

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