Match Report & Photos - Blues beaten by the Champions
By Andy Chilton
"As Academy Manager I am proud that 3 of our Academy players played against the league champions" Steve Walker
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photos by GRANTY
Kettering 5 Stratford 1 HT (2-0)
Saturday 27 April 2019 3.00pm EvoStik PDC
• As flies to wanton boys…..
There was a party atmosphere at the Latimer Park stadium on a blustery afternoon as the deserving champions, Kettering, wore their victor’s laurels in some style. Stratford, by contrast, having achieved so much, had at least one further battle to contemplate. This was reflected in the starting elevens. The Poppies fielded close to a full strength side and were determined to entertain. Stratford was far more conservative with 5 young debutants including 3 from the clubs fast growing Academy and a sixth debutant appeared as a substitute.
This was not quite men versus boys but it needed all the experience of Jimmy Fry, Cody Fisher, Dan Creaney and the effervescent Kian Williams to provided a skeleton for this less muscular outfit.
A Kettering victory always seemed likely and was routinely achieved with some style and panache. The movement and touch of the Poppies midfield and forward players was often breath-taking. But this was a very game and promising Stratford eleven who gave their all and ‘manned up’ against a far more experienced side.
Rajan Shergill in goal showed plenty of confidence and made a fine save early in the game before succumbing to a head injury on 53 minutes colliding with the upright as he attempted to prevent the third goal. Tom Fishwick organised the back line well and his partner Jack Coates distinguished himself. Roman Faulkner was feisty in mid field and was adept at picking a pass. Louis McDonald, Robert Singer and later Owen James all found the going tough but competed throughout and never let their heads drop.
There was an encouraging start for the Stratford boys and man of the match, Kian Williams, caused panic down the Kettering right and his cross deserved more than the ensuing scramble and a goal kick. On 8 minutes the Poppies carved the Town back line open and only Shergill’s outstretched leg prevented Hoenes scoring. But Hoenes was not to be denied when on 16 minutes his electric pace took him behind the Town line from keeper Paul White’s kick from hand. Closing in from the left Hoenes smashed home a fine rising drive.
37 minutes saw Kettering double their advantage. More smart passing from the Poppies saw Brett Solkhon stride into the area and finish in style. In between Ben Milnes was substituted having been on the receiving end of two strong challenges indicating Town’s determination. Strangely, no cards of either hue were issued and there were very fouls as this game was played in a very good spirit. Praise, too, for referee, Oliver Mackey and his assistants for their sympathetic handling of the game.
There was a brief revival for Town at the start of the second half when Kian Williams got behind his defender from Faulkner’s pass on 47 minutes and squeezed his shot passed past White. Reprisal was swift as Stanley (50 minutes), Hoenes (58) and O’Connor (59) turned the screw and finished the game off.
Town assistant manager and Academy head Steve Walker commented "As Academy manager I have to say how proud I am today. 3 Academy players playing against the league champions away. Those 3 lads played their heart out and won’t forget this day Louis, Rob & Roman playing alongside skipper and Academy coach Jimmy Fry The result at Stourbridge means a long trip to King’s Lynn on Wednesday but with the team, management and board in a very positive and up-beat mood we travel to Norfolk in high sprits and with brimming confidence."
• As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods
Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS
| 6||Goal Attempts|| 20|
| 3||On Target|| 8|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 1|
| 1||Corners Won|| 6|
| 4||Crosses into Box|| 8|
| 3||Fouls Conceded|| 6|
| 3||Off Side|| 3|
| 0||Yellow Cards|| 0|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Man of the Match: Kian Williams
King’s Lynn Wednesday 01 May 7.45pm EvoStik PDC Play Off Semi Final