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Deeping United's first team will face their reserves in the Peterborough Minor Cup

Deeping United feel that the progress of their club will be highlighted on Saturday when two of their teams meet in an intriguing Peterborough Minor Cup clash.

The club's first and reserve teams do battle in the quarter-final of the competition with the match taking place on the 3G pitch at Elsea Park in Bourne with a 5.30pm kick-off.

Ian Abbott and Mark Wyer's first team finished top of Group D after being awarded the points when Weldon conceded their scheduled clash on Saturday while closest challengers Sawtry slipped to a surprise 4-2 home defeat against Park Farm Pumas.

Ian Abbott (47616936)
Ian Abbott (47616936)

The reserve team needed to win their final match in Group C to finish as runners-up behind Thurlby Tigers and they duly obliged with a 6-2 success against Ramsey Town Reserves which set up Saturday's inter-club contest for the place in the semi-finals.

Abbott said: "It is an unusual situation for the club but it's great for us that the reserves have qualified as well.

"We are all looking forward to it. It's brilliant to have two teams through. It's a great achievement and at the end of the day it's a win, win for the club because we will have a team in the semi-finals.

"It just shows how far the club has come since we started two years ago and it will be a great occasion."

United were informed this week that they will be playing in Division Three of the Peterborough League next season after being denied potential title triumphs in the past two campaigns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And Abbott is targetting a shot at silverware in the Minor Cup to make up for missing out on championship glory since their formation in 2019.

He added: "We have been robbed of trophies because of the pandemic. We would have won Division Five and probably Division Four as well because we were top of both on points-per-game.

"It is unfortunate but that does put a little bit of pressure on us because I feel that we need to win this competition to show what we have done in the last two years.

"It will be a bit of a disappointment if we don't win it because it has been hard work keeping decent players together at this level and that has been our hardest challenge so we need something to show for it and it would be fantastic to do that."

Their reserves have also been elevated to Division Four with the club forming an A team who will play in Division Five.

Chris Hall's side went into Saturday's must-win group finale needing to better the result of third-placed Cambridge to secure their spot in the last eight.

Chris Hall.
Chris Hall.

Three goals in each half booked their quarter-final place as United hit the front after just six minutes when Jamie Reeve capped a bright start by converting a Lewis Anthony corner.

They missed several good chances to increase their lead before man-of-the-match Joseph Fane won possession eight minutes before the break and fired home a fine finish.

A third goal then followed on the stroke of half-time when Lewis Challis created the opening for David Howe to score.

A Ryan Anthony corner was then turned home by Markus Turunen just before the hour mark to put United further in control of the contest.

However, complacency crept into their game and Ramsey hit back to reduce the arrears with two goals.

An own goal from the visitors then handed United the initiative again with Chris Carter sealing their success from Fane pass.

Boss Hall said: "We were cruising at 4-0 and, although it was disappointing to concede a couple of goals, we played some good football.

"We are all looking forward to playing the first team on Saturday now and it will be good game.

"I have got everyone available and will be able to pick my strongest team. The later kick-off has also worked in my favour with player availability."

Mark Wyer.
Mark Wyer.

The victory means United are one of the few clubs in the entire Peterborough League competition to have two teams in the last eight.

With both sides in the same Minor Cup competition, they have also been forced to stick with the same squads throughout despite injuries and work commitments.

Joint first team boss Wyer commented: "It has been challenging because, with both sides in the same competition, we have been unable move players up.

"Players have not played for a while due to the pandemic and do pick up knocks so it has been a bit strange for us from day one because we haven't been able to utilise any of the other players at the club.

"It does make it very difficult if players get injured or have work commitments because we couldn't turn to the reserve team to get a player to step up."

Another quirk of Saturday's cup clash will see reserve boss Hall lock horns with Abbott and Wyer having previously been part of the first team's management set-up before taking on the reserve reins last season.

Wyer added: "We obviously want to win the game on Saturday but, what does make it a bit strange, is that Chris was with us before taking over the reserves.

"We do watch the reserves when we get the chance but Chris knows our players very well.

"Tactically they will have an advantage over us but, even knowing our players, I don't know if they will be able to do anything about it technically.

"We will not be at our strongest because we do have players missing so it will be the best time for them to play us from their point of view but we are still confident of reaching the semi-finals."

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