It was always likely to be a one-sided affair at the ABAX Stadium tonight (April 26).
The United Counties Division One champions with the big budget were far too strong for the Peterborough Premier Division players who pay subs every week.
Peterborough Sports are enjoying a superb season. This was the second trophy they’ve bagged and it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise if they collect two more by the middle of May.
Only the envious make a song and dance about Sports’ finances. They break no rules and not many teams would turn down the support that charismatic chairman Tommy Cooper offers.
As you’d expect Netherton worked hard and played with great commitment. They’d beaten three ordinary United Counties teams to get to the final of the Northants Junior Cup Final, but Sports are an extra-ordinary outfit who could well take the Premier Division by storm next season.
Dan Clements took control of the midfield for Sports from the start, and it was soon clear that Netherton’s full-backs hadn’t seen too many wingers of the quality of Jordan Macleod and Josh Moreman in the Peterborough League.
And yet it took a hopeful punt forward by Josh Sanders and a willing chase from star striker Avelino Vieira for the hot favourites to open the scoring on 20 minutes.
Netherton ‘keeper Ross Ingram was deceived by a wicked bounce and Vieira outjumped him before walking the ball into an empty net.
Ingram had already made one fine save from a Macleod shot, while it took Netherton 25 minutes to register a strike at goal as Ash Jackson’s 16-yarder curled well wide.
A softly-awarded free kick by referee Martyn Gospel led to the inevitable second goal. Ingram made a block on the line from his own player, the ball was half-cleared, but only as far as Sanders who finished expertly from just inside the area.
And two became three within two minutes as Moreman breezed into the area far too easily before unleashing a shot that finished in the top corner via the body of Ingram.
The pace up top of Tom Randall for Netherton was only a spasmodic threat. Adam Scott delivered the only shot on target for the underdogs just before the break.
The pattern continued in the second-half as Sports controlled possession and the tempo of the game.
They scored a fine fourth goal on 55 minutes when Macleod, a superb player, left two defenders on their backsides. His cross was punched clear by Ingram, but only as far as midfielder Dan Bucciero who slammed home superbly from 20 yards.
An even better goal was to follow, 15 minutes from time, and soon after Steve Mastin had come reasonably close twice from 20 yards for Netherton.
Sports won a corner, it was headed clear, but only as far as Clements who smashed a stunning left-foot shot into the roof of the net. He’d previously only used his left foot for balance.
There was little drama in the final 15 minutes with Sports boss Jimmy Dean confident enough to bring himself on for 10 minutes of shouting and hollering.
Macleod, who was quite rightly named man-of-the match, and Clements were exceptional for Sports, while central defender Chris Hansford was outstanding for Netherton.
Sports’ trophy hunt now moves on to the final of the United Counties League Cup Final at Deeping Rangers FC on Monday (May 2, 3pm). Out-of-form Premier Division outfit Holbeach United are the opponents,
And then it’s on to the Hinchingbrooke Cup Final against another city rival Peterborough Northern Star. That takes place at Huntingdon FC on Wednesday, May 11 (7.45pm kick off).
Netherton: Ross Ingram 6, Scott Taylor 5, Lewis Brisbourne 7, Ben Daly 7 (sub Erik Makate, 46 mins), Chris Hansford 8, Ash Jackson 6 (sub Mujahid Akbar, 60 mins), Adam Scott 6, Herbie Panting 6, Dwayne Rankin 5, Tommy Randall 5 (sub Jezz Goldson-Williams, 66 mins). Unused substitutes: Ronnie Fortune, Charlie Gallogy.
Peterborough Sports: Luke McShane 6, Olly Medwynter 7, Dave Cobb 7, Josh Sanders 8, Wilkins Makate 7 (sub Karl Gibbs, 60 mins), Dan Clements 8, Dan Bucciero 7, Ali Nyang 7 (sub Jimmy Dean, 80 mins), Avelino Vieira 7 (sub Jake Sansby, 72 mins), Josh Moreman 7, Jordan Macleod 9. Unused substitutes: Lewis Webb, Jack Bloodworth.
Goals: Sports - Vieira (20 mins), Sanders (43 mins), Moreman (45 mins), Bucciero (55 mins), Clements (75 mins).
Cautions: Sports - Makate (foul).
Netherton - Jackson (foul).
Referee: Martyn Gospel 7
Attendance: 450 approx.