KINGS CLIFFE 2 (Addinall 45, Anderson 65) PINCHBECK UNITED 4 (Woods 3, Gosling 40, Dunn 48, Maddison pen 90): AFTER two years of being nearly-men, Pinchbeck were crowned Peterborough Premier Division champions in real style on Saturday.
Ian Dunn’s side swept second-placed Kings Cliffe aside with the swagger of title-winners, with Dan Woods’ stunning early opener setting the tone on another historic day for the Knight Street club.
Strikers Tom Gosling and Dunn were also on target, before a late Danny Maddison penalty put the fate of the championship beyond all doubt.
Having already landed the PFA Senior Cup, winning a double marks one of the most successful seasons in Pinchbeck’s near-80 year history.
Delighted player/boss Dunn said: “This is absolutely massive for the club and everybody who has been involved with it.
“We’re deserving champions, we’ve beaten the second-placed side on their own patch and it’s nice to win it here. We’ve proven that we’re better than what’s below us.
“At the end of the season, you’re worthy champions if you finish with the most points. We’ve won the cup, but although I enjoyed it, anyone can win that with a bit of luck. After two games we had no points, but going unbeaten from August to March was the key and put us in the position to win it.
“A lot of people have tried to take the shine off it for us. But at the end of the day, we’ve been very organised and worked incredibly hard.
“Most of the team is made up of local lads that have never played any higher. It’s a great achievement for us all.”
Any lingering nerves Pinchbeck may have had on Saturday evaporated within three minutes. Woods, playing from the left, slammed home a simply stunning effort into the top right corner from fully 25 yards.
That was the catalyst for a dominant first period, with Gosling having a close-range header saved and Dunn slamming a Maddison cross off the inside of the post.
Lee Marshall, who was a real collosus in defence also headed wide, before Gosling rifled his team 2-0 up with a rebound from Dunn’s initial effort.
Although Stu Addinall’s header on the brink of half-time got hosts Cliffe back into the game, a stunning third from Dunn after the interval settled any nerves.
The prolific frontman spun his man and smashed home superbly onto the top right with his unfavoured left peg.
Cliffe’s Phil Anderson hit back with a deflected strike from a corner to set up a tense finale – and when Gosling had a perfectly good goal ruled out you wondered if there was going to be a sting in the tail.
But Pinchbeck had other ideas, with the trusty left boot of Maddison converting from the spot in the dying seconds after Gosling was tripped by the keeper.
Anderson was dismissed in the aftermath of the incident, but Pinchbeck were already home and hosed.
Although the champions applied for promotion at the start of the season, United aren’t eligible to go up to the United Counties League just yet. But that’s something Dunn is keen to remedy in the future.
He added: “We’re an ambitious club and that’s something we showed by applying to go up into the UCL. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do on that front.
“It might be the case that we can do some work at our current ground or we might have to look for other options, but it’s definitely something myself and the players want to happen.
“I have no doubt we have the makings of a team that could compete well at a higher-level but first and foremost we have to concentrate on coming back and defending this title next season.”
Dunn’s side will get their hands on the trophy this Saturday, with the club putting on a fun day ahead of the home clash with Oundle.
More in Thursday’s Spalding Guardian.
Pinchbeck: Drury, Maddison, Wilson, Hocking, Marshall, Woods (Clay), McDonnell, Maltby, Dunn (Law), Gosling, Gray. Not used: Relf.
• Tonight: Pinchbeck v Peterborough Sports (7pm); Kings Cliffe v Moulton Harrox (7pm). Sat: Pinchbeck v Oundle (3pm).