It was harder work than it looked, and it only happened after a incident which left a poor taste in the mouth, but Netherton United claimed their third trophy of an outstanding season today (May 12).
The record books will show Netherton despatched Premier Division rivals Thorney 5-0 in the final of the Peterborough League’s President’s Shield at the Nene Valley Community Centre to add that trophy to the League and County Cup prizes already housed at the Grange.
But the red card shown to Thorney forward Sam Donohoe for an ugly challenge on Ryan Wood after just 10 minutes was the defining moment of the contest. His side were firm underdogs before the contest started and the departure of one of their most naturally gifted performers so early made it mission impossible.
Donohoe must shoulder the blame for his team’s demise. He can also take most of the criticism for the unsightly melee that followed his foul, although the reaction of Netherton’s bench was so overly-aggressive manager Jon Harrison was despatched by referee Craig Hardy for apparent foul and abusive language, and one or two others who had no reason or right to charge onto the field of play seeking retribution were lucky not to receive similar punishments.
Eventually order was restored and a football match did break out. It wasn’t a very good one as Netherton played with little purpose by their own high standards, while Thorney’s 10-men defended doggedly.
Ondre Odain opened the scoring with a fine header on the half hour from a floated Mark Baines corner, but despite a monopoly of possession, Netherton didn’t score again until 14 minutes from time when man-of-the-match Odain pounced on defensive hesitation and a poor decision by Thorney ‘keeper Ben Derbyshire to make it 2-0.
That was a shame for Derbyshire who had played well, producing a particularly smart save to push a Baines free kick onto the woodwork moments after Odain had struck the crossbar with a clever header.
At 1-0 down Thorney were always in the game, but their chance slipped away when the industrious Martyn Fox missed a decent chance at the near post midway through the second-half.
Odain’s second goal opened the floodgates and enabled Tom Randall to strut his stuff, delivering two high-class finishes into the corner from the edge of the box. Substitute Ash Jackson completed the scoring in the final moments.
The Netherton juggernaut now moves onto the ABAX Stadium on Thursday (May 17) as they take on Moulton Harrox in the final of the PFA Senior Cup.
Earlier at the same venue Moulton Harrox Reserves completed their own league and cup double by beating Wittering Harriers 4-1 in the final of the Chairman’s Shield. They also scored plenty late on after Wittering’s Andrew Moss had equalised a Martin Sandall goal on 67 minutes. Sandall, man-of-the-match Declan Earth and Ryan Wheeler all netted for the Peterborough League Division One champions in the final 15 minutes.
Elsewhere Parson Drove beat Stilton United 5-0 to seal the Division Two title, pipping Eye United who also won 5-0 today at Spalding United Reserves. Drove also won two county cups in a terrific season.
Eunice, Huntingdon have completed a Division Four and PFA Minor Cup double. They beat Orton Rangers 5-1 in the Cup Final earlier this week.
Parson Drove Reserves ensured they finished top of Division 5B by beating Leverington A 4-1 today.
Deeping Rangers lost their final United Counties Premier Division game 2-1 at Cogenhoe United last night (May 11). They have finished fifth.
Wisbech St Mary lost their Eastern Counties Division One League Cup Final against Whitton United 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Diss FC.
Friday, May 11
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE
Premier Division: Cogenhoe United 2, Deeping Rangers (Mooney).
EASTERN COUNTIES LEAGUE
Division One League Cup Final: Whitton 2, Wisbech St Mary 2
(Whitton won 3-2 on penalties).
Saturday, May 12
PETERBOROUGH & DISTRICT LEAGUE
President’s Shield Final: Netherton United 5 (Randall 2, Odain 2, Jackson), Thorney 0.
Chairman’s Shield Final: Moulton Harrox Reserves 4 (Sandall 2, Earth, Wheeler), Wittering Harriers 1 (Moss)
Premier Division: Ketton 0, Holbeach United Reserves 4; Moulton Harrox 2, Stamford Lions 0.