Delight for Nomads after a historic Junior Cup success
Kettering Nomads created their own piece of history as they won the NFA Junior Cup for the first time with a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Blisworth.
The county showpiece, which attracted a decent crowd to Northampton Town’s PTS Academy Stadium, had already got a historic feel to it as it was the first time two Northants Combination sides had met in the final.
And while it was Blisworth who had finished five points clear of Nomads as they defended their Premier Division title this season, it was the league runners-up who had the last laugh.
Nomads could have found themselves behind in the first few seconds after goalkeeper Brad Wilson dropped a hopeful ball forward but Blisworth’s Ross Arundell shot into the side net with the goal gaping after he seized on the loose ball.
There were few other chances in an even opening period with Michael Boyle-Chong firing over for Nomads and Arundell doing likewise at the other end.
The half was marred by a nasty-looking injury to Blisworth’s Steve Healey, which saw him stretchered off and being given oxygen in the process.
But it was in the eight minutes of stoppage-time at the end of the period when the deadlock was broken.
Mark Redding delivered an inch-perfect cross from the left and Nathan Wills arrived on cue to head past Blisworth goalkeeper Jack Messinger.
The second half followed the same theme with Nomads relatively comfortable and, with the defence being well marshalled by the experienced duo of Tom Judge and Michael Tolton, Wilson was only forced into one serious save at his near post to deny Max Payne.
But, as the game opened up, Nomads clinched their cup glory with 10 minutes to go.
And it was fitting that top scorer Redding would be the man to seal the deal. A mis-placed pass from a Blisworth player sent the Nomads forward away on the left and he made no mistake with an excellent curling shot that found the far corner.
Blisworth’s frustrations boiled over with two players being sent-off for dissent but it was Nomads who were celebrating as the final whistle blew.
And manager Carl Holmes was left understandably delighted as the club marked their 60th anniversary with cup glory.
“It’s fantastic,” the Nomads boss said.
“We were disappointed we didn’t win the league having beaten Blisworth twice and slipping up in places we shouldn’t have done.
“But if you’d said to us at the start of the season that we would finish second and win a cup final then we would have taken it.
“To win the Junior Cup is fantastic and it’s testament to the effort that the lads put in. It’s a pleasure to manage them.
“Sometimes you’d take a win and people might say it’s lucky but I don’t think anyone watching can deny that the best team won.
“We have got our end-of-season do this weekend and it is going to be all-the-more sweeter with the cup in tow.
“There is a great team spirit and the two lads who didn’t get on were out there enjoying it.
“I said to them all along that you don’t win anything with 11, you win with 16 or 18 players and they have all played their part in it.”
Nomads captain Jim Whittemore was named man-of-the-match while Pete Eady, who has been involved with the club for over 50 years, received a special volunteer award during the presentation ceremony.