MATCH REPORT: Win or bust for City of Peterborough after demoralising draw
It's win or bust for City of Peterborough next week (March 25) after a frustrating day in the East Premier A Division.
Third-placed City were held to a 4-4 draw by Letchworth at Bretton Gate (March 18) before all eyes turned to the clash between the top two at St Albans.
A draw with Old Loughtonians would have suited City, but the vistors won 4-2 to take a three-point lead at the top of the table ahead of a big game against Ross Booth’s boys next Satrday.
City are three points behind Old Loughts with a game in hand, but a draw would need them requiring a huge win in their final fixture against Harleston to claim the title. If Old Loughts win next weekend they will be crowned champions. If City win they would need a point from their final game.
City only have themselves to blame after a crazy afternoon of hockey at Bretton Gate with mid-table Letchworth. City were 2-0 down after a torrid start, looked set for victory when storming 4-2 ahead with 15 minutes go, and yet would have lost had Letchworth’s star man not sent a late penalty flick into orbit, just two minutes after converting from the spot with aplomb to make it 4-4.
The last penalty award was contested strongly by a city side who were down to 10 men at the time, as they were when Letchworth equalised. Umpiring decisions were queried by both sets of players throughout the game and the officials certainly did themselves no favours by repeatedly looking for help to judge incidents taking place right under their nose.
That aside though it was hard to deny Letchworth their point. They had been crushed by St Albans 8-2 the weekend before this game, but played with spirit and great resoloution for 70 minutes at Bretton Gate.
City struggled to find any rhythm from the start. They were too keen on the dribble rather than the pass, although it was moments of individual excellence that helped them claim their point.
Letchworth struck twice in three first-half minutes before a brilliant run along the goal-line from Brendon Andrews set up a tap-in goal for fellow youngster Manish Patel five minutes before the interval.
City started the second period sluggishly, but weathered a couple of short corners before Danny Sisson diverted Joe Finding’s short corner pass for 2-2 in the 47th minute.
And that was the catalyst for a strong spell from City which looked to have sealed the win they desperately needed. First Sam Blunt’s brilliant solo goal made it 3-2 on 51 minutes and Patel swooped for his second goal of the game four minutes later.
But crucially Letchworth replied from a short corner almost immediately and a blatant stick tackle led to an equaliser from the penalty spot five minutes from time.
A far less obvious offence gave Letchworth the chance to steal a shock win, but it was missed to the relief of most of the large crowd.