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Crowland Town defeat Stamford Belvedere in new Peterborough League competition




Crowland overcame a tricky start to a tough group campaign in the Peterborough League's new cup competition on Saturday.

Gianni Salerno's side accounted for Division One promotion-chasers Stamford Bels to ensure a winning return to action.

Crowland have also been paired with Oundle, Stilton, Peterborough North End Sports, King's Cliffe and Long Sutton in a difficult Group C and their manager was pleased to get off to a winning start.

Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111628)
Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111628)

Salerno said: "It was a good competitive game and I enjoyed it. Stamford Bels are a good side with some quality players and we are in a tough group.

"There are two sides from Division One who are going great guns and could do well in the Premier and there are the two top sides in our division as well."

Bels - who were boosted by the inclusion of Deeping Rangers duo Jake Walton and Ben Cowles - made the brighter opening of the two sides.

They were the dominant team in the early exchanges but, once Crowland started to hit their stride, they took control of the contest.

The visitors hit the front around the half-hour mark when Juliano Resta won possession and played a quick one-two before whipping in a well-struck cross that was met by Harry Grigas who got in front of his marker to side-foot home a tidy finish.

Clear-cut chances were then few and far between for both sides with Crowland looking strong defensive as Ryan Kirchin and Joe Strickland shone at centre-halves.

Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111633)
Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111633)

The midfield duo of Matty Smith and Stephen Wells kept Bels in check with Crowland sealing their success midway through the second half.

They were awarded a penalty following a foul and, although Corban Oldham saw his initial spot kick saved by home goalkeeper Keenan Murphy, the Crowland striker was first to the rebound to double his side's lead.

Boss Salerno added: "Bels probably edged it in the first 15 or 20 minutes. It took us a little bit to get into it but, after that, it was pretty comfortable and I don't think they could have too many complaints that we won the game.

"They were always going to be up for it and come at us from the start because we are a division higher and we did treat the ball a bit like a hot potato early on.

"But I was impressed with us as the game went on because I was fully expecting the match to come down to fitness after both sides had not played for several months.

"We're just happy to have at least six games to end the season though and then hopefully we can have a full league programme next year.

Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111635)
Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111635)

"It's almost like an extended pre-season and it's the chance to get the camaraderie back between the players.

"We won't be the only side like that because it has just gone away a bit over the past year or so because we haven't been together to have that crack which we had before."

Crowland return to their Snowden Field base on Saturday when Oundle are the visitors.

Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111638)
Action from Crowland's victory over Stamford Bels on Saturday. Photo: Alan Walters (46111638)


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