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Noisy Children

Peterborough Sports 1-0 Farsley Celtic (National League North)



Tonight’s football includes Real Madrid verses Manchester City and Arsenal v Bayern Munich in the Champions League. I did actually apply to cover the Arsenal game at the Emirates, but they gave me Peterborough Sports at Pims Park instead.


It’s actually quite a big game. Peterborough were beaten 1-0 by Farsley on Saturday and a repeat result would lift Celtic out of the relegation zone and above Sports by a point, with two games after this one to play.


Farsley’s form had been horrific, they have been in freefall since a decent start to the season and have only just found themselves in the bottom four, having not won in nine prior to their weekend win, whilst Peterborough have never quite done enough to get away from trouble this season, they went seven without a win in the league before beating lowly Gloucester but the loss to Farsley has them needing victory tonight, three points should be enough to all but save themselves for another season in the National League North.


It’s been raining as I hear of pitch inspections up north but not so much in Peterborough I’m told, I’m in the car after 5pm heading down the A52 and A1 and arriving for 6:30 where the sun is shining, my walk from parking the car to the turnstile only brief as I notice a queue already to get in.


The Venue


There’s been a clamber on social media to get fans in tonight. Peterborough United won the FA Trophy at Wembley on Sunday and there’s a feel-good factor in the town with a larger than usual looking crowd already assembling on Lincoln Road.


I’m next in line through the turnstile where the lady doesn’t even check to allow me in. “I’ve not got my glasses on so I’ll take your word for it” she says when I tell her my name ‘should’ be on her list.


The players are already out warming up, a feel of spring in the air, it’s also half term so there’s a few young kids about, I’ve not eaten all day so ask the burger van man if he takes card and am happy when he says yes, I order a cheeseburger and coffee for £7 before noticing they do a kebab bap, and switch my order, a little healthier I imagine ahead of my nights duty of playing ball possession percentage on my phone.


I’m sat down, sun slowly lowering off the pitch as the wind kicks in, it’s nippy as I chat to an old bloke who seems to always sit in the same seat, back of the tin seated stand which is offset towards the clubhouse end of the ground.


He’s a Posh fan and always goes to Sports when the blues are away, he didn’t go to Wembley but watched it on the telly. “He never meant that in a million years” he said about winning goalscorer Harrison Burrows curling home a cross for a last minute winner v Wycombe.


The Game


I’m joined by a fellow scout from Bourne, he did go to the game on Sunday and got home for a reasonable time at 9pm, there’s plenty of people around us tonight, usually the seating here is where friends and families of the players sit, with the odd director and club official, tonight its full of bloody kids, screaming aloud they seem excited, singing “PSL, PSL”, I haven’t a clue what the ‘L’ is for? Leisure perhaps?


The start is frantic, as you would expect in a relegation battle, Farsley buoyed by their win on Saturday are confident and seem better in possession early doors, Peterborough route one, they don’t take chances, get it forward and use their pace on the break.


Mark Jones has a couple of low efforts saved and pushed out for a corner, Dan Jarvis then does the same, three efforts from the edge of the area all pushed away by Leban diving left in goal, the only real chances of the half.


The Score


My friendly scout from Bourne besides me keeps me updated with scores from the Champions League, City and Madrid keep scoring, so do Arsenal and Bayern, it’s nil nil here, windy and cold, kids are screaming at every incident in front of me and I’ve had a terrible bout of hayfever today, I’m sniffing, coughing, sneezing, I’ll gladly swap this now for a night in front of the telly.


But soldier on I do. I’m keeping track of the ball but every time it goes down the far corner I have to stand up as the view at this place no matter where you sit is often restricted, it seems that during the start of the second half, Farsley have it camped in to where I can’t see, typically, but the one time Peterborough do get it out, Dan Jarvis scores, a break away by the lively Njoku see’s the ball ricochet into ‘DJ’s path, he takes a touch and prods home from inside the area, he has a timely knack of arriving into the box late and scoring does Jarvis, an underrated player who’s goals have been valuable for Sports survival this season.


Moments later, Jarvis races down the left to cross into Njoku who has time and space but heads low and soft into the bottom corner where Leban can reach down and pluck, a huge opportunity for the Cambridge United loanee who’s not been at his best tonight.


That chance with half an hour left is not rued by Peterborough though as they fend off the feeble challenge of Farsley, I’m asking my fellow scout “what are they good at” as all I see before me is an ok team of ok players with no real star attraction, structured yes, gutsy too, but no substance or style, the philosophy is one dimensional and no player stands out as the one who can 'make a difference'. Darren Stephenson is well marshalled tonight by Dan Lawlor and co, every challenge and tackle is cheered by the young kids in front of me who have really created an atmosphere, even the elders are getting involved to cheer the turbines over the line.


And that they do, more chants of “PSL, PSL” echo until the whistle is heard, not a deciding factor in the outcome but they were certainly noted for their troubles, the PA man bursting with pride on the final whistle with “a special mention to the noisy children in attendance”. A touching moment after the game as every single one of the Sports players came over to clap and high five their little fans who stood in a line and each received a ruffle of their head for their troubles. Real football, real community spirit, the next generation appreciated for playing their part, seeing that alone worthy of missing out on tonight’s Champions League on the box.


The Stars


It wasn’t pretty at all, fast paced, high intensity, direct and scrappy, the one star to make a difference was Dan Jarvis who has a knack of scoring important goals. Elechi Ahui had a busy game from left wing back as did McCammon down the right, whilst Dan Lawlor, Connor Johnson, Rory McAuley, all combatted the threat of Farsley with comfort.


The away side had some battling qualities and won’t give up their fight for league survival just yet, Ryan Watson was their main threat, replaced for Joao Silva who himself looked skilful with talent, although he does have a touch of petulance, Farsley didn’t really penetrate the Peterborough defence enough on a night they needed to score, centre back Danny Ellis and perhaps goalkeeper Lebran their best players of the night.


The Verdict


The three points for Peterborough now mean they are five points and five places aloft of the relegation places with two games to go. They’ll be ok as Farsley and Blyth who are below them won’t both win their remaining two games, Farsley might be in the relegation zone on goal difference, but they have Darlington and Buxton to play next whilst Blyth have high flying Scunthorpe and Brackley to finish, you’ll probably take Celtics fixtures over Spartans, but either side can still go down, or neither? As Darlington, Southport or Rushall all a win away from being caught, and they could also still join Banbury, Gloucester and Bishop’s Stortford in playing 2024/25 step three football.


The Teams


Peterborough Sports: Peter Crook, Matt Tootle (Cuba Meyer 74), Elicha Ahui, Connor Johnson, Dan Lawlor, Josh McCammon, Mark Jones, Dan Jarvis (Hugh Alban-Jones 80), Ashton Fox, Rory McAuley, Brandon Njoku.


Farsley Celtic: Zan-Luk Leban, Harry Sheridan, Jordan Carroll, Chris Atkinson, Danny Ellis, Conor Branson, Ben Atkinson, Jack Evans, Darren Stephenson, Ryan Watson (Joao Silva 82), Michael Coulson.


7:45pm Kick Off. Tuesday 9th April 2024, Lincoln Road, Peterborough (att 550).

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