MATCH VERDICT: Maltby’s late winner sparks celebrations
Promotion is a remarkable achievement for Pinchbeck United in their first-ever season at this level.
The Knights secured a place in the Premier Division with five games to go.
One more point will take the title so there should be more celebrations at Thrapston Town on Tuesday night.
The final Saturday home game against second-placed Potton United felt like a good time to go up – and it was also fitting that top scorer Ollie Maltby got the late winner.
He struck 62 times in last season’s promotion from the Peterborough and District League.
Goal number 33 for the current campaign came with seven minutes left to set up those wild celebrations after the final whistle.
Aaron Eyett’s opener had been cancelled out by Danny Webb so it seemed that the promotion party would be put on hold for a few days.
The magic moment for Pinchbeck arrived, though, after referee Louisa Thorold gave a free-kick on the corner of the penalty box following Nick Bines’ foul on Eyett.
Substitute Josh Smith was looking at the set-piece but the responsibility went to Andrew Tidswell.
He delivered the ball to the far post where Potton could only knock it back into the six-yard box.
Maltby was waiting in the right place at the right time again for a simple tap-in. For such an important goal, it was so easy.
Potton’s run of nine league wins was all over in their last away fixture – leaving them to focus on runners-up spot.
Pinchbeck extended their unbeaten record to 23 games and there is no doubt that the success is fully deserved.
It’s not pretty to watch – but it’s effective and nobody has found a way of stopping them.
Bonus points are not given for entertainment and even the world’s best would find it tough to play ‘the right way’ on the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
Eyett and Maltby had also been on target in the 3-0 win over Potton at the end of 2017.
Since then, despite being frustrated by the weather and a series of postponements, Pinchbeck have only dropped four points in 10 games.
Eyett’s low finish came on the counter-attack following a free-kick for Potton.
Royals boss Steve Kuhne was sent from the touchline for arguing over a challenge by Nick Bishop which he felt should have been a red card.
Kuhne celebrated when Webb slotted in the equaliser but Maltby’s winner sparked great scenes as Pinchbeck got the job done.
3-5-2: Swan 6; Ash Murrell 7, Jack Smith 7, Wright 7; Sergeant 7, Shipley 7, Bishop 7 (sub Josh Smith 80 mins), Tidswell 7, Ogden 7; Maltby 7, Eyett 7. Subs not used: Gordon, Dunn, Gardner, Bisset-Clarke.
4-4-2: Bugg; Forster, Harradine (sub Don 64 mins), Sage, Blatch; Webb, Dias, Meredith, Franklin (sub Bines 69 mins); Aaron Murrell, Ansell-Carter (sub McLean 80 mins). Sub not used: Bitting.
Eyett (33 mins, 1-0); Webb (72 mins, 1-1); Maltby (83 mins, 2-1).
Ash Murrell (dissent); McLean (foul).
Ollie Maltby – right place at the right time again for a simple tap-in to clinch promotion with his 33rd goal of the season.
Tue 17: Thrapston Town (A)
Sat 21: Stewarts & Lloyds (A)
Tue 24: Irchester United (A)
Sat 28: Lutterworth Town (A)
Tue 1: Harrowby United (H)