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Ketton are beaten by reigning Peterborough League Premier Division champions Moulton Harrox

Ketton boss Matt Holdup has praised his players for their ‘fantastic’ response to a daunting start to the new Peterborough League Premier Division campaign.

The Rutland side’s run of tough tests continued on Saturday when they went down to a 2-0 away defeat at reigning champions Moulton Harrox.

That followed a 1-1 opening day draw with much-fancied Parson Drove and a 4-1 midweek derby defeat to a highly-rated Stamford Lions side.

Ketton boss Matt Holdup. (15477877)
Ketton boss Matt Holdup. (15477877)

Holdup – who has taken on the first team duties this term after stepping up from the reserves - said: "I'm really chuffed with how we’ve started the season.

“Even though we've only taken one point from the three games, it’s been a fantastic start and I would have taken that beforehand.

"It's just about making up the small margins now. We made one mistake on Saturday and got punished for it, but there were so many positives from the game.”

Ketton handed a debut to striker Glenn Spearink on Saturday and the former Huntingdon Town frontman proved a handful for the Harrox defence.

However, it was a lack of concentration at the other end that allowed Harrox to take the lead midway through the first half as a visiting defender dived into a challenge that allowed Declan Earth to skip through and fire past Kian Pearce in the Ketton goal.

This sparked a strong response from Ketton and they forced a flurry of corners, but were unable to find an equaliser.

The second half saw chances at both ends with Ketton going closest to levelling as Cal Parker rattled the post.

Connor Breakell then burst clear of the Harrox defence, only to be denied in a one-on-one by a smart save from Harrox goalkeeper Jamie Robinson.

With Greg Rawlinson prominent in a number of Ketton’s attacking moves, they pushed further forward once Harrox were reduced to 10 men when Ben Allen was sent off after collecting a second card.

A couple more Ketton corners in quick succession failed to find an equaliser before Harrox doubled their lead with a contentious last minute penalty.

Substitute Danny Maddison evaded one Ketton challenge before tumbling to the floor after appearing to kick the ground.

Maddison picked himself up to convert the resultant penalty and maintain Moulton’s 100 per cent start to the season with a third successive victory.

Cal Parker hit the post. (15477875)
Cal Parker hit the post. (15477875)

Holdup added: “We did really well again. It was very pleasing.

"We grew into the game after they had scored their first goal. Glenn Spearink did really well up front for us.

“He added what we had been missing. He held the ball up when we needed him to and was always looking to take people on.

“We peppered their goal after they scored with four or five corners in succession. We had one cleared off the line and it just didn't drop for us.

"We were well in the game until half-time which isn't usually a good time for us.

“It's a bit of Ketton tradition to fall asleep at the start of the second half for some reason or another.

"But we absolutely battered them for the first 10 minutes. It was our best performance after half-time and who knows what might have happened if Cal’s effort had gone in.

“They had chances as you expect but, as far as I’m concerned, it was only a 1-0 defeat because I’m not even counting their last minute penalty.

“I had been going mental at my players for diving in, but this time they stood up. Their player kicked the ground, went to the floor and got a penalty.

“The Moulton management were also in total agreement with me that it wasn’t a penalty.

"It didn’t make much difference to the final outcome. We would still have lost the game but it slightly soured the performance.”

Ketton: Pearce, Trawford, Thorpe, Parker, Barbosa, Breakell, Oakes, Rawlinson, Spearink, J Szymanski, Whittle. Subs used: Gray, Holmes. Not used: Holdup.

Ketton make the trip to Oakham United tonight (Tuesday) for a derby duel before travelling to Tydd in the Senior Cup on Saturday.

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