|Date||Saturday 13 December 2014|
|Match||Kettering Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Division One Central|
Steve Castle chose to go with defensive experience over youth in this challenging fixture against title favourites Kettering Town on a cold, but bright afternoon and for 42 minutes these chosen players more than dealt with the movement and threat of potentially the best strike force in the league and the whole team stood up and competed at a higher level than we have seen in recent matches in a tight and intriguing contest.
There was no doubting the desire and commitment of both teams in the first half as they battled on a heavy, slippery pitch to carve out rare and decisive goal scoring chances.
Kaan Fehmi, looking lively throughout the game, put in a fine top corner seeking shot on 12 minutes only to see it matched by a class diving tip over from Richard Knight in the Poppies’ goal. In the Crows’ goal we saw Ron Yates put in an impressive 90 minutes – not withstanding the final score – and he made two top drawer saves from in-form Kettering striker Elliot Sandy.
Scott Bridges had a decent chance on 37 minutes when he possibly should have done better when he was found with a cross ball but his half hit shot was easily blocked by Steve Kinniburgh.
This game was changed on 42 minutes when Scott Bridges was shown a straight red card after kicking out at Jason Lee after they both chased down a central through ball. Lee’s reaction was disappointing as no contact was made but he still rolled around as if violently attacked and the influence of this and other Kettering player’s protests on the referee’s decision saw the influential midfielder leave the pitch.
The second half and ultimately the match belonged to the home side.
Castle chose not to immediately change anything and the 10 men came out with reasonable intent but 5 minutes in Kettering took the lead as Kinniburgh’s cross was only half cleared and fell to Andy Hall who shot low and accurately into the Royston net.
Three minutes later and this match as a contest was effectively over as the increasingly effective David Kolodynski, who had been kept reasonably quiet in the first half, forced a hurried clearance from Yates who was let down by Stuart Bridges’ poor control as he was quickly disposed by Sandy 40 yards out who cleverly and skilfully lobbed the ball over defence and scrambling keeper to punish this poor passage of play.
Royston rallied slightly and Reece Dobson had a half effort easily saved and Fehmi wasted a great chance as a corner was cleverly flicked on and he found himself 4 yards out but blasted over the bar.
Royston stretched themselves further playing three at the back to try and get back in this game but Kettering’s response was emphatic bringing on another superb striker, Dubi Ogbonna, to play alongside Sandy and Kolodynski as the Poppies went for the jugular.
On 67 minutes Kolodynski opened his account for his new club, deflecting Ogbonna’s goalward shot past the helpless Yates.
Yates spared Royston’s blushes with a series of good saves and veteran Dave Theobald had a decent match at centre-half, but eventually the weight of superior numbers and the top quality and efficient Poppies’ strike-force added to the score-line.
On 72 minutes Yates made another fine stop from a Andy Gooding shot but poacher Kolodynski followed up for his second and the ex-Rugby hit-man completed his hat-trick on 93 minutes from the penalty spot after Sandy was fouled in the box.
Team: Yates, Bradshaw, Wharton (Mentis), Theobald, McDevitt, Bridges Scott, Bridges Stuart, Watters, Fehmi, Dobson (Lockett), Ingrey (Hart).
Subs not used – Nightingale, Collins.