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  • Writer's pictureHead Scout

Josh’s Day

Peterborough Sports 4-0 Rushall Olympic (National League North)



What makes a good non-league football ground? Easily accessible? A place to get a beer? Somewhere to get a tea or coffee? Somewhere to get some hot food? Of course you need somewhere decent to sit, a bit of elevation is ideal, the option of a good touchline to stand on so you can be up close and personal to the players on the pitch where you can give them dogs abuse, and a decent covered area for making a racket with your mates? PIMS Park at Peterborough Sports has most of these on offer, but not all, I don’t mind the ground, the club is a nice one, the fans and staff approachable, the team plays a decent brand of ‘no-fuss’ football, but there’s just something missing, everytime I bloody come here I can never find a decent place to sit and watch the game.


It's been raining all week, I’ve been checking Twitter now known as X, to see if there’s any doubt around the pitch status, but I’ve woke up on Saturday morning, suns out, frost has hardened the surface, and it looks like we are all good to go.


The drive is another thing I like about going to Peterborough, an hour, and a bit, door to door, down the A52, A1, A47, it’s hassle free, not bad for traffic, in fact I can probably count on one hand how many traffic lights I go through, before reaching Lincoln Road, I’ve got a regular parking space now outside the Thistlemoor Medical Centre, on a side street ready for a quick exit, a short walk to the stadium turnstile where only one door is open.



The Venue


I’ve had to bring my sunglasses out of the car. It’s so bright, hardly a cloud in the sky, spring is springing from what has been a depressing February of wet winters rain, but the issue today is not the pitch, which looks pretty damn fine considering the heavy recent downpour as I walk through the gates and take a look around before a quick stop at the urinals, but my concern is where to sit? Perched five rows up in the Directors Stand I’m looking directly into the sun as the players warm up, I can’t see a thing, it’s not the best view at the best of times, you’re not that high and you can’t see the bottom left touchline, your positioned nearer the 18-yard-box than it is half way as a chap and his kid plonks themselves in front of me to add more obstruction to the cause.


The press area is a couple of tables in front of me at ground level, there’s water still on the desks from the weeks rain but sat down there low as players arse level your view is even worse, I’ve had enough as the game is delayed due to an issue with some sticking up turf which is being malleted down by the ground staff, I’m walking over to the other side where I’ll stand on the touchline, in front of a small roofed stand no more than twelve feet wide which I soon realise is full of PSL Ultras.


This view is slightly better, next to the away teams dugout but you still can’t see down the touchline of a slightly sloping pitch, opposite the seated stand is half full, the newly built standing area to the right of that, sparsely populated with fans covering their eyes from the sun, as is the stand behind the bottom goal, the one to the left, low roofed, has a crowd near the burger van which smells of smoke, but there’s not many in today, neither team is hugely supported, both teams probably punching above their weight for the level with average regular home gates of 2-300.


The Game


Rushall have struggled since promotion from the Southern Premier League Central, currently hovering just above the bottom four, Peterborough aren’t too far in front of them but they know a win would pull them nicely away from sniffs of potential danger, the Turbines have an FA Trophy semi-final at Gateshead to look forward to in a few weeks, having beaten Kidderminster in the Quarter Finals two weeks ago.


As the two teams come out to pleasant applause it’s ten past three with the pitch issue now sorted, Sports in orange, their new colour of Chairman’s choice, Rushall in purple with red trim, blue skies, green lush pitch, it’s all very colourful as the action gets underway.


It’s not pretty, I wasn’t expecting it to be, two players have already gone off injured for Rushall as their ‘female’ physio gets an early run out. With the ultra’s behind me in a tiny tin terraced stand I’m hearing all sorts of ‘banter’ and good old fashioned ‘wolf whistles’ from one caveman in particular, Rushall Manager Liam McDonald commendably turning around and saying ‘have some respect’ which soon hushes them down.


The banter soon returns though as from somewhere a drum is perched onto a post behind me, a young lad with a Burberry scarf and a voice pitched deeper than Sean Dyche looks no older than twelve or thirteen, he’s leading the charge and is constantly banging the beat to chants of ‘PSL’ I’m thinking ‘second half I can’t wait to move’ all be it a good noise drummed up by the locals and one northerner who's accent has me wondering 'how' he's a fan of this very club.


Despite the racket it all looks to be a non-eventful first half and the away team Manager is happy with how it’s gone, but Peterborough striker Dan Jarvis flicks in a cross from the left to put the home side one up. As the fans behind me start to leave for their midway beers there’s another goal for Jarvis, his shot is saved as he breaks away from his markers but he bundles home the rebound and suddenly the interval team talks are very different from what they might have been at nil nil.


The Score


I walk down to the Colin Day Stand at half time where it’s much more quiet and peaceful, there’s a scout from Buxton sitting on his phone, a woman sat in front on her laptop looks like she’s doing her coursework, as I’m joined by a few Peterborough players not in todays squad, who sit behind me and chat ‘lad talk’ and good old fashioned subs bench spiel which I’ve not heard in years.


The view here is still crap, I can’t seem to get it right as I look up the left wing which is completely blinded, not helped by a training goal parked in front of me, I’m choosing this bottom corner stand in the hope that Rushall come out of the traps and do some pushing, however they offer little threat in what is largely a dull second half.


Peterborough are worthy of their lead though and they make it three on 66 when Josh McCammon stabs home after two bites following good work again by Jarvis. Macca is playing left wing back today, usually a centre mid where he’s very effective he’s a solid competitor and always puts in a shift for the team, he’s taking a throw-in on the near side in front of us as the linesman pulls him from making up too many yards “That’ll do Josh” he says… The lads are chuckling behind me, his teammates start shouting “that’ll do Josh” much more popularly known in the changing rooms as Macca, the injured Michael Gash sat in his tracksuit sipping coffee saying “I didn’t even know his name was Josh”.


But it was certainly Josh’s day, rumour is he’s not happy playing left wing back as he wants to get on the ball in the centre of the park where he feels more at home but he’s making the new found position his own, he’s in the box as opposite flanker Elicha Ahui bundles a cross into his path, a flying header for his second of the game, suddenly he’s got twenty minutes left and he’s on a hat-trick, he’s playing where he wants as he goes in search of that goal, popping up as a number ten, a number nine, he’s shooting from everywhere, unfortunately it’s not to be, but by the time I’m home I see a post on Twitter by Macca… “Three points, two goals from left back, great win”.


The Stars


Macca was his usual self, working hard and progressive and positive on the ball but his touch really lets him down from being a player that for me can progressive at the next level, he sorts that out and he could be a mainstay at step five and six for a long time to come. His fitness and his focus his biggest attributes.


Dan Jarvis had a good day and was direct himself, causing plenty of issues for Rushall who simply weren’t at the races. The pacey Owen Oseni aside they offered little in attack, and didn’t defend particularly well.


The Verdict


It’ll be tough for Rushall to stay up as their defeat drops them into the danger zone a point behind King’s Lynn Town. The fight for survival is often about ‘cojones’ and those who have the biggest will get out of trouble, March and April is the time to be winning games like this, the thumpings won’t help confidence at all, but a run of 2/3 wins here and there and suddenly the sunshine is appearing over the horizon.


That’s what Peterborough have done, a second win in a row takes them to fifteenth and nine points clear of relegation, they can air a sigh of relief as they look towards a potential Wembley final to crown their second season at this level, a very successful one indeed should they also manage to stay up.


If they get there, to Wembley, it will be a super story of this small works club continuing to achieve much more than it really should, a team ten years ago playing parks football, these days very much making a name for themselves as a tough turbine to beat in the National League North.


The Teams

Peterborough Sports: Peter Crook, Elicha Ahui, Ryan Fryatt, Dan Lawlor, Ashton Fox, Josh McCammon, Hugh Alban-Jones, Rory McAuley (Connor Johnson 84), Gabriel Overtan (Ben Fowkes 68), Dan Jarvis (Sidney Pereira 77), Mark Jones.


Rushall Olympic: Jake Weaver, Kristian Green, Alex Fletcher, Jordaan Brown, Sam McLintock, Alex Moore (Tom Edge 17), Owen Oseni, Andre Carvalho-Landell (Owen Farmer 46), Jordan Nkambi-Masidi, Mitchell Clarke, Callum Sullivan (Camron McWilliams 9).


3:00pm Kick Off. Saturday 24th February 2024, Lincoln Road, Peterborough (att 350 est).

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