Kettering Town 0 St Ives Town 1
Man of the Match: Nick Bennion (St Ives Town)
‘Jared pops up to score the winner as 10 men Saints defy Kettering!’
By Simon Clark
In yet another game of so much expectation for the Saints it was the in-form Jared Cunniff who popped up on the hour mark to seal a one nil away win for the Saints in front of a bumper crowd of 609 spectators at Latimer Park.
With both sides pressing but at the same time avoiding the obvious slip to concede that early goal it was the home side who started to make their impression on the game. From over 30 yards, full back; Daniel Akubuine, unleashed a fierce strike that moved in the air en route towards Nick Bennion’s goal but the Saints stopper managed to push the ball over the bar for a corner. It was then the turn of the Saints side to apply pressure and Dubi Ogbonna found himself free of the Poppies defence but his touch evaded him. When the ball rebounded he managed to direct a strike goal bound but Charles Horton acrobatically tipped over at full stretch.
Kettering continued with their long range efforts with Jake Newman and Ashley Fuller bringing out two fine saves from Bennion, who later picked up the man of the match award.
It was in the first fifteeen minutes of the re-start that changed the game. Ogbonna broke free of the Poppies defence and was well supported by Cunniff to his right and when the Nigerian striker slotted the ball through, Cunniff made no mistake and finished low under the diving Horton much to the delight of the travelling Saints supporters. Moments later, Cunniff should have made it 0-2 when in ‘Ricky Villa fashion’ glided past four players but was unable to convert his effort.
On 68 minutes, the home side were handed a lifeline with Saints defender; Will Fordham was sent from the field of play as he prevented a goal scoring opportunity. With the Saints now down to 10 men, a re-shuffle was in order as St Ives had their backs against the wall. On 70 minutes, Ogbonna found himself clear of goal after heading the ball past defender; Henry Eze but his looping header was a match for Horton who once again acrobatically clawed the ball off the Poppies line.
Stuart Cobb superbly cleared off the line for St Ives on 82 minutes after a Will Muzvimibiri effort was destined to become the equaliser. St Ives pushed on with Avelino Vieira and Jon Stead’s introduction to hold on to their 0-1 victory and book their place in the draw for the 2nd Qualifying Round on Monday morning.
Saints Line Up: Bennion, D Cobb, Lambert, Newman, Fordham, Dean, Banister (Ellison 45), Ogbonna (Vieira 86), S Cobb, Gibbs (Stead 68)
Not used: Roberts, Meechan
Referee: Geoff Law
Saints Co Manager; Warren Everdell talks to the website about how he feels after the victory over Kettering Town:
“A bit worn out to be honest but elated. I felt we didn’t play really well today and quite poor at times, especially in the first half. Second half we were better and did the ugly things well and then we got the goal and could have had another one as we had chances. Obviously Will (Fordham) getting sent off was disappointing, whether it was a red card or not, I couldn’t really tell but the lads dug in and we made some changes with fresh legs coming on making a difference to the game. I thought Nick (Bennion) was outstanding today and especially in the first half but he did the simple things well with good hands. All credit to the lads as they deserve what they got today. A brilliant day for the club.”