VERDICT – Wind is the only winner as Poppies and Cambridge draw a blank

Poppies boss Marcus Law
Poppies boss Marcus Law
Share this article

This 0-0 stalemate won’t be one that will live long in the memory.

That’s not to say Kettering Town, who are now on an unbeaten run of four matches, and Cambridge City didn’t do all they could to provide some entertainment because they did.

Ultimately though, the elements won the day.

The galeforce wind swirling around the exposed Latimer Park and a bumpy and boggy playing surface made it almost impossible for both sides.

It was catch 22 really. The pitch made it difficult for anyone to put together any free-flowing passing moves. That meant the ball had to go in the air and that resulted in a lottery as the wind ensured pin-point passes were at a premium.

All that said, the two teams gave it all they had and there was little doubt that both were worthy of a point for their efforts.

Cambridge shaded things in the opening period as the Poppies struggled to create any clear-cut chances despite having plenty of possession.

The visitors did have opportunities but Kettering goalkeeper Craig Hill, who claimed a third clean sheet in a row as he makes Paul Walker wait for his debut, was once again in decent form with a couple of important stops.

Joel Norris came closest to breaking the deadlock when, after robbing Ollie Thorne of possession, he cut on from the left and unleashed a shot that cannoned back off the crossbar with Hill well beaten.

But the stopper was called into action before the break when he got down well to push Norris’ near-post header out for a corner.

The Poppies had more about them in the second half with Cambridge mainly restricted to long-range efforts that caused Hill few concerns.

At the other end, chances did begin to arrive with Zac Barrett saving well from James Brighton while John Kyriacou was in the right place to clear Wilson Carvalho’s shot off the line.

There was a welcome sight for Kettering fans as Courtney Baker-Richardson returned from an ankle injury as a second-half substitute.

And he could have won it with 16 minutes to go when he wriggled clear but dragged his final effort wide of the mark with just Barrett to beat.

In truth, a winning goal either way would have been unjust. The game got the result it deserved.

Poppies: Hill; Bateman, Solkhon, Thorne, Carruthers; Pepe-N’Goma; Carvalho, Mulligan, Sandy (sub Baker-Richardson, 68 mins), Brighton; Howe (sub Stephens, 87 mins). Subs not used: Walker, Grocott, Langdon.

Cambridge City: Barrett; Kyriacou, Murray, Chaffey, Day; Lewis, Harradine (sub Reynolds, 63 mins), Kaye, Dawkin; Norris (sub Gleeson, 78 mins), Kelly (sub Fehmi, 69 mins). Subs not used: Midgley, Serrano.

Referee: Andrew Fox.

Attendance: 552.