Fringe players keep Uppingham in contention

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If Uppingham succeed in their ambition to seal a top three place this season, it will be thanks in no small part to loyal fringe players who have risen to the task in recent weeks.

The latest influx of veteran players, reserves and youngsters to step up for first team duty did Town proud on Saturday when they worked their socks off to secure a 5-2 win at Whittlesey Blue Star.

It was a great result in the circumstances and probably more than Uppingham had dared hope for when Rob Forster (dead leg) and Will Thomas (toe injury) failed to recover in time for the match.

And this was only half the story, because Uppingham were also without half a dozen players who had jetted off to the sun to visit former team mate Calum O’Berg, who is playing for a team in Malta.

Assistant manager Billy Beaver said: “We could only muster a bare 12 players to travel to Whittlesey and so we were over the moon to collect three points.

“It was an excellent performance, especially as the team was made up with several players who have not had a look-in for the first team for two or three seasons.”

Among those taking an unexpected first team appearance in their stride were 40-year-old centre half Richard Lewin, right back Mark Binley, Omar Elkashoty and young substitute Joe Harley.

Uppingham rode their luck a little in the first half but took the lead early in the second half when skipper Martin Bennett played a one-two with Dylan Oliver before slotting home at the near post.

Martin Turickki then made it two when he capitalised on good work by Jamie Binley, before Blue Star pulled one back.

Elkashoty then got on the scoresheet and the lead might have been further extended had the industrious Jamie Binley’s shot not been saved by the Blue Star keeper.

Tension mounted with ten minutes left when Blue Star pulled one back, but Binley made amends for missing his chance earlier by lobbing the keeper and then Turiccki waltzed through several challenges to complete the memorable win.

Uppingham, now unbeaten in eight games, should have a more familiar line-up tomorrow for a tough trip to Moulton Harrox and then on Wednesday Whittlesey United provide the opposition in a crunch game which could decide third-place.