An inspirational half-time team-talk from manager Andy Lodge helped holders Whittlesey Athletic come back from the dead to reach the semi-finals of the PFA Senior Cup on Saturday (February 6).
Lodge’s passionate interval rant was secretly filmed by injured Whittlesey player Adam Piergianni and posted on Facebook. The video, which is definitely not suitable for young viewers, was viewed over 10,000 times over the weekend!
Whittlesey were 3-1 down to unbeaten Peterborough Premier Division leaders Moulton Harrox at Feldale Field at half-time in the battle between the top two teams in the competition prompting Lodge to launch into a verbal tirade. It worked as Whittlesey fought back to draw 4-4 before taking the tie 5-3 on penalties.
“I rarely need to have a go at my players during a game,” Lodge insisted. “Whittlesey teams are always up for it. Sometimes we don’t play well, but that happens at our level. Not being ‘up’ for such a big game is more worrying which is why I felt something needed to be said.
“I didn’t know Adam was filming me. He knew I was angry so he felt it would be a good video. Judging by the number of people who viewed it, he was probably right.
“Conditions were difficult, but I felt we’d given soft goals away and not handled the match well at all. I did have a pop at the lads, but it was worth it as they responded brilliantly. The second-half was a totally different story.
“We scored within 60 seconds of the re-start and then drew level. We looked the likely winners, but then Moulton caught us with a sucker punch 15 minutes from time. Happily we responded again and young Jack Bates equalised with an absolute ‘worldie’ in the last couple of minutes.
“I was confident we’d win then as we are so good in penalty shoot outs. Our goalkeeper Lewis Moat didn’t actually save a penalty, but he fills the goal and puts pressure on the penalty-taker. We scored all our penalties and they missed one. It went so far over the bar it’s probably still in the air now.
“It was a great game though and a great advert for the Peterborough League. I have a lot of respect for Moulton. They tweaked one or two things following our meeting before Christmas and so did we. It shows some thought was given to the match rather than two teams just turning up and playing.
“Jack Bates was the difference between the teams. He normally plays on the left side of midfield, but he played up alongside Matt Heron and he was different class.”
Heron was the subject of most of Lodge’s ire at half-time. He scored twice with Bates and Jake Pell also on target for Whittlesey. Ben Allen (2), Billy King and Bobby Patterson scored for Moulton. Patterson was the only player to miss in the penalty shoot-out.
Whittlesey now face fellow Premier Division side ICA Sports in the semi-finals. ICA booked their place in the last four with a win over First Division Baston the previous weekend.
All three of Saturday’s quarter-finals went to penalties. Langtoft United caused a surprise at Pinchbeck in an all Premier Division clash, while Stamford Lions emerged victorious from a game between two top Division One sides with Warboys Town their victims.
Langoft led 2-0 at half-time at Pinchbeck through goals from Joe Dobson and James Duffy. The home side hit back to draw level through Tom Brooks and Jamie Francis, but Langtoft took the shoot-out 5-4.
Ryan Brown and Joe O’Donnell were on target for First Division title favourites Stamford Lions. Joe Bennett scored twice for Warboys who had caused the shock of the previous round when beating top-flight Netherton United. The Lions won this shoot-out 4-2 to set up a semi-final date with Langtoft.
In Premier Division action third-placed Peterborough Sports Reserves missed a chance to go above Whittlesey as they were held 0-0 by ICA.
Alex Brockbank scored the only goal of the game for Ketton as they won at Stilton. Stilton finished the game with nine men as Garry Beaver and Jason Cook were dismissed by referee Chris Wesley. Wesley also issued five yellow cards to Stilton players.
Stilton hot shot Zack Fisher played his final game for the club following a move to higher-level Blackstones.
Improving Uppingham beat Deeping Rangers 5-3 and there was a big win at the bottom for Crowland who pipped fading Holbeach Reserves 1-0 with a second-half goal from Leigh Crane. It was just a fourth win in 24 games for Crowland.
Netherton manager Jon Harrison said he was proud of his players as they set up an all-city final in the Northants Junior Cup with a 1-0 win over Raunds Town.
It was the fourth win in a row in the competition for Netherton over United Counties Division One opposition. Herbie Panting scored the goal just before half-time.
Netherton will be be big underdogs against UCL Division One leaders Peterborough Sports in the final, even though Sports required a penalty shoot out to beat Northampton Premier Division outfit Weldon United,
PFA SENIOR CUP (Quarter-finals)
Pinchbeck United 2 (Brooks, Francis)
Langtoft United 2 (Dobson, Duffy)
(Langtoft won 5-4 on penalties)
Whittlesey Athletic 4 (Heron 2, Bates, Pell)
Moulton Harrox 4 (Allen 2, King, Patterson)
(Whittlesey won 5-3 on penalties)
Stamford Lions 2 (Brown, O’Donnell)
Warboys Town 2 (Bennett 2)
(Stamford won 4-2 on penalties)
CHROMASPORT & TROPHIES PETERBOROUGH LEAGUE
Crowland Town 1 (Crane)
Holbeach United Reserves 0
Peterborough Sports Res 0
ICA Sports 0
Stilton United 0
Ketton 1 (Brockbank)
Uppingham Town 5 (Elkashoty 2, Bennett, Spencer, Thomas)
Deeping Rangers Res 3
NORTHHANTS JUNIOR CUP
Netherton United 1 (Panting)
Raunds Town 0