EVO-STIK Premier Division: Kettering Town 0 Cambridge City 0
Under normal circumstances, a draw at Kettering would be seen as a good result, but it was not the scoreline City needed. A win was vital to keep their destiny in their own hands. As things now stand, City must beat St Neots on Saturday and hope for a favour from other sides in the final round of fixtures.
A win needed, on a very difficult bumpy pitch against seasoned opponents was never going to be easy. The task was made all the more difficult with one half of City's dynamic front pairing, unavailable for selection, Norman Wabo ruled out of contention. Salim Relizani came into the starting line-up with Lee Stevenson dropping to the bench, Jordan Williams returned following suspension. Other than that it was the same side that defeated Dorchester in City's last outing.
City had an opportunity to grab an early goal to settle nerves when Ollie Snaith broke through, but Paul White in the home goal saved with his legs to deny the winger. City won two corners in quick time as they pressed their opponents, but neither bore any fruit. Kettering were finding it hard to produce any rhythm, but did threaten when Aaron Connor shot across Dean Snedker's goal when well placed.
Following this early action, play got bogged down in a midfield tussle as both sides struggled to produce any meaningful play. Kettering saw an effort clear the bar, then Dan Walker shot straight at White, before Rene Howe sent a sizzling shot just wide. That was about it as far as entertainment for the crowd was concerned, although Kettering came within an ace of taking the lead just before the break when Howe's goalbound shot ws cleared off the line by Jordan Gent.
Despite the enormity of the game for City, they had looked tired in the first half and this continued in the second period as they struggled on the bone hard surface. Chances were at a premium, and those that were created fell mainly to the home side. James Brighton saw a volley beat Snedker only to see it hacked off the line, and Brett Solkhon headed over when he was found in space by Nathan Hicks.
City were frustrated with 20 minutes to go when having broken clear of the home defence, they were pulled back by the referee for an earlier infringement, when there was a clear advantage to be played.
As the minutes ticked by, it was clear the game had a draw written all over it, with efforts on goal becoming increasingly wayward. City had a couple of late corners, Lee Stevenson forcing a save from White from one of them. The two sides traded blows in the final minutes with Walker seeing a good shot deflected wide and Brighton placing a volley over the bar as the game trundled towards a result City didn't need that leaves their fate in the hands of others.
1. Dean Snedker
2. Ben Robinson
3. Paul Cooper
4. Ross Paterson (c)
5. Jordan Gent
6. Jordan Williams
7. Salim Relizani
8. Harry Norman
9. Dan Walker
14.Manny Osei (4-77)
16.Lee Stevenson (7-66)
Kettering Town: 1.Paul White, 2.Liam Bateman, 3.Jack Kelly, 4.Brett Solkhon (c), 5.James Harran, 6.Dom Langdon, 7.Ben Baker, 8.Aaron O'Connor, 9.Rene Howe, 10.Lewis Hornby, 11.James Brighton
Subs: 12.Nathan Hicks (12-44), 14.Ethan Lee, 15.Jack O'Connor (7-80), 17.Callum Snow
Referee: Mark Tinsley
Assistants: Aidan Murphy and Gary Lord
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