NERF Junior Premier League
Grantham Town 3
Kettering Town 0
Grantham Town welcomed Kettering Town to The Meres for this U12 JPL game.
With both teams unbeaten in the league, it looked like it would be a close, competitive game – and so it proved.
Kettering started the stronger side and, driven by Carl Gumabay in midfield, penned Grantham into their own half for much of the first 10 minutes. Despite Kettering’s pressure, good chances were proving hard to create, although a lob by Gumabay went just over the bar.
As the quarter went on, Grantham began to find their feet and started to match Kettering’s pressure and passing.
Grantham’s improvement continued into the second quarter, leading to two goals for the home side. First, a series of quick passes on the edge of box found Louis Cross who beat one man before firing into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
A few minutes later, Louis Cross found Charlie Rigby who turned brilliantly on the edge of the area before curling the ball round the keeper into the top right hand corner to extend Grantham’s lead.
Kettering were far from out of the game, however, and a free kick from Owen Hewitt whistled over the bar just before the half time break.
In the third quarter, the two teams cancelled out each other’s attacking threat for much of the period, although Kettering’s tall and strong striker, Bobby Amartey, proved a handful for the Grantham defence, whilst a long-range shot by Grantham’s Sean Bray-Smith hit the Kettering bar.
As Kettering started to push forward to find a way back into the game, Grantham were beginning to break dangerously at pace, but were unable to find a decisive finish.
In the final quarter, Grantham continued to find space behind Kettering’s defence, and Flynn Slater supported by Charlie Rigby, Freddie Streeter and Sam Edgington, had a series of shots that were well saved by Daniil Lee, Kettering’s excellent keeper.
At the other end of the pitch, Bobby Amartey was being well marshalled by Grantham’s Femmi Kesanji, supported by Freddie Wheatley and Lucas Stubbs, although a couple of chances went agonisingly wide of the goal for the Kettering team.
In the end, it was Grantham who found a way to score agaom. Louis Cross’s corner was headed home powerfully by Lucas Stubbs, and the game ended 3-0 to Grantham Town.
Overall, this was a great advert for the Junior Premier League, with both sides showing a great mix of skill, tenacity and teamwork.
Grantham Town: Willumsen, Bray-Smith, Cross, Cullen, Kisanji, Lovelace, Stubbs, Wheatley, Streeter, Edgington, Rigby, Slater.