We could, and probably have done already, sit here for some time and come up with numerous reasons why Kettering Town didn’t pick up their first win of the season against Redditch United at Latimer Park last night (Tuesday).
You could point to the number of chances they missed, indeed they probably squandered too many for manager Marcus Law’s liking.
And you could point to the fact that, at times, their decision-making and final pass in key areas wasn’t quite up to scratch.
But one thing can’t be questioned. The Poppies should have been handed a golden chance to win it as the game moved into stoppage-time.
A ball was lofted into the penalty area with Saul Williams challenging Redditch defender Kyle Haywes.
The full-back clearly used his hand to move the ball out of Williams’ path before clearing for a corner. There really won’t be many more blatant penalty appeals not given this season.
Referee Andrew Humphries could only have been unsighted not to give it and he need only have looked at the reaction from one of Haywes’ team-mates immediately afterwards. He got a pat on the back for a job well done after getting away with it.
It wasn’t Kettering’s first good shout for a penalty either after James Brighton was hauled down by George Carline after just 13 minutes. That looked pretty clear-cut too.
They even themselves out over the season apparently. We’ll have to see if that’s the case.
Overall, a 0-0 draw was an outcome that couldn’t be argued with that much as Redditch more than played their part in a competitive encounter.
But it was the Poppies who chased the game harder towards the end and it will be them who will feel the more frustrated.
The visitors threatened first when the pacey Luke Shearer saw an effort cannon off the crossbar with Jamie McAlindon beaten. That was as close as Redditch would come.
At the other end, the impressive Jevani Brown forced Stuart Parsons into a decent stop after being sent clear but it was Williams who should have opened the scoring on 23 minutes.
Brown made a nuisance of himself as Parsons came to collect a ball. He dropped it, it fell to Williams and he somehow shot wide of the open net.
The second period was more low-key as the two sides gradually cancelled each other out.
Elliot Sandy was denied by Parsons while, in a rare opening, Shearer shot weakly at McAlindon.
In general, the central defensive partnership of debutant Dom Langdon and Gary Mulligan gave very little away and it helped set Kettering up for that grandstand finish.
Parsons held on to Brown’s low shot from distance before Williams volleyed just wide.
But the late drama failed to go Kettering’s way but, even after that clear penalty hadn’t been awarded, they still had a chance to win it when the excellent Brett Solkhon found himself all alone at the far post but sent his fizzing shot just off target.
In the end, there were more positives than negatives for Law as his new-look team begins to come together. But that’s not to say there aren’t areas that could do with improvement.
The converting of chances is probably the most pressing issue after two games without a goal.
Hopefully that will change when Merthyr Town visit Latimer Park on Saturday.
Poppies: McAlindon; Bryan, Langdon, Mulligan, Brighton (sub Kinniburgh, h-t); Danquan (sub Gooding, 57 mins), Solkhon; Grocott (sub Marsden, 65 mins), Brown, Williams; Sandy. Subs not used: Baker-Richardson, Ordonez.
Redditch: Parsons; Haywes, Mutton, Flanagan, Ashmore; Richards, Spink (sub Molyneaux, 74 mins); Baker (sub Archer, 62 mins), Osborne, Carline; Shearer (sub Bunn, 74 mins). Subs not used: Liburd, Moreman.
Bookings: Bryan, McAlindon Baker, Langdon, Kinniburgh, Milligan (all fouls), Osborne (persistent fouling).