CUP FINAL VERDICT: Deeping Rangers are runners-up again
The challenge for Deeping Rangers is finding a way to come out on top next season after being second best for the third time.
The Clarets claimed a hat-trick of runners-up medals from a fantastic campaign.
They were only denied some silverware by two of the top teams in the country at this level.
Championship winners Peterborough Sports added the Hinchingbrooke Cup at Yaxley on Tuesday night – and deservedly so.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Deeping were edged out by a single strike in the Lincolnshire FA Senior Trophy final against Cleethorpes Town.
As one of only two sides to have beaten Peterborough Sports in the league, clearly Deeping are not that far away from winning honours.
They have averaged nearly three goals per game, Scott Coupland was another hat-trick from a half-century and Scott Mooney added 30 for a prolific partnership.
The free-flowing style – playing ‘the right way’ – has earned plenty of praise.
So it’s difficult to see how much Deeping can improve – perhaps they simply have to do it all over again!
Unless they face another club with a big budget, surely Rangers will be challenging again next term and picking up at least one trophy.
However, they were very much second best as they lost the Hinchingbrooke Cup final for the second time in three seasons, having gone down by the same scoreline against Peterborough Northern Star in the final game for boss Tuncay Korkmaz.
On that occasion, Michael Goode watched on – and this time Korkmaz was there to see a much stronger side in claret and blue.
A horrendous mistake by goalkeeper Richard Stainsby gifted the opener inside 30 seconds.
Jordan Macleod’s right-wing cross bounced off the artificial pitch and the ball went through Stainsby’s hands.
But he made amends with a series of top-class saves in the first half from Avelino Vieira.
Deeping’s inspirational skipper David Burton-Jones equalised with a crisp strike after Lewis Moat palmed out Dan Schiavi’s cross under pressure from Henry Dunn.
Mark Jones saw a header bounce off the bar and Sports were so dominant that by half-time, they had built up some incredible statistics of 18 attempts on goal and 12 corners.
Peterborough Sports won it with their first shot on target in the second half.
Dan Lawlor delivered another corner to the edge of the penalty box where Jones hit a right-foot volley against one of his former clubs.
There was no way back for Deeping after a much better performance in the second half when they threatened to nick a winner.
Schiavi and Dunn both had long-range efforts – but they couldn’t quite create a clear-cut chance following Mooney’s two shots before the break.
So it was a familiar feeling to collect runners-up medals. Hopefully, they can take the next step soon to match the big ambitions off the pitch.