Stamford Bels delivered the perfect retirement gift for long-serving manager Martin Conneely with victory in the Peterborough League play-offs at PSL yesterday (May 16).
Conneely is stepping down as Bels boss after an astonishing 25 years in charge and he will long remember his final game as his side won a pulsating Division Two play-off clash 3-2 against Ketton Reserves.
As expected a match between two teams who finished level on points in fourth and fifth place in Division Two fought out a tense, tight battle which wasn’t decided until three minutes from time when Paul Cramp lobbed an excellent winning goal.
That magical moment sparked a mini pitch invasion and wild celebrations. Scenes that were repeated on the final whistle.
Lewis Morley had fired Ketton in front in the early stages, but Jason Wardle quickly equalised for Bels and Wardle struck again before the break for 2-1.
Callum Betts equalised for Ketton fom the penalty spot midway through the second-half, but Cramp, and Conneely, had the final word.
Wittering also secured promotion from Division Two with a comfortable 4-0 win over Crowland Town Reserves in their play-off battle.
It’s a remarkable three promotions on the bounce for Wittering who can now look forward to testing themselves in Division One.
Wittering had finished third in the regular season, 13 points ahead of sixth placed Crowland and the gulf in quality was exposed in the second-half when Nathan Steele, elder brother of former Posh and Manchester United goalkeeper Luke Steele, struck twice. Billy Nairn also netted after the break to add to Pete Robinson’s first-half goal.
Grzegorz Misiura bagged a hat-trick as Peterborough PL United won the Division Three play-off clash 4-2 against Baston Reserves to gain a promotion from their first season in the Peterborough League. PL finished fifth in Division Three, one place ahead of Baston after moving across from the Northampton Combination League in the summer.
The team of Polish players were supported by many fans armed with red flares, a fact that didn’t go down too well with opposition officials.
PL were pegged back at 1-1 early in the second-half, but stretched away to gain a deserved win in the later stages. Rafal Komisarczyk scored the other PL goal, while Tim Palmer and Hayden Rice were the Baston scorers.
Division Two promotion play-offs
Ketton Reserves (Morley, Betts) 2
Stamford Bels (Wardle 2, Cramp) 3
Wittering (Steele 2, Robinson, Nairn) 4
Crowland Reserves 0
Division Three promotion play-off
Peterborough PL United (Misiura 3, Komisarczyk) 4
Baston Reserves (Palmer, Rice) 2