LOCAL FOOTBALL: Stalemate in the big game, but it’s almost checkmate for Whittlesey

Dwayne Rankin (red) came closest to scoring for Netherton at Whittlesey.
Dwayne Rankin (red) came closest to scoring for Netherton at Whittlesey.

Conditions won the day as Whittlesy Athletic and Netherton United’s big game at Feldale Field ended in a stalemate last night (May 3).

The 0-0 draw on a dusty, threadbare playing surface was a much better result for the hosts in the battle for the one available United Counties League place between the only two Peterborough Premier Division sides to apply for promotion.

Jake Pell (blue) played strongly for Whittlesey against Netherton.

Jake Pell (blue) played strongly for Whittlesey against Netherton.

Whittlesey now need to win just two of their three remaining games to ensure a higher place finish than their city-based rivals and, as their opponents include lowly Leverington and an Uppingham side without a win in six matches, a rise in standard is almost certain.

The entertainment levels will surely increase as last night’s battle was a messy, disjointed affair when scoring chances were as rare as moments of quality. Whittlesey goalkeeper Lewis Moat, whose handling was exemplary all night, made just one save of note with his feet to thwart Dwayne Rankin in the first-half after a fine through ball from Mij Akbar, while Netherton number one Ross Ingram was not called into difficult action at all. What chances the home side created were sent high or wide with Liam Harrold faling to hit the target with an early far post header and Joe Butterworth blazing past a post from close range following a set piece.

Netherton will rue two early chances missed by fleet-footed Tom Randall, but with the ball bouncing high all night, it was a test of technique that proved too great for the majority.

Whittlesey defended well in the second-half restricting Netherton to long distance strikes with Scott Taylor and Steve Mastin supplying the best of them. For the home side Jack Bates delivered some promising attacking moments from left-back and skipper Jake Pell was rock solid at the heart of the defence, although neither ooze quality like Netherton centre-back Chris Hansford.

Netherton’s chances were not helped by a red card for Akbar whose foul tally had risen so high Rachel Riley would have struggled to keep count.

This was Whittlesey’s 21st clean sheet of the season. The league meeting between the sides had finished 0-0 on the Grange carpet earlier in the season which rather emphasises how closely-matched the teams have been

And while those two rivals were slugging it out, Pinchbeck United, for whom promotion is not on the agenda, were moving three points clear in second place with a 3-1 win over Holbeach United Reserves at Knight Street. Whittlesey and Netherton both have two games in hand.

Bradley Murrell, Liam Ogden and player-boss Ian Dunn scored the Pinchbeck goals.

Elsewhere Langtoft United completed a double over neighbours Deeping Rangers Reserves with a 2-1 win at Outgang Road. James Duffy and Steven Slack scored the Langtoft goals.

Ketton were held 1-1 at home by Uppingham, while Leverington won 1-0 at Sawtry to register just their sixth win in 32 matches.

Spalding Town kept their chances of catching Glinton & Northborough for runners-up spot in Division Two alive by thrashing Pinchbeck Reserves 8-0. Marcus Parry claimed a hat-trick for Spalding who are nine points behind Glinton & Northborough with three matches to play.

They also have nine goals to make up in those three matches. Glinton & Northborough have completed their fixtures.

RESULTS

Tuesday, May 3

CHROMASPORT & TROPHIES PETERBOROUGH LEAGUE

Premier Division

Deeping Rangers Res 1

Langtoft United 2 (Duffy, Slack)

Ketton 1

Uppingham Town 1

Pinchbeck United 3 (B. Murrell, Ogden, Dunn)

Holbeach United Res 1

Sawtry 0

Leverington Sports 1

Whittlesey Athletic 0

Netherton United 0

Division One

Sutton Bridge United 2 (K. Lally. Sutton)

Long Sutton Athletic 0

Division Two

Spalding Town 8 (Parry 3, Kingman 2, Lambe, Burrell, Robinson)

Pinchbeck United Res 0

Division Four

Holbeach Bank 3 (Machin 2, Andrews)

Long Sutton Athletic Res 1

Parkway Eagles Res 3

Parkside 0

FIXTURES

Wednesday, May 4

CHROMASPORT & TROPHIES PETERBOROUGH LEAGUE

Division Two: Sawtry Res v Thorney Res, Whittlesey Athletic ‘A’ v Hampton.

Division Three: Farcet United v Stamford Lions Res, Tydd St Mary v Stilton United Res.

Division Four: AFC Stanground Res v Rutland DR, Warboys Town Res v Brotherhood Sports.