MATCH VERDICT: Job done for Pinchbeck United
It’s official – Pinchbeck United are simply the best.
In their first-ever season at this level, the Knights were crowned champions with four games to go.
It wasn’t a perfect way to take the title at Thrapston Town on Tuesday night as a two-goal advantage against 10 men was thrown away.
The standards slipped in a sloppy second-half display. But they only needed a point so it was a case of job done.
The celebrations were wild when promotion was confirmed at the Sir Halley Stewart on Saturday. This time, they were pretty mild.
For a long time during this incredible unbeaten run, it has been a question of when rather than if Pinchbeck would be champions.
They deserve credit – all this background noise over budgets, long-ball tactics and playing like a rugby team has been unfair.
This season Pinchbeck have been much better than everyone else to claim back-to-back promotions.
They are effective thanks to the management team of Ian Dunn and Allan Ross guiding a group of players.
The majority of this squad came up last season from the Peterborough and District League so it’s a magnificent achievement to win the title.
Pinchbeck might even be wrongly accused of route one football for the opening goal at Chancery Lane.
However, Tyler Wright’s long-range pass picked out Ollie Maltby behind the home defence.
The top scorer produced a lovely lob into the far corner for his 34th goal this term.
Left wing-back Danny Wells was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident when the assistant referee spotted a kick on Josh Smith just three minutes before the break.
In first-half stoppage time, Tom Sergeant nodded home Liam Ogden’s corner and it seemed the title was safe.
Henry Cade’s flick pulled one back for Thrapston and substitute Cory James beat Dan Swan at the near post with six minutes to go.
Thrapston finished the game with nine men because Ethan Lee was forced off due to injury.
One point was good enough for Pinchbeck, though.
5-3-2: Fox; Cade, Brown, Clinton, Belbin, Wells; Blackwell (sub Langin 77 mins), Hanley, Lee; Smith (sub Carter 52 mins), Cummins (sub James 59 mins). Sub not used: Agbenu.
3-1-4-2: Swan 6; Murrell 6, Jack Smith 6, Wright 6; Tidswell 6; Sergeant 6 (sub Bisset-Clarke 77 mins), Eyett 6 (sub Dunn 59 mins, 6), Shipley 6, Ogden 6; Maltby 6 (sub Gordon 75 mins), Josh Smith 6. Subs not used: Bishop, Gardner.
Maltby (16 mins, 0-1); Sergeant (45 mins, 0-2); Cade (57 mins, 1-2); James (84 mins, 2-2).
Wells (violent conduct).
Blackwell, Wright (unsporting behaviour).
Josh Smith – found extra energy to pose a few problems down the right flank, particularly during the second half.
Sat 21: Stewarts & Lloyds (A)
Tue 24: Irchester United - 8pm (A)
Sat 28: Lutterworth Town (A)
Tue 1: Harrowby United (H)