City of Peterborough’s hopes of a top-four finish in the East League Premier A Division were dashed by Harleston Magpies on Saturday (February 14).
City were beaten 4-1 but actually performed much better than the scoreline suggests, competing well for three-quarters of the game.
Desperate for the three points, City pushed forward from the start but were punished on the break for their ambition.
City dominated the early passages of play, controlling possession and creating a number of half chances and the Magpies looked a long way short of comfortable, particularly at the back.
So the visitors were disappointed to concede a goal after 15 minutes when Harleston rifled in a short corner off the underside of the bar – their first decent chance of the game.
City continued to take the game to Harleston, and felt aggrieved not to be awarded at least two short corners of their own for what appeared to be a shove on a Peterborough player, and a clear foot in the D by a Harleston defender.
At half-time City were very happy with the quality of play produced, and remained confident of achieving a result.
And the second half started with constant Peterborough pressure and Ross Ambler was unlucky to be denied by an excleent save.
This was followed moments later by a defender’s stick save on the line from a rasping reverse stick strike from Joe Finding – the defender admitting he knew nothing about it as the ball deflected over the bar.
Nathan Foad thought he had got the Peterborough equaliser with a fine deflection, only to see the “goal” harshly disallowed for shielding of the ball during the build-up.
City then rued their luck as Harleston broke away twice to score on the break, providing them with a three-goal cushion which in no way reflected the balance of play.
Even at 3-0 down with 15 to play Peterborough still felt they could win the game, such had been their domination of play. They continued to push for a win but conceded a further goal on the break.
City eventually scored with the final play of the game, courtesy of a Shane Vincent short corner.
The visitors left the field disappointed at the final scoreline, but proud of the way they had dominated much of the game against a Harleston side to be commended for their clinical finishing on the break off a limited number of attacks, and outstanding last ditch defending, particularly from their goalkeeper.
Man-of-the-match for Peterborough was Sam Anderson.
Next week City entertain Cambridge University in a rearranged league game (2.30pm). Cambridge currently sit second in the table, and were convincing 4-1 victors against Peterborough at the University ground.