STEVE Barnes admits that Pinchbeck United’s season has gone off the rails at just the wrong time.
United looked odds-on for an elusive Peterborough and District League Premier Division title just a month ago – but now they face a battle to secure second spot.
Saturday’s 4-3 loss at Eye Sports saw Ramsey Town clinch a second league crown in three years, leaving assistant boss Barnes deflated.
He reckons a congested fixtures schedule is to blame for their slump of three defeats on the bounce, but concedes they may now have to live with the tag of “nearly men.”
Barnes said: “I think we’ve had a decent season. Getting to a quarter-final, semi-final and perhaps finishing second in the league is pretty good.
“But it’s all gone wrong if I’m honest. Perhaps playing eight games in 28 days has caught up with us a little, but we don’t want to make any excuses.
“The squad is big enough and good enough to win things, but this season we’ve been nearly men.
“You look back on the 3-2 defeat at Ramsey and 3-1 home loss to Moulton as games that really cost us.”
Pinchbeck were 1-0 down inside 60 seconds and 3-1 behind after 25 minutes at Eye last weekend, before eventually losing 4-3.
Skipper Bobby Patterson and Oliver Maltby struck for Pete Roberts’ side, who were also aided by an own goal.
They finish their season at home to Deeping Sports on Saturday (3pm).
MOULTON HARROX 6
STAMFORD BELS 0
MOULTON’S sensational form continued with a convincing victory over already relegated Bels.
The Stamford visitors held the home side for the first 30 minutes, but the prolific Josh Ford eventually broke the deadlock.
That was quickly followed by a cool second from Steve Mastin as Moulton found their feet.
Goals continued to flow for the hosts, with Joe Townsend and Steve Sinfield putting the game out of Bels’ reach.
There was still time for Ford to grab two more – taking his tally for the season to an impressive 30 goals.
Moulton finish their season at Eye Sports on Saturday (3pm).
PARKSIDE U/14s 1
HOLBEACH UTD U/14 2
HOLBEACH took the spoils to secure a deserved third place in their first season in the Peterborough Junior Alliance League Division Two.
Playing with a stiff wind at their backs in the first half, the young Tigers pressed hard to take advantage of conditions.
Baines and Harte both came close to opening the scoring before Lachasseigne curled in a corner which was met by the head of skipper and man of the match Stebbings, who directed it into the corner of the net.
Parkside drew level early in the second half, before applying pressure on a resilient Holbeach defence.
Uglow was unfortunate not to score on two occasions when through on goal, before making amends with the winner with ten minutes to go, when he fired the ball passed a dispairing keeper.
Holbeach closed the game out for a well earned victory.
HOLBEACH UNITED U/11s 1
CHATTERIS U/11s 1
(AET, Holbeach won on penalties)
INVINCIBLE Holbeach clinched a league and cup double with a tense penalty shoot-out win.
The young Tigers played against a gusty wind in the first half and found it hard to get their passing game going.
Despite Rajan Sangha enjoying the best game of his season down the left, Holbeach still found themselves 1-0 down after a well-worked Chatteris corner saw the ball headed home.
This seemed to shock Holbeach into gear, but they couldn’t get the goal back before the break.
Holbeach stepped up the pace in the second half and pushed on, bringing out some good save from the keeper and Lawrence saw a shot hit the post.
With 15 minutes to go Holbeach manager Tommy Gostic threw on Liam Scales in attack – and he had a instant impact to the game.
The young striker held the ball up well and soon levelled matters to force extra time.
Holbeach were indebted to keeper Josh Simpson in the additional period, with the stopper pulling off an incredible save to ensure the game went to penalty kicks.
Simpson was again the hero in the shoot-out, saving two efforts to help his side secure the double.
Dordi Ivatt, Lawrence and Dan Mason were among the Tigers players to score from the spot.
Having won all 18 of their league games, boss Gostic said: “The team have done myself and the town of Holbeach proud. I cannot praise them enough for what they’ve done this season.”
WYBERTON COLTS U/11s 1
HBW U/11s 1
(AET, HBW win 4-2 on penalties)
WYBERTON were edged out on penalties as their fine Lincs A Division season ended with a cup final defeat.
The first half saw Wyberton playing into the wind – and they held out until the last minute of the first half as HBW pushed forward and hit the opener.
The Colts came out guns blazing for the second period and controlled it throughout with their neat passing and movement off the ball.
Wyberton’s centre back pairing of Mitchell Teft and Holbeach lad Scott Waterfall snuffed out any HBW attack equally backed by Ben Lawrence and Callum Davis.
The midfield of Pinchbeck boys Jacko Withers and Lewis Harker, Joe McKue, Connor Goodfellow, and Harry Hancock controlled the pace and developed attack after attack for Louis Gosling and Riley Hall.
Colts continued to lay siege on the HBW goal, with Teft going narrowly wide with a precision header, McKue fired just over the bar and Davis struck the bottom of the post.
But the goal eventually came in the final minute when Hall slammed in the equaliser.
Extra time came and the Colts continued to pile on the pressure, with Goodfellow firing the best chance agonisingly wide.
Wyberton went on to lose shoot out, but it shouldn’t detract from what has been an excellent maiden season in Division A.
SPALDING ATHLETIC U/10s 4
STAMFORD U/10s 1
JOE Waumsley fired a brace as Spalding signed their season off in style.
Athletic started the quickest and soon found themselves ahead courtesy of Waumsley’s neat finish from inside the box.
Stamford were then penalised for a back pass, which led to Alex Richardson laying the free kick for Luke Williamson to hammered home from the edge of the box.
The game got a bit scrappy for the rest of the half, but Spalding made it 3-0 before the break thanks to a good run and shot from Richardson down the right.
The second half was still scrappy, but after five minutes Athletic were four clear when Kieron McConnell’s through ball split the Stamford defence and Waumsley shot into the bottom corner to grab his second.
Stamford did get a goal back after a defensive error but it wasn’t going to spoil Spalding’s day.
Everyone associated with the club is proud of Spalding after a fantastic season.
WISBECH ST MARY U/9s 1
HOLBEACH UTD U/9s 0
A SECOND-HALF strike saw Holbeach edged out in a fantastic Fenland League cup final.
The action was end-to-end throughout, but it stayed 0-0 at half time.
In the second half the teams continued their battle to become cup winners.
Unfortunately Holbeach were caught out midway through the second period, as the Wisbech striker grabbed the only goal of the game.
The young Tigers refused to give up and went in search of an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.
Despite the loss, Holbeach were worthy finalists and should be proud of their effort.