Stamford Belvedere aiming to secure progress in the Peterborough League cup competitions
Stamford Bels face two final game deciders in the last weekend of group matches in the Peterborough League's cup competitions.
The first team can clinch qualification from Group C in the Peterborough Senior Cup if they defeat Long Sutton in Saturday's clash at Welland Academy.
Their reserves face Deeping Rangers' second string this weekend with the winners progressing to the last eight from Group A of the Peterborough Junior Cup.
Lewis Morley's first team charges ran out 6-1 winners against King's Cliffe at the weekend with Josh Dowell hitting a hat-trick and Kieran Duffy-Weekes, James Slack and Brad Freeman also on target.
It what was a must-win game for Bels, their visitors started the brighter of the two sides, but defensively the hosts stood strong.
Slack, returning after a two-season absence with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, slotted straight back into the heart of defence alongside the in-form Sean Kelly.
Bels broke the deadlock against the run of play as Scott Toomey found Morley whose smart turn in the middle of the park created space for him to slot in Duffy-Weekes whose composed finish put the home side 1-0 up just before the break.
Bels came to life in the second half with Dowell causing all sorts of problems.
That was shown when Bels won the ball deep in their own half and the midfield three of Jack Corby, Toomey and Morley broke from their own box linking superbly on the break as the player-manager's through ball split the Cliffe defence for Dowell to run through and double Bels' lead.
They made it three when the front two of Duffy-Weekes and Dowell linked with the latter again making no mistake when presented with the opportunity.
Bels substitutes Paul Cramp and Brad Freeman then instantly made an impact when a bursting run from Cramp left the Cliffe full-back for dead and he pulled the ball back to Morley whose link up with Dowell proved again deadly when the in-form striker muscled off the Cliffe defender to complete his hat-trick.
Freeman and Duffy-Weekes then produced a fine bit of play when the duo's one touch football ended with a delightful back-heel from Duffy-Weekes going through the Cliffe defender's legs to find Freeman whose dink over the Cliffe keeper made it five.
Cliffe didn’t give up and a long range strike from Harry Catanach gave them a consolation but Bels sealed their success when a Freeman corner found the head of Slack who fired home making the final score 6-1.
Joint manager Morley said: "It was a brilliant overall performance.
"We started slowly but once we settled down and got the ball moving with the quality we have we know that we will always make chances.
"Toomey dropping into midfield and Kieran pushing up top made all the difference. They were superb.
"Josh Dowell has really cemented his place in the first team. His raw eye for goal and directness is something no defender can cope with when he is on his game.
"Defensively we were sound again and it was great to see Slacky back in action after such a lengthy period out.
"We have now a huge game against Long Sutton on Saturday. It couldn’t be more simple - if we win we go through to the next round so I will be looking for another big performance."