Cracker on the cards but top two clash is ‘ just an­other game’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Peterborough League Football - By Mark­plum­mer mark. plum­mer@ jpress. co. uk @ Ptmarkplum­mer

The big­gest match of the Peter­bor­ough League Pre­mier Di­vi­sion sea­son so far has been billed as ‘ just an­other game’ by ri­val bosses.

Sec­ond- placedNether­ton­man­ager Johnny Byrne and table­top­ping Peter­bor­ough Sports chief Sea­mus Mor­gan are re­fus­ing to heap too much­sig­nif­i­cance ona­clash­be­tween­their team­satCamp­bel­lDriveonSatur­day ( 2pm kick- off).

Sports go into their home clash seven points clear of the vis­i­tors fol­low­ing a siz­zling streak of nine suc­ces­sive wins.

But they have played five more matches than a Nether­ton side who re­turned from a five- weeklay- of­famidablazeof goals when smash­ing Oakham United 6- 1 last Satur­day.

Not only are the two teams bat­tling for the Pre­mier Di­vi­sion ti­tle, the­yare­al­sori­vals for pro­mo­tion af­ter both ap­plied for a rise to Step 6 level next sea­son.

Byr­ne­said: “This match­will al­most cer­tainly pro­vide our big­gest test so far, but noth­ing will be de­cided on Satur­day.

“Sports could go 10 points clear with a win while we could get the gap down to four points, but there is still a mas­sive amount of foot­ball to be played ei­ther way.

“Satur­day is only the half­way point in our league sea­son and we can’t af­ford to think about a pos­si­ble pro­mo­tion or worry about what Sports are do­ing.

“We have to re­tain full fo­cus in our own per­for­mances just as we have done all sea­son. It might sound bor­ing but we need to con­cen­trate on one game at a time.”

Ben Cullen hit a hat- trick as Nether­ton swept Oakham aside. Skip­per Ben Daly, Ash Jack­son and young­ster Fraser Sturgess scored their other goals in the 6- 1 success. Nether­ton were­five­up­bythe­break.

While that was hap­pen­ing, Sports were eas­ing past strug­gling Coates 4- 1.

Pre­mier Di­vi­sion lead­ing scorer GaryGibb­sstruck­t­woof their goals as they main­tained their re­cent mo­men­tuma­head of what boss Mor­gan be­lieves could be a ‘ show­piece’ match for Peter­bor­ough League foot- ball.

Mor­gan said: “We’re en­joy­ing an ex­cel­lent run of re­sults and­hope­ful­lythatwill­con­tinue on Satur­day.

“We have built up a de­cent cush­ion at the top and our aim is to pre­serve that at the very least.

“Our­selves and Nether­ton were in­volved in a very good game ear­lier in the sea­son that ended 1- 1 but there is no doubt in my mind that we are a much stronger side now.

“We’ll prob­a­bly have halfa- dozen dif­fer­ent play­ers in­volved than on that day.

“It is good to see two city teams chal­leng­ing for the league ti­tle and it could be a show­piece match on Satur­day.

“Hopefully we’ll get plenty of peo­ple come along to watch some of the good foot­ball be­ing played in Peter­bor­ough.”

Nether­ton face an­other big game on Tues­day when they travel to Ram­sey for a PFA Se­nior Cup quar­ter- fi­nal tie.

Nether­ton’s hat- trick hero Ben Cullen ( front) puts pres­sure on the Oakham de­fence.

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