Dreams of an end-of-season trip to Wembley for Peterborough Sports were dashed today (January 7) in the cruellest of fashions.
Sports overcame a sluggish start and the loss of a goal early in the second-half to lead United Counties Premier Division rivals Newport Pagnell 2-1 with five minutes to go in their fourth round FA Vase tie.
But then it all went pear-shaped. The home side levelled in the 86th minute and then scored again two minutes later to claim a last-16 place.
For Sports there was the consolation of a record run in the competition, but they were confident of going all the way. They are a dominant step five club and were one of the favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley.
Certainly defeat was unexpected today. A tough game was always likely, but Pagnell are eight places and 23 points adrift of leaders Sports in the Premier Division table so form favoured the visitors.
“We were flat from the start,” Sports manager Jimmy Dean moaned. “The fact we hadn’t played for two and a half weeks really hurt us. They sneaked an extra game in over the holiday programme and they looked sharper as a result.
“We still had four or five good chances to score before they took the lead and when we got our noses in front we should have been good enough to hold on, but we didn’t defend well.
“Of course I’m disappointed. We fancied our chances of a longer run.”
Mark Jones pulled Sports level midway through the second-half before Josh Moreman fired the city side in front a couple of minutes later.