HOCKEY: City of Peterborough title chances hanging by a thread

Action from City of Peterborough (red) v St Albans. Photo: David Lowndes.
Action from City of Peterborough (red) v St Albans. Photo: David Lowndes.

City of Peterborough blew a two-goal lead at Bretton Gate on Saturday (February 27) and with it, most likely. their chances of winning the East Premier A Division title.

It’s still mathematically possible for City to finish top, but a 3-2 home defeat - their first of the league season - by St Albans has left those hopes hanging by a thread.

Action from City of Peterborough (red) v St Albans. Photo: David Lowndes.

Action from City of Peterborough (red) v St Albans. Photo: David Lowndes.

City have dropped to third, seven points behind leaders Wapping with three matches remaining. Wapping’s final three fixtures are agains the three teams directly below them, but they only need one win to ensure the title is theirs.

It should have been so different for City who had received a motivational speech from Peterborough United FC boss Graham Westley ahead of the match.

City and St Albans delivered a highly-competitive match from the start as three points were essential for both teams.

The visitors applied lots of pressure in the first-half, but City created the better chances and took the lead when skipper Ross Booth followed up successfully after his own short corner strike had been saved by the St Albans’ keeper.

City immediately saw another shot saved off the line by a defender before they doubled their advantage five minutes after the break when Robbie Muir pounced following a mad goalmouth scramble. Another save off the line stopped City taking a 3-0 lead that surely would have secured the points.

But midway through the half some rare defensive ill-discipline led the visitors back into the game as poor marking led to two penalty corners that were both converted.

A draw would have been hard to swallow, but worse was to follow as St Albans gambled on taking their goalkeeper off in favour of an extra outfield player. They duly won a controversials short corner which they converted after the final whistle. St Albans had scored from a post-final whistle corner to claim a draw in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

St Albans, City and Old Loughtonians are all seven points behind Wapping waiting to pounce if the leaders slip up.

City should get back to winning ways next Saturday (March 5) when they visit relegated Blueharts.