City of Peterborough face a National League baptism of fire

Danny Sisson (red) has been in great goalscoring form for City of Peterborough during pre-season.
Danny Sisson (red) has been in great goalscoring form for City of Peterborough during pre-season.
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City of Peterborough face a baptism of fire as they return to National League action after an absence of four years at home to Old Georgians on Sunday (September 30, 1pm)

The Surrey-based visitors to Bretton Gate have recruited two members of Great Britain’s 2016 Olympic squad in Dan Fox and Sam Ward for an expected promotion push in the National East Conference.

The Spalding team that drew 4-4 at Bourne Deeping, back row, left to right,  Stuart Cunnington, Brendan Morris, Glenn Richardson, Rob Dalton, Harry Vickers, Piers Smith-Hughes, Jacob Baker, Matt Day, Will Baker, Grahame Allen. (front)  Sam Howitt, Josh Rowbottom, George Halgrath, James Mayhew, Lawrence Smith-Hughes, Steve Rogers

The Spalding team that drew 4-4 at Bourne Deeping, back row, left to right, Stuart Cunnington, Brendan Morris, Glenn Richardson, Rob Dalton, Harry Vickers, Piers Smith-Hughes, Jacob Baker, Matt Day, Will Baker, Grahame Allen. (front) Sam Howitt, Josh Rowbottom, George Halgrath, James Mayhew, Lawrence Smith-Hughes, Steve Rogers

But City believe home advantage could be a leveller.

City skipper Ross Booth said: “We couldn’t have a harder start against an all-star team who have been busy recruiting big names over the summer.

“We are confident we can match them on our own turf though. We are a side that has pretty much stayed together for three seasons and there is a healthy air of excitement around the squad after achieving our goal of a National League return in style last season.

“In recent seasons we have competed well against National League teams in cups and in pre-season games without getting any positive results, but this summer we managed to get good results against three established National League clubs which should stand us in good stead.

The Bourne Deeping team that drew 4-4 with Spalding in the East Premier B Division, back row, left to right, Simon Shorter, Phil Arnold, James Sharpe, Shane Carlton, Andy Williams, Oli Varton, Ali Stitton, Stuart Biggs. (front) Andrew Kind,  Andrew Fletcher, Ben Slack, Tom Everton, Rob Dalton and Chris Clarkson.

The Bourne Deeping team that drew 4-4 with Spalding in the East Premier B Division, back row, left to right, Simon Shorter, Phil Arnold, James Sharpe, Shane Carlton, Andy Williams, Oli Varton, Ali Stitton, Stuart Biggs. (front) Andrew Kind, Andrew Fletcher, Ben Slack, Tom Everton, Rob Dalton and Chris Clarkson.

“We can’t wait to get going in front of our own crowd on Sunday.”

There is no relegation from the National League this season so City can play some relaxed hockey as promotion probably won’t be on the agenda.

City completed their pre-season friendly programme with a 3-2 win over Nottingham University at Bretton Gate last weekend. Joe Finding, Sam Blunt and Danny Sisson scored the goals.

City have signed Grady Wing and Cameron Heald for the National League campaign. They are both former City players.

City of Peterborough Ladies hope to join their men in National League hockey and they opened their East Premier Division season with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Cambridge City seconds last Saturday. Captain Robyn Gribble scored the only goal in the second-half.

City host Broxbourne at Bretton Gate tomorrow (September 29, 1pm).

The big men’s derby in the East Premier B Division last weekend was a thriller as Bourne Deeping and Spalding shared eight goals at Arthur Mellows Village College, Glinton.

Stuart Biggs (2), Simon Miles and Andy Williams scored for Bourne Deeping against a team newly relegated from the Premier A Division.

City of Peterborough seconds were beaten 4-1 in their opening game at this level by Wapping B, but City thirds were 3-1 winners over Norwich City thirds in Division Two North thanks to goals from Joe Lester, Jim Tansley and Matt Carson-Doughty.