Local sides keen to take a step up in standard next season

Action from the game between Whittlesey Athletic and  Moulton Harrox. Picture: David Lowndes
Action from the game between Whittlesey Athletic and Moulton Harrox. Picture: David Lowndes
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Peterborough Premier Division sides Whittlesey Athletic and Netherton United have applied for promotion to United Counties Division One.

Only one can be successful. A top five finish is essential and if both manage that then the highest-placed will go up, if off-field promotion criteria is met.

Whittlesey are hot favourites in that particular race. They are currently second, four places and nine points ahead of Netherton.

Whittlesey manager Andy Lodge still wants to be promoted as champions even though his side lost the battle of the top two, 2-0 to Moulton Harrox last weekend.

“We never got near our best,” said Lodge, whose side had won their 12 previous league games. “Moulton took their chances and defended very well, while we didn’t take our chances and didn’t defend as well. We had another gear to find and hopefully we will find it when we play them again. There is still a long way to go.”

Moulton have now won all 14 of their Premier League games this season to take a five-point lead at the top and they have a game in hand.

Olly Maltby and Ben Allen scored their goals at Whittlesey. Allen netted after Harrox had been reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of striker Ian Bradbury.

Moulton’s next outing is at Netherton and the city side will be a tough nut to crack after proving they could cope with a step up in standard last weekend by defeating high-flying UCL Division One club Stewart & Lloyds in the Northants Junior Cup.

Steve Mastin scored a last-gasp winner for Netherton after they’d thrown away a two-goal half-time lead given to them by Adam Scott and Lee Clemenston.

“United Counties League football is what I want,” Netherton manager Jon Harrison stated. “And I honestly believe we have the best squad in our league. We’ve thrown away so many points in games when we’ve had 70-80% possession.

“And we would cope with the step up. The lads told me a lot about themselves with the way they played last week.

“We hadn’t played for five weeks so I challenged the lads to use that hunger and take the game by the scruff of the neck from the start.

“That’s two UCL Division One teams we have beaten in the competition and we have another one, Wellingborough Whitworth, in the quarter-finals and I fancy us to beat them as well.”

That quarter-final is scheduled for January 9 at the Grange.