Cleethorpes Town 1 Peterborough Sports 2
OWLS DEFEATED BUT FIGHT CONTINUES
The Owls were keen to make up for lost time when Peterborough Sports visited Bradley. Due to the incessant bad weather in recent weeks, Clee still had eleven league games to play and it would take a monumental effort to make the play-offs.
Sports now appeared to be safe from the threat of relegation and would be keen to avenge the 4-1 thrashing in the reverse fixture. A goal by Andy Taylor and a memorable hat-trick from Marc Cooper did the damage in, arguably, the best away performance of the campaign.
Marcus Newell opted to make five changes from the Corby Town defeat. Liam Higton, Liam Dickens, Matt Bloomer, Brody Robertson and Jon Oglesby came in for Sam Vince, Oli Donald, Andy Taylor, Liam Davis and Luke Aldrich respectively. It was keeper Higton’s first appearance since September and Bloomer was made captain for the afternoon.
Clee nearly made the perfect opening inside the first 50 seconds when a precise ball from Robertson found the well-timed run of Oglesby. The winger strode into the area but pulled his shot a fraction and it flashed just the wrong side of the post.
The blistering start from the home side continued as Mark Gray headed narrowly over from a corner and then, in the 8th minute, Robertson appeared to be upended in the box. All eyes turned to the referee but he waved away the appeals, much to the frustration of the home faithful.
Sports were rocking but came into the game themselves with a flowing move. However, Josh Moreman could not supply the finish but, in their next attack, the visitors nearly took the lead. Firstly, Josh Lacey was on hand to hook the ball off the line and, moments later, Mark Jones hit the post with Higton beaten.
It had been a very entertaining start with both sides going close and the match continued in the same vein. Robertson had an effort chalked off by the assistant’s flag and the same fate befell Sports’ Jordan McLeod in the 24th minute. To the naked eye, both decisions looked mightily tight and, on another day, there may have been a different outcome.
The opening goal finally arrived in the 33rd minute and it was a deserved reward for the lively Robertson. A throw-in on the left wing found the striker 18 yards out and his low drive skimmed past away stopper Lewis Moat to nestle in the net.
Peterborough went straight on the offensive but McLeod failed to test Higton from a good position and then a strong run from Curtis Bateson was ended by a trip from a trailing defender. The Owls had produced a positive half of football and they headed for their dressing room with a well-earned advantage.
HT Cleethorpes Town 1 (Robertson 33) Peterborough Sports 0
Gray came close to doubling the home side’s lead when heading a yard over and Cooper eyed another goal against Sports but, again, was narrowly off the mark.
This proved to be costly as Peterborough grabbed an equaliser in the 55th minute. A long throw-in from the right flank was met at the near post by Richard Jones. His glancing header was just the right contact to find the top corner.
The Owls set about regaining the initiative and went agonisingly close when a fierce Robertson drive was beaten away by Moat. Gray was once again in an advanced position but he could not direct on-target after rising highest following a corner.
As the game reached the last 20, Clee made a double substitution. Gray and Cooper left the field with Donald and Aldrich introduced.
Despite being the more threatening, the Owls suffered a massive blow in the 75th minute. A fast break by Sports down the left was ended by a mistimed challenge by the reliable Tim Lowe. The referee pointed to the spot and also booked the defender. Lewis Hilliard confidently sent Higton the wrong way to give the away side the lead.
As we entered the dying stages, Lowe was replaced by Davis as Clee committed more men forward. Sports were now content to sit on their advantage and invited the Owls to try to break them down.
Despite frantic attempts, a clear chance just would not come and, after four added minutes, the final whistle sounded to signal a third straight league defeat for the first time in over six years.
FT Cleethorpes Town 1 (Robertson 33) Peterborough Sports 2 (Jones 55, Hilliard 75 pen) Attendance: 185
Not the outcome that anyone would have wanted but I will leave it to assistant boss Dave Smith to sum things up rather well I think:
“We were the better side today but lost concentration and showed poor decision making in two key moments that saw us lose the game.
That’s football at this level and this season was always going to be a learning curve for this group of players. Therefore, it’s no shock but the recent run is disappointing for all concerned.
At 1-0 at half-time, we could only see one winner. However, we are failing to kill teams off and not managing the game as well as we know we can.
Looking forward, it is great to have a game on Monday to put things right! There is no doubt that we will need every member of the squad during the run-in. We have the players, we have the fans and we have the desire to finish strongly… and I’m confident we will. The boys need the full support of the fans during this tough period.
We can all play our part and then, in May, we can look back at a great first season at this level – UP THE OWLS!”
Three games coming up this week and a chance to build some momentum. Firstly, on Monday (9th – 7.45pm) we visit Sheffield FC. Then, Wednesday (11th – 7.45pm) sees Lincolnshire neighbours Lincoln United visit Bradley. A busy few days is rounded off on Saturday (14th – 3pm) when we have the long journey to Shropshire to face Market Drayton Town.
All support will be most welcome as we endeavour to bridge the gap on the sides above us.
UP THE OWLS!