Peterborough Northern Star Ladies came unstuck in their quest to regain the Northants Women’s Senior Cup yesterday (March 22).
The city side were beaten 2-1 by Burton Park Wanderers in the final played at Raunds Town FC.
It was Star’s first defeat in all competitions since November and according to manager Steve Iredale it will serve as a wake-up call as the team aim to win the East Midlands Premier League title with six games remaining.
Although the bumpy pitch caused a few initial problems, Star started brightly against a team who play in a league lower and took the lead after 15 minutes.
Midfielder Deva Rawlings scored her first goal for the club when finishing from close range after Sofia Aragosa’s angled shot was parried by the Burton goalkeeper.
However, instead of pressing home their advantage and playing with their normal passing style, Star were guilty of playing too many long, hopeful balls which were hard to control on the dry surface.
Burton came back into the game as the half went on and their direct style of playing through to their two speedy forwards was causing the city team some problems.
But Star keeper Aoife Bromley was not called into action to make a single save before Burton equalised when a loose ball in the Star penalty area was pounced upon and poked home.
The second half was a game of few chances although the better ones fell to Star who failed to capitalise on them.
The Burton keeper twice dropped the ball from corners in the six-yard box but not one Star forward was on hand to steer the ball home.
Star were made to pay from a Burton corner when a run from the penalty spot was not checked and the Burton player rose unchallenged to head home from close range.
As expected the second goal gave the Burton team an extra lift and as Star pushed forward for an equaliser they put bodies on the line and in the way.
The same keeper who had looked shaky from corners then produced the save of the match to thwart Donna Nicholls as she left the defenders for dead and went for a one-on-one with the keeper.
However, it was not to be and the city team now look forward to concentrating on the league title push and appearing in the League Cup Final in Nottingham in May.
Boss Iredale said: “The County Cup is the one competition we play where we can use the roll on, roll off substitution rule and I like to use it to give all the squad members who have got us to the final some decent game time. Some of the players felt it disjointed the game so I’m prepared to take the blame for that.
“But it doesn’t alter the fact that we didn’t seem to want to play our normal game of getting the ball down and playing on the ground.
“Some of the players used the fact that the ground was dry and the pitch was a little bumpy as an excuse but it’s something we’re going to have to get used to now as pitches are drying out.
“But you have to give credit to Burton. You can only play as well as the opposition let you and they chased and chased us down and after the first 25 minutes they probably shaded the match in terms of possession.”
Star return to league action and will be looking to put things right this Sunday with a home game against Sandiacre at The Mick George Arena (2pm).