City of Peterborough V 2-4 Newmarket I
Goal scorers: Will Wilson, Chris Leggett, Mike Skelton & Josh Dawson
Newmarket travelled to Peterborough to face their nearest rivals for the title, second placed Peterborough. The team knew that a win would take them 10 points clear with 5 left to play and almost certainly clinching the title. It’s fair to say that Peterborough had other ideas and gave Newmarket the hardest first 20 minutes they have had all season. Peterborough pressed high all over the pitch, denying full backs Will Wilson and Dave Worrall space and cutting out the options for centre backs Simon Harrington and Jordan Newnes.
After five frenetic minutes Peterborough tackled Harrington in the Newmarket D and finished past keeper Chris Routs despairing dive. Newmarket went on the attack, scoring from open play when full back Wilson slammed home Josh Dawson’s cross. Peterborough responded almost immediately Wilson gave the young winger too much time to pick his cross, Newnes lost his marker, unfortunately for Newmarket the cross was inch perfect, leaving Routs stranded for the second time.
As the half progressed Peterborough began to tire and Newmarket quality began to tell, Mike Skelton and Chris Leggett saw more ball, they in turn picked out forwards Mark Pears and Matt Holden who linked up well. Holden hit the post after a great pass from Pears, putting the follow up wide. Skelton thought he’s scored from a tight angle only for the game to be taken back to a penalty corner given just before he hit the ball. From the resulting corner, Dawson’s deflected Ollie Wade’s pass which appeared to strike a defenders foot on the line but unfortunately a penalty stroke wasn’t awarded.
Peterborough broke and forced a penalty corner when a Newmarket defender didn’t retreat 5 yards after giving away a free hit, Newnes was out quickly and Wilson deflected the resulting shot over the bar, Peterborough won another corner which Routs blocked allowing Harrington to clear. Josh Dawson was combative in his defending on the right wing, not allowing the left back any space to clear the ball, he combined well with Holden to win a penalty corner, the Peterborough keeper acrobatically denied Wilson twice. The half time whistle went with Newmarket trailing for the first time since early December, but having conceded two soft goals and peppered the Peterborough D towards the end of the first half they were optimistic a win could be forced.
The second half started well, with a free flowing move down the right involving Skelton, Holden and Dawson, finished off resolutely with Chris Leggett firing in the ball at the near post. Newmarket really started to dominate, Wade used the ball intelligently on the left flank creating plenty of space for his team mates. Harrington went close twice from penalty corners before a fine attack where Holden beat a couple before playing Pears in, who squared to Skelton whose weak strike was saved by the keeper, the ball bounced back to Skelton who flicked high into the roof of the net on his reverse. Dawson then put the ball wide when it would have been easier to score, before he got his name on the team sheet from an almost identical move, taking the ball past the keeper and giving the man on the line no chance. Newmarket were forced to play out the last 5 minutes with 10 men after Dawson was struck by the ball on his ankle, but the team held out.
Peterborough provided Newmarket with a test for the first 20 minutes, but in truth Peterborough’s keeper kept them in it and Newmarket really should have scored a few more, keeper Routs touched the ball 3 times and twice was to get it out the back of the net. With a ten point lead established, the team need to lose the last five games to avoid their second successive promotion and win two more to grasp the title. Newmarket will need to make sure they capitalise on a higher percentage of their chances in the league above next season if they are serious about another promotion.
Man of the match was hard to separate and was jointly awarded to Wilson and Skelton. Dick of the day was unanimously awarded to Harrington for the comedy that was the first Peterborough goal. Next week Newmarket are at home to Bourne Deeping II’s, the only team to defeat them during an ill tempered match last November. With both men’s teams pushing for promotion new players are always welcome as the club continues to grow. Push back is at 3:30 at Newmarket leisure centre, as always spectators are welcome.
City of Peterborough V 2-4 Newmarket I