NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Sports must bridge an enormous gap

Action from last weekend's FA Vase tie between Peterborough Sports and Sleaford Town.
Action from last weekend's FA Vase tie between Peterborough Sports and Sleaford Town.
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Peterborough Sports have to bridge the biggest gap of all local teams playing in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup this weekend (September 12).

Sports are hot favourites to win the United Counties First Division title, but Saturday’s opponents at PSL, Hitchin Town, play their football three divisions above the city side.

The fifth-placed Southern Premier Division side will start Saturday’s game as the hottest of favourites

Sports manager Jimmy Dean said: “To be honest it’s a big ask for us. I would be confident of beating step four teams, but Hitchin are step three and that might be a step too far.

“The physicality and the speed of the game will be greater than we are used to, but we will be having a go. We certainly have nothing to lose. Funny things happen in football and things might just go our way.”

Dean has selection issues after striker Karl Gibbs broke into the team and scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 midweek league win over Raunds. Jamie Graham’s ability to hold the ball up under pressure might win him a start alongside main man Avelino Vieira.

Admission to the game is just a fiver. The club have also introduced a bargain £20 season ticket to watch a team playing great football and scoring plenty of goals.

Sports boast a 100 per cent record in United Counties football this season and were unlucky to lose 3-2 to Premier Division Sleaford in the FA Vase last weekend after playing 90 minutes with 10 men. Olly Medwynter was the man dismissed for a ‘last-man’ foul.

Deeping Rangers also have a tough FA Cup tie at Leek Town this weekend, while Holbeach United will hope to make the most of home advantage against Stourport Swifts.

Blackstones reached the second qualifying round of the Vase with an extra time 3-2 win at Thetford. Ade Staffieri, Sam Strange and Jones De Sousa scored the goals that earned a tie at home to local rivals Peterborough Northern Star.