Players praised by boss Abbott after cup victory
Ketton boss Ian Abbott piled the praise on his players as they secured a spot in the semi-finals of the Peterborough Senior Cup with a 3-0 home success over Holbeach United Reserves on Saturday.
The Rutland side ran in three goals without reply in the second period to seal a quarter-final success against their Premier Division rivals and move within 90 minutes of a final at Peterborough United's Abax Stadium.
And Abbott was delighted with the performance of his charges who bounced back in style from an 8-0 mauling by table-topping Moulton in the final fixture before the Christmas break.
He said: "It was brilliant - a good all-round performance. It was one of those games where I couldn't fault any of the players.
"I still felt confident going into this game despite the last match at Moulton being a complete disaster.
"We had to give 100 per cent and every single one of the lads gave their all. It was an absolutely fantastic team performance.
"We had to stop them playing by running for everything and fighting for every ball."
Ketton had suffered a pre-match setback when midfielder Jacob Smitheringale failed a fitness test in the warm-up, but they welcomed back the key trio of Alex Collyer, Cal Parker and Matt Woodman.
The hosts made a bright start and fashioned the best chance of an even and goalless opening period when Greg Rawlinson rattled the crossbar.
It then took Ketton just four minutes of the second period to break the deadlock when a corner was cleared out to Tom Mann whose low shot squirmed through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner of the net.
This sparked a strong response from the Tigers who had beaten Ketton 6-0 two months ago having lost 3-1 at Pit Lane in October.
It needed a superb save from Ketton custodian James Hogg to preserve his side's lead as he plunged low to his right to turn a goalbound shot away for a corner.
A crucial goalline clearance then denied Holbeach from a corner before two goals in the final 14 minutes secured Ketton's place in the last four.
Connor Breakell doubled the advantage when he cut inside and hit a left-footed effort that went into the net at the near post.
Collyer - who was instrumental in midfield alongside the excellent Dom Jones - then released Breakell again and he lobbed the advancing keeper to seal Ketton's success.
Abbott added: "I don't think the scoreline flattered us and we deserved the win.
"We were probably a bit too direct in the first half and Holbeach's centre-halves were winning the balls in the air.
"We had to get at them more and I was just so pleased for everyone that we got through.
"We've been through a few iffy patches this season so it was really encouraging to see so much enjoyment on the players' faces in the dressing room afterwards."
Ketton are back in Premier Division action this weekend with a derby duel against in-form Stamford Lions who have won their last six games.
Abbott commented: "It will be a chance for us to gauge how far we have come in recent weeks because Lions are in excellent form.
"Our attitude and work-rate has to be right wrong because, if we can get the same group of players out as last weekend, we can compete with anybody in this league as long as we are switched on."