Peterborough Sports announce their arrival as Southern League title challengers

Peterborough Sports' striker Mark Jones bundles the ball over the line against Bedford. Photo: James Richardson.
Peterborough Sports' striker Mark Jones bundles the ball over the line against Bedford. Photo: James Richardson.
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Peterborough Sports can no longer play down their title-winning credentials in Evo Stik Southern League Central Division One.

That’s what beating Bedford Town, one of the favourites for top spot, rather more comfortably than 1-0 suggests at the Bee Arena last night (November 20).

Peterborough Sports celebrate their goal against Bedford. Photo: James Richardson.

Peterborough Sports celebrate their goal against Bedford. Photo: James Richardson.

Mark Jones claimed the winning goal five minutes from time following a fine cross from left back Dan Bucciero and a hesitant piece of goalkeeping. It was a thoroughly deserved late strike for the city side who didn’t create an awful lot, but dominated possession and territory with their high tempo style.

The win lifts Sports to within a point of leaders Sporting Bromsgrove who drew at Thame last night. Just as importantly they are 10 points clear of a Bedford side who won 8-0 away from home at the weekend.

Manager Jimmy Dean and his backers have built a side that looks set to last. Giant goalkeeper Lewis Moat made one fine reflex save towards the end of the first-half, but had little else to do so well was he protected by powerful centre-backs Richard Jones and Paul Malone despite the presence in the visiting line-up of former Swindon, Luton and Dagenham & Redbridge striker Paul Benson. Full-backs Bucciero and man-of-the-match Mitchell Griffiths were composed and compact.

Lewis Hilliard and co in midfield delivered enough fine touches to suggest weaker teams than Bedford will be carved open (Sports though will be hoping the injury that took former Posh youngster Dan Lawlor out of the game is not too serious), while Mark Jones and Avelino Vieira didn’t stop running and harrassing three visiting centre-backs.

Dion Sembie-Ferris (dark blue) in action for Peterborough Sports against Bedford. Photo: James Richardson.

Dion Sembie-Ferris (dark blue) in action for Peterborough Sports against Bedford. Photo: James Richardson.

New signing Dion Sembie-Ferris, a Netherton United junior with 30 first-team games for Colchester United to his name, arrived at Sports in time for this game to supplement Sports’ attacking quality which last night featured a cameo from the bench from Josh Moreman.

Mark Jones might have scored in the first half after an exchange of passing with Vieira, but shot straight at the Bedford ‘keeper. He was close to reaching another cross from the left just before he scored, a goal that made the angry old men in the Bedford crowd even angrier.

Their frustration was understandable.

Just over a decade ago Bedford were playing in the Conference South when Sports were a rather ordinary Peterborough League club. How times have changed.

Peterborough Sports: Lewis Moat, Mitchell Griffiths, Dan Bucciero, Paul Malone, Richard Jones, Dan Lawlor (sub Josh McCammon, 62 mins), James Stevenson, Lewis Hilliard, Dion Sembie-Ferris, Mark Jones, Avelino Vieira (sub Josh Moreman, 73 mins). Unused subs: Henry Nkobi, Abduramane Sano Sali, Andre Williams.

Goal: Sports - Mark Jones (85 mins).

Cautions: Sports - Lawlor (foul), Hilliard (foul).

Attendance: 201.