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Stamford Bels enjoy convincing victories in the Peterborough League cup competitions




Stamford Bels enjoyed a goal-den weekend with both of their sides recording convincing cup victories.

The first team were 5-1 winners at Oundle Town in the Senior Cup while the reserves ran riot in their Junior Cup clash with Hampton's second string.

They smashed 17 goals in the Group A tie with Alfie Winters and Joe McDonald both leading the charge with five-star scoring feats.

Josh Dowell hit a hat-trick for the first team. (46662212)
Josh Dowell hit a hat-trick for the first team. (46662212)

Luke Elsom hit a hat-trick with Joe Taylor, Steve Paling, Pritesh Patel and Jono Greenwood also on target.

The first team travelled to Oundle looking to build on their superb victory last midweek against Premier Division side Peterborough North End Sports.

They had three players withdraw from their squad on the morning of the match and were also without the highly-rated Kieran Duffy-Weekes through injury.

A stand-in referee also had to take charge of the game when the appointed official failed to show.

Oundle started the better of the two sides and looked dangerous by creating numerous chances that were matched by Bels goalkeeper Keenan Murphy.

The hosts did make the deserved breakthrough when Harrison Mcloughlin cut in and bent the ball into the top corner of the visitors' net.

Bels knew something had to change so Lewis Morley was moved in to join Dave Atkinson and Jake Walton in the middle of the park.

This allowed Bels to start playing more through the middle and press higher and harder without getting exploited.

Morley then levelled the scores before the break after after winning possession and powering home a strike from range.

Bels - who were to be attacking down the slight slope in the second half - then decided to switch it up again at the break.

Joint manager Dave Cramp changed formation to a 3-5-2 which would later prove to be master-stroke.

Morley and Walton linked up well for the latter to then slide in Bels frontman Scott Toomey who raced away from the Oundle defence to calmly slot home.

Alfie Winters netted five times for Bels Reserves. (46662217)
Alfie Winters netted five times for Bels Reserves. (46662217)

Bels went from strength-to-strength and Morley took the ball again from the Oundle midfield and this time slotted in Josh Dowell who proved why he had been selected to step up from the reserves with a superb finish to make it 3-1.

Dowell then doubled his tally for the day when substitute Brad Freeman found the striker who used his pace to pierce through the Oundle defence and his clever near post finish put the away side 4-1 up.

Dowell was really proving his worth and he completed his hat-trick when Sam Ford's through ball split the Oundle defence who couldn't keep up with the striker's direct running and he ran clear to seal the 5-1 victory.

Joint player-manager Morley said: "Firstly we would like to say a massive thanks to the stand-in referee and the Oundle management team who helped sort the situation out.

"It's never easy when the referee doesn't turn up but things like this happen. Both sides could have walked away, but we came together, found a solution and got on with the game.

"Football wise, I thought we were slow starting and it took a formation change to really get us going.

"It is always a game of two halves at Oundle due to the slight slope and we decided to defend it first.

"We were superb again defensively. Joe Morley really stepped up when called upon playing alongside Sean Kelly whose defensive presence was clear again by not losing a header all game.

"Crampy's formation change to 3-5-2 in the second half was genius as it allowed the front two to play as a pair rather than wingers as well as allowing us to keep an extra man in the middle.

"Josh Dowell really stepped up when called upon. There are not many teams who can deal with his raw pace and directness.

"If he keeps the right mind-set there's no reason why he can't continue to score goals for the rest of this cup campaign and into next season.

"We now have a really tough test against Stilton on Saturday but we will look to continue what we have been doing."



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