City of Peterborough came off second best in their ‘do or die’ East Premier A Division game at Old Loughtonians on Saturday (March 25), but skipper Ross Booth was still proud of his players.
City had to win to keep alive their chances of winning the title, but Old Loughts emerged 3-1 winners to seal top spot and clinch the one promotion place to the National League.
City are now destined to finish third barring an unlikely margin of victory in their re-scheduled game against Harleston at Bretton Gate on Saturday (April 1).
But Booth said: “The team was obviously gutted, but we gave it our all and that is the nature of sport. You have to be able to take the highs with the lows and draw on the experience gained from those occasions. We have a young side and they can all be proud of what we have achieved this season.”
A large crowd, including many travelling supporters, witnessed the big game - it was President’s Day at the Essex club - and a predictably tense affair followed.
The first-half was even with both failing to convert short corners. Old Loughts cleared one off the line, while City ‘keeper Cameron Goodey made an excellent save off another. City also saw a couple of balls flash across the ‘D’ just out of reach of their strikers.
City were reduced to 10 men within a minute of the restart and Old Loughts immediately took advantage by winning a short corner and deflecting the ball home. Being a man down didn’t put City off though and they showed character by going straight up the other end and equalising within a minute of conceding.
Matt Porter drove the ball down the left and Danny Sisson pounced to slot home the free ball.
Thhe home side then enjoyed a purple patch with their aggressive defending leaving little for City’s forwards to work with and their strength in depth helped them to maintain intensity.
Mid-way through the second-half Loughts won another short corner and the drag flick was converted to give them the lead. At this point, City knew they had to go for it as a draw would not be good enough. Unfortunately, this left them open at the back and Old Loughts added a third on the break.
The final 10 minutes were played in the Old Loughts half with them looking to use the aerial to hit us on the counter attack. Despite the best efforts of the City team, the Old Loughts defence held strong and they saw out the win.
Talented teenager Nicky Reddy makes his farewell City appearance next weekend. He’s off to university.