Unbeaten table toppers clash in cup quarter-final, tough games for title challengers
Match of the day (January 19) on the Peterborough League scene sees table-topping pair Peterborough NECI and Stilton United lock horns in a Peterborough Junior Cup quarter-final tie at Yaxley FC.
Division Three leaders NECI and Division Two pacesetters Stilton have each lost just one Hunts Cup tie apiece all season.
NECI now boast the only 100 per cent winning record in the entire Peterborough League after Stilton dropped their first points of the season last weekend in a 0-0 draw at Ketton Reserves. NECI beat Stamford Lions A 3-1 thanks to goals from Andrew Cook, Ryan Regan and Mark Cox.
It should be a cup cracker, one that NECI are relishing as they continue on what they hope will be a path to the Premier Division. It’s an ambition shared by Stilton.
“We set ourselves a five-year goal to reach the Premier Division,” NECi manager Antonio De Paolo said. “We won promotion from Divisions Five and Four in our first two seasons and we’ve been very good in Division Three this season.
“We’ve won all 15 matches so far, but we’ve had to battle hard in plenty of them. We’ve had a couple of 93rd minute winners and sometimes won without playing well.
“Motivation can be a problem as we are so far ahead, but that won’t be a problem tomorrow as Stilton are obviously very strong.
“So are we though. We finished third in Division Four last season, but we brought in several good players in the summer and we haven’t looked back. I’d expect us to get through Division Two, but Division One would be tough. Saturday will be a good test of where we are.”
NECI will test Stilton’s team of former Premier League players. The city side have signed former United Counties League defender Mark Cox as well as highly-regarded players Kyle and Josh Orange and Dan Ginty since the end of last season.
The other quarter-finals see Netherton United Reserves host Farcet, Langtoft United Reserves travel to Eunice, Huntingdon and Premiair entertain Stamford Lions Reserves.
The two-horse race for the Premier Division title sees tough games against in-form opponents for leaders Moulton Harrox (home to Stamford Lions) and second-placed Netherton United (away to Ketton).
Third-placed THorney hope to join Whittlesey Athletic in the semi-finals of the Cambs Cup by beating Fulbourn Institute at Campbell Drive.
Saturday, January 19
Premier Division: Holbeach United Res v ICA Sports, Ketton v Netherton United, Moulton Harrox v Stamford Lions, Oakham United v Langtoft United, Peterborough Polonia v Leverington Sports, Peterborough Sports Development v Tydd FC, Sutton Bridge United v Long Sutton Athletic.
Quarter-final: Thorney v Fulbourn Institute.
Peterborough Junior Cup:
Quarter-finals: Eunice Huntingdon v Langtoft United Res, Netherton United Res v Farcet United, Premiair FC v Stamford Lions Res, Peterborough NECI v Stilton United.