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Smitheringale's stunning strike smashes Sports' hopes of catching leaders

Ketton ended a difficult week on a high as their depleted squad completed a Premier Division double over high-flying Peterborough Sports Development on Saturday.

The Peterborough League side had seen manager Ian Abbott resign last week, but a stunning strike from Jacob Smitheringale secured the win against their second-placed hosts.

Reserve team boss Matt Holdup and chairman Steve Pearce took charge of the team who produced a defiant display to virtual end Sports' outside chances of catching league leaders Moulton Harrox.

Jacob Smitheringale scored a stunning goal for Ketton. (7554466)
Jacob Smitheringale scored a stunning goal for Ketton. (7554466)

Holdup said: "After a tough week losing Ian as manager on Monday and going into the match with a depleted squad, we were really happy with the result.

"The lads didn't stop working and, although we didn't enjoy the majority of the possession, we made the most of it when it counted and fully deserved the win.

"The goal from 'Smig' was worthy of winning any game. It was an incredible effort and topped a solid performance from him in the midfield.

"I just want to thank the lads. I'm a new face in their dressing room but they all knuckled down, took on what Steve and I said to them before the game and at half-time and showed a great team performance.

"Hopefully we can push on and finish the season strongly."

Ketton started well with a high press that saw the opposition lose the ball in their final third on more than one occasion.

Early attempts from Dom Jones and then Connor Breakell saw Ketton fail to capitalise on this early pressure.

As the half wore on PSL grew into the game and enjoyed the majority of the possession, playing some neat football but without really troubling the Ketton rearguard.

Ketton continued to press the ball high up the pitch and won themselves two corners in quick succession which Jones delivered superbly only for both to flash across the six-yard box unopposed to the frustration of Holdup watching from the Ketton bench.

PSL then continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the half, but on 35 minutes a loose ball was won in the Ketton midfield and bounced up kindly for Smitheringale who took full advantage.

With the ball coming over his right shoulder, Smitheringale spun on his left foot and hit a side volley from 40 yards out. The connection was sweet and the ball rocketed over the keeper into the roof of the net for a clear favourite for goal of the season.

Goalkeeper James Hogg made some crucial saves in Saturday's success. (7554462)
Goalkeeper James Hogg made some crucial saves in Saturday's success. (7554462)

Ketton remained largely on the back foot in the second half with James Hogg making some neat saves in the visitors' goal as the team withstood the pressure.

As legs began to tire the experienced Keith Gray came on for James Farrell who had led the line superbly all match while the fresh legs of Jack Szymanski and Sam Linford helped to see the game out.

Ketton: Hogg, Woodman, Marsh, Hood, Parker, Barbosa, Bird, Breakell, Smitheringale, Jones, Farrell. Subs: Gray, Linford, Szymanski.

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