Peterborough Sports play with so much passion, commitment and spirit, and boast so much attacking quality, you’d be a fool to write off their chances of reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup on Saturday (October 19).
Sure, they have a daunting task at National League AFC Fylde in their fourth qualifying round tie, but while the struggling top-flight side are currently without a manager, Sports, who play two divisions lower, are led by one who can do no wrong in Jimmy Dean.
Last night (October 15) his side might have been forgiven for taking their eye off the ball against Southern League Central Premier Division opponents Nuneaton Borough at the Bee Arena knowing that a shot at glory lay a few days ahead, but instead they turned a limp first-half display into a rampant second-half performance to claim a third straight league win, this one against a team who were playing their trade in the Conference four seasons ago and who were still a full-time club last season when suffering a relegation from the National North League.
It finished 2-1, but a much bigger advantage would not have flattered Sports so dominant were they after the break. Dean had left key forwards Maniche Sani and Cameron Johnson on the bench at the start before unleashing them with devastating effect on a tiring defence.
Nuneaton are about the biggest club in this division. Last night they fielded former Aston Villa midfielder Isiaih Osbourne - a man who played against Peterborough United for Walsall last season - and Alex Henshall - a playmaker who once moved from Swindon to Manchester City for £100k after turning down Manchester United and Liverpool - was also on duty. The club even had two men in the press box providing a live match commentary for Nuneaton fans who didn’t fancy a trip to New England.
They were happy in the fourth minute when Paul Malone rather embarrassingly sliced a right-wing cross into his own net, but sad a couple of minutes later when Jordan Macleod, a nippy forward more regularly seen at Deeping Rangers this season, equalised with a shot through the legs of an on-loan goalkeeper from Nottingham Forest.
Nuneaton went on to boss the latter stages of the first-half and hit the woodwork twice before a centre-forward powered a shot into the car park when unchallenged barely 10 yards from goal.
But Sports were a different beast after the break. They always looked the most likely to score and finally did so 15 minutes from time when Mark Jones headed Dan Bucciero’s cross home.
Sani, Johnson and Dion Sembie-Ferris were by now torturing the visiting defence and only some desperate, last-ditch defending and a couple of fine saves stopped further goals.
Sports are now into the top 10 in their first season at step three level after three straight wins and have games in hand on those above them.
Fylde should be wary of taking this team too lightly.
Elsewhere in the city Peterborough Northern Star lost for an eighth competitive game in a row, 3-1 at home to Leicester Nirvana in the United Counties Premier Division. Jack Bloodworth scored their goal.
Blackstones will go top of Division One if they beat Saffron Dynamo at home tonight (October 16).