They had already conquered the Cobblers, but the budding talents of Peterborough Northern Star couldn’t add Posh to their list of scalps last night (February 24).
The semi-finals of the Northants Under 18 Cup threw up a city derby clash at the Branch Bros Stadium in Chestnut Avenue as the grassroots club entertained their professional neighbours.
While the two club’s first teams are situated seven levels apart in the senior games, there was a considerably smaller gulf in terms of class at this age group.
Star are no mugs at Under 18 level as two appearances in the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup in previous seasons, under the now departed Domenico Genovese, prove. Current boss Jez D’Agostino clearly has a handy bunch of players as well.
They helped to create an entertaining battle in the chase for county honours with the Posh prospects, managed by Jack Collison and watched by such senior club figures as director of football Barry Fry and assistant boss Grant McCann, eventually easing to a 2-0 victory courtesy of a couple of second-half goals.
It was far from a cakewalk though as the Star lads, who dumped out Northampton Town in the last round, acquitted themselves in fine style.
They created the first good opening only for an unkind bobble helped to send Bradlee Page’s shot over the bar after he burst into the box.
At the other end, Star keeper Trent Stanley made smart saves to deny Cam Stump and Deon Moore as the opening period ended goalless.
The breakthrough finally arrived eight minutes into the second period with both of those Posh players involved. Stump delivered a smashing cross from the left and Moore powered a header past Stanley from close range.
The combination of the Star goalkeeper and the near post denied Moore a second goal soon afterwards and Posh had to wait until 12 minutes from time to seal their passage when substitute Kasey Douglas’ curling shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced down over the line.
The Posh squad was predominantly made up of first-year scholars, but did feature two players to have tasted first-team football. Goalkeeper Dion Henry had to make a decent late stop from Star substitute Alessio Dello Russo to preserve his clean sheet while Leonardo Da Silva Lopes provided a few glimpses of his talent when introduced from the bench.
The Star side was not without impressive individuals. Billy May and Josh Stubbs look a fine couple of centre-backs in the making while full-backs Reuben Rey (who made his Star first-team debut last weekend) and Connor Chambers also covered themselves in glory.
Star go out with their heads held high while Posh move on to a final date against either Northampton side ON Chenecks or AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
Peterborough Northern Star Under 18s: Trent Stanley, Reuben Rey, Connor Chambers, Oliver Bayley, Billy May, Josh Stubbs, Sven Hart, Mitchell Johnson, Bradlee Page, Joe Kelly, Ian King, James Hill-Seekings, Lewis Darani, Alessio Dello Russo, Kian Meadows, Callum Pacey.
Peterborough United Under 18s: Dion Curtis-Henry, Glenn Ferrier, Sam Piesse, Hugh Alban-Jones, Alfie Connor, Sam Cartwright, Luke Noble, Dan Jarvis, Deon Moore, Cam Gow, Cam Stump, Michael Forde, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Harry Baldry, Kasey Douglas, Ewan Fieldhouse.