Big day for Nomads as they bid to reach Junior Cup showpiece
Kettering Nomads will be looking to take another step towards a double this season when they take on Sileby Rangers in the semi-finals of the NFA Junior Cup on Saturday.
Nomads reached the last four of the competition for the first time in 32 years when they beat United Counties League Division One side Rushden & Higham United on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarter-finals earlier this month.
And, if the Northants Combination Premier Division high-flyers are to book themselves a date in the final at Sixfields, they will have to defeat UCL opposition once again.
Sileby, who are eighth in Division One, are managed by former Kettering Town assistant-boss Mitch Austin and recently added Poppies youngster Ben Bradshaw to their squad on a loan deal.
But there are plenty of familiar names in the Nomads squad as well with the likes of Michael Boyle-Chong and Chris Di Fante having previously plied their trade with the Poppies while Mark Redding is currently the second highest scorer in the Combination Premier Division this season with 21 goals to his name.
It is set up nicely for an interesting encounter at Orlingbury Road and Nomads boss Carl Holmes believes home advantage could be key for his team.
“It’s the first time the club has been in the semi-finals of the Junior Cup for 32 years so it’s a big day for us,” he said.
“We are the underdogs but I think we fancy our chances. It’s definitely an advantage for us being at home. We are quite good at playing our own pitch.
“I think that was something Rushden & Higham struggled with because the pitch wasn’t big enough for them.
“We have got lads with experience of playing at that level and higher so that isn’t a problem. Most of our side are over 30 and they have all played together in the past. Having that team spirit has really helped us.”
Nomads are right in the hunt for the Premier Division title this season and they maintained their challenge with a 4-3 success at Corby Pegasus last weekend.
Redding hit a hat-trick and Boyle-Chong added the other while Scott Collins, Bobby Drain and Mark Sinclair were on target for the hosts.
Nomads are currently eight points behind leaders Woodford United with four games in hand while reigning champions Blisworth are lurking just below in third place.
And Holmes added: “It’s all in our hands, if we win all our games then we will win it!
“Blisworth have won it for the last three seasons and they are up there again so we will have to beat them again when we play them.
“It would just be good to have a different winner and we will try to make sure it’s us.”
Blisworth kept up their own title hopes with a 3-1 victory over Wollaston Victoria last Saturday, Tom Ripley scoring he consolation for the visitors.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Burton United’s recent revival continued with a 5-0 success at Desborough & Rothwell United as Brett Smith hit a hat-trick.
S&L Kingswood picked up their third win of the season as goals from Corey Bowden (2) and Callum Leech gave them a 3-1 home success over Spratton.
Bottom side Earls Barton United, meanwhile, picked up a point in a 1-1 draw with Roade thanks to Joseph Ogunremi’s late equaliser.