It’s a win or bust weekend for Peterborough Phantoms in the Autumn Cup

It’s win or bust for the Peterborough Phantoms this weekend (October 9/10), and even then two successes might not be enough to extend their stay in the Autumn Cup.

By Tom Lea
Friday, 8th October 2021, 4:49 pm
Action from Phantoms (white) v Telford last weekend. Photo: Kevin Bennett.
Action from Phantoms (white) v Telford last weekend. Photo: Kevin Bennett.

Only the top four in Phantoms’ group qualify for the knockout stages and the city side’s chances of progress were damaged by losses at Swindon Wildcats and at home to Telford Tigers last weekend.

Phantoms started well, but struggled after the first period in both matches to slip to eighth in a nine-team group.

Phantoms now need to beat top two Sheffield Steeldogs (home, Saturday, 7pm) and Leeds Knights (away, Sunday) and hope other results also go their way.

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Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov hasn’t given up hope though.

“Sheffield and Leeds are both very good teams,” Koulikov said. “Sheffield have only lost once and Leeds are unbeaten so we know we’re in for another tough weekend.

“But I’ve said before there won’t be any easy games this year and that continues to be the case as we get through the cup schedule.

“That being said, it’s an important weekend for us as you always want to qualify for the next stage of any cup and we know that the way that can happen is by winning both of our games this weekend.

“We might need other results to go our way, but we just have to focus on what we can control, which is competing for the four points on offer to us this weekend and that’s exactly what we’ll do.

“We knew we were going to play two top teams in the league last weekend.

“We knew Swindon were going to be correcting mistakes from the weekend before and I actually thought we did really well other than four or five minutes in the second period where we made uncharacteristic mistakes in bunches and that made it difficult for us to get back into the game.

“On Sunday we got a two-goal lead and played well for the first 10-12 minutes, but once they scored their first I just felt we lost a bit of momentum. We stopped moving the puck and started making the wrong decisions. Then we came out in the second and it was a pretty similar story to Saturday night where the middle period let us down.”

Phantoms start their National League campaign the following weekend when travelling to Basingstoke on October 16 before hosting Leeds the following night.