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From the guttering to the stars

(updated: 1830)

Ah, top of the League again, until we lose to Barf City on Saturday. Or I attend another game.

By the sounds of it, this wasn’t last year’s game – apparently, we were more able to cope with their tactic than last year, and could have won by more in the end. Oh, and I haven’t read the Kettering forum, but apparently we were a bit dirty…

Which is good. As Stevenage proved last year, you have to be a bit, ahem, physical to do anything in this league. Anyone who has doubted the move to full time and a more “robust” approach has probably forgotten their objections by now.

Anyway, I wasn’t there, but some people were. Firstly, from somebody who I don’t know whether wishes to remain anonymous or not. Here he is, anyway:

I think we all took great pleasure in Sam Hatton making the ex-franchise keeper Nathan Abbey look a fool for the first goal. The “Hitman” goes from strength to strength. Frontrunner for player of the season.

Classy finish from Kedwell. Ed Harris slotted in well at centre-half.

Went into the Main Stand for £10 courtesy of their typically maverick chairman Imran Ladak, after he generally ripped us off last season. Anyone who appoints Gazza as a manager must be slightly odd!

Impressive and loud support in the terraces from my vantage point. Made a difference.

Perhaps the most pleasing thing to hear is that Ed Harris (and by the sound of it, Fraser Franks too) slotted in nicely. Looks like breaking the budget was worth it in the end. These are the sorts of players we will need to scout – or even develop ourselves – in the future.

I think it was mentioned this summer that there will be more of the Franks/Harris/Reece Jones about because the bigger League clubs are cutting back on their academies. They are not crap players, certainly not some of the cloggers we’ve seen in the past.You do wonder if there’s going to be a couple of 15-goal-a-season strikers currently signing on right now…

Meanwhile, here’s some comments from Le Don Algerien:

Foolishly believing the locals that the ground was “miles away” I took a small green shuttle bus to the Kettering’s rather odd mish-mash ‘old and new’ stadium. As we hurtled along the quaint, narrow, tree-lined roads an on-coming “Mi—ton K—nes X” double-decker, carrying a hatful of geriatrics, crept past going the other way.

The symbolism only struck me after the game: as we successfully endeavour something new they head the way into the obscurantaries of footballing nothingness – our speedy eco-bus versus their double-decker geriatricomobile. On departing Kettering’s ground I felt proud but also very lucky to be supporting something so positive.

Positives indeed mostly came out of this game that finished Cheats 1 – Cheetahs 2. Inevitably Harris had a blinder until he came off with an injury… Brown needs to have a 21 + 2 policy for the inevitable four key defenders that will get injured each season. Unbelievable. Fortunately in Ish-Mish-Keds we have three men who have total commitment, are hard and have a decent tackle to boot – if both Ish and Keds were truly ill all week – their performances were utterly immense.

Credit. Jacko and Jolley at the other end of the scale gave us width, passion and pace and smiles! Jackson’s smile on leaving the pitch near the end of the game gave a real sense of club achievement – it’s a real shame that neither could finish yesterday. What’s nice, of course, is that this is just the beginning.

I believe that this was a large crowd for Kettering but unlike Eastbourne they were extremely negative. Why did they feel the need to insult us? If (totally objective) truth be told their players did seem to go down more easily than ours and an elbow here and a punch there (I thought it was Minshull who went down on being punched) if you’ll excuse the juvenile jargon were all the tactics of ‘cheats’ and as their program so rightly (although utterly confusedly) put it, “cheats never prosper”…

Ah, Wimbledon getting a reputation amongst parochial Northern types again. It feels like 1986 all over again.

More later, if anyone sends anything else in.

UPDATE (1830): Another submission on yesterday, this time from Greg Valentine:

I toyed whether to go to the game as I had a sense of potential history repeating itself. Kettering struggling near the foot of the table a la R&D style and us turning up and underachieving. I’m glad I decided to go and witnessed KFC 1 Caviar 2.

You could say it was a bit like watching beauty and the beast; the Dons playing some exquisite football at times and Kettering trying to kick and elbow 7 colours of excrement out of us.

Thankfully, the purists prevailed with another ‘long-range-shot-that-the-keeper-really-should-have-saved’ first goal from our new star right back and a Kedwell net ripper. Stand-outs for me were Jolly terrorising KT’s right back particularly in the 2nd half, Minshall a strong presence in mid field, Yaks winning everything in the air and on the ground and Sammy Moore doing a better job than Gregory in the defensive midfield role. Disappointing performances from Brown who still looks shaky at times and Blackman who needs to work on his decision making at times.

What went on at the whistle? Handshakes all round then it all kicked off. I heard someone say it was the KT player who was almost decapitatedby one of Hatton’s raking cross field passes who wanted a bit of retribution. Needless to say there was a free for all with managers and coaching staff all involved.

The referee’s a…incompetent fool. For both sides to be fair. Very poor and KT were lucky to finish with 11 on the pitch.

Them…Thugs and play actors. The latter trait even affecting Seb who thought he might as well join in when one of their players taped him on the side of the face.

Their fans seemed more intent in singing anti womble songs than supporting their own team. Oh and they’ve still got a rubbish ground.

Curious…17 quid last year and a tenner this year. Feeling a tad guilty were we? Didn’t seem to be any more Dons fans there than last year.

Point to ponder…Bromley – played 7, won 7. Could there be an ominous return to Pikeyville if we don’t go up?

More later. Maybe.