HINCHINGBROOKE CUP FINAL: Northern Star 1, Sports 4: Sports are easy winners of the battle of Peterborough
It's a city rivalry in name only.
In reality the gulf between Peterborough Sports and Peterborough Northern Star is Grand Canyon-sized. There’s a smaller gap between Tim Peake and his home on earth.
Sports are better balanced, better financed, better on and off the ball and better defensively. They’re just miles better as the final of the Hinchingbrooke Cup at Yaxley FC showed tonight (May 20).
The final scoreline of 4-1 doesn’t tell the whole story, even if three of the four Sports goals arrived in the final quarter. Sports also hit the woodwork four times, while Star goalkeeper Dan George made up for some dodgy positioning with some fine saves.
Sports could have scored twice in the opening two minutes and were so dominant for much of the contest thoughts were given to asking goalkeeper Luke McShane for a spectator’s fee.
Star defended solidly for the most part, threw themselves into tackles and blocked countless shots. But in the end they became too tired to resist and goals from Avelino Vieira (2), substitute Karl Gibbs and former Posh youngster Dan Lawlor clinched a remarkable fourth trophy of a stunning season for Jimmy Dean’s men.
Star’s consolation was a quality free kick strike from Chris Jones eight minutes from time, but they weren’t even allowed the final word as within two minutes a fine pass from Jordan Macleod freed Lawlor to score his goal.
Josh Moreman missed a sitter in the second minute after a decent penalty shout had been ignored inside 60 seconds. It then became a game of attack and defence on the superb 3G surface at In2itive Park. Sports revelled on the carpet-like surface and passed the ball about well, but they were guilty of over-elaboration around the area and also ran into some dogged defending particularly from Star central defenders Callum Madigan and Sam Phillips.
It took 36 minutes for Vieira to deliver a cracking finish from 16 yards and give Sports the lead they deserved. Just three minutes earlier Star’s willing striker Craig Smith had made a mess of his side’s sole first-half opportunity.
Sports hammered on the Star backdoor for most of the second-half, but were thwarted by the goal frame and George for 20 minutes until Vieira beat the ‘keeper at his near post. During that dominant spell Viera struck a post, Gibbs’ was denied by George and a post, before substitute Dan Clements smacked the crossbar.
A precision header from Gibbs put Sports 3-0 up on 78 minutes before Jones and Lawlor traded goals towards the end.
These teams will meet again in the United Counties Premier Division next season when it’s hard to see anything but the same outcome. Star have a young side with bags of potential, but keeping hold of promising players is often harder than developing them at this level of football.
Peterborough Northern Star: Dan George 7, Michael Mackrell 6, Ruben Rey 6 (sub Matt Carter, 46 mins, 5), Sam Phillips 7, Callum Madigan 7, Bobby Bick 6 (sub James Hill-Seekings, 74 mins), Harley Williams 5 (sub Joe Moore-Papworth 74 mins), Christian Le 6, Mitchell Johnson 5, Chris Jones 6, Craig Smith 5. Unsued subs: Andrew Buckle, Louie Medwynter.
Peterborough Sports: Luke McShane 7, Dan Bucciero 7, Olly Medwynter 7 (sub Jake Sansby 80 mins), Jack Bloodworth 7, Josh Sanders 7, Dan Lawlor 8, Lewis Webb 8, Dave Cobb 7 (sub Karl Gibbs, 65 mins), Josh Moreman 6 (sub Dan Clements, 70 mins), Avelino Vieira 8, Jordan Macleod 7. Unused substitute: Wilkins Makate.
Goals; Sports - Vieira (36 mins & 68 mins), Gibbs (78 mins), Lawlor (84 mins).
Northern Star - Jones (82 mins).
Referee: Daniel O’Sullivan 7.
A tribute to Peterborough Sports’ amazing season will be published in the Peterborough Telegraph next Thursday (May 26).