Stamford Lions beat Wittering Premiair in Peterborough League Premier Division derby match
Stamford Lions fought back from two goals down to snatch all three points as they toppled local rivals Wittering 3-2 in a frantic Peterborough League derby match on Saturday.
Wittering started strongly and frontman Andrew Moss had an early chance to give the visitors the lead when he ghosted past a static Lions defense but failed to hit the target as he screwed his shot wide.
With Lions keeper John Feetham missing the match through injury, a debut was handed to highly-rated young custodian Dylan Taylor and he was soon called upon when he denied Moss with a fingertip save.
Wittering were rampant and Lions struggled to cope with the pace set by the visitors.
With a quarter-of-an-hour played, Stamford's resilience was penetrated when Luke Smith lined up a shot and slotted into the bottom corner.
The wave of attacks continued and Wittering soon doubled the lead when Moss made amends for his earlier miss by firing a low shot that Taylor got a hand to but couldn't keep the out as it nestled into the bottom corner.
The Lions needed a response or the game was going to run away from them.
Dan Dimeo went on a surging run before getting his shot away, but Wittering keeper Paul Greenhalgh was not troubled as he plucked it out of the sky.
Wittering almost added a third as Taylor made a save that bounced off the crossbar before Dan Aust headed the rebound clear.
The next goal was going to be crucial and it came 10 minutes before half-time when Tom Fearns rifled an excellent left-foot drive into the bottom corner to halve the deficit.
The goal galvanised the Stamford side and only a fine save from Greenhalgh prevented Zac Treweek from levelling the scores with a shot on the stroke of half-time.
The second half started far more even than the first had done as the Lions midfield hunted the ball with increased aggression.
The game was tight with both sides looking for an opening.
With the match reaching the hour mark, the scores were level after Simon Griffiths whipped in a cross that was cleared to the edge of the area and Dom Butkus guided a volley into the corner of the goal that left Greenhalgh with no chance.
Wittering threw men forward, desperate to regain the lead, and a second effort crashed off the crossbar before being hacked away by Kyle Carter-Lawrence while Moss had a glorious chance snubbed out from a perfectly-timed tackle by Josh Whalley.
Wittering were on the front foot but had left big holes in their defence.
And, with 10 minutes to play, the space was exploited as Treweek raced clear before picking out a galloping Fearns who rewarded an excellent weighted cross with a sublime side-foot finish that flew into the net.
A frantic finale followed as Wittering pumped ball after ball into the Lions box.
Home captain Danny Sheehan and his fellow defenders stood firm as they headed away countless balls desperate to preserve the lead.
And so they did as the final whistle bought a close to an exciting game and awarded Stamford with a hard-fought three points after their second Premier Division win of the campaign.
Lions manager James Sheehan commented: "I have to give massive credit to my lads for coming back to win that match.
"At the risk of repeating myself, we have some talented young players at the club now, but you need more than just talent. You must have the fight.
"We were far too passive in the opening half-an-hour and could have been out of the game, but the lads dug deep and fought for everything in that second half.
"We were missing the experience of John Feetham in goal, but young Dylan Taylor agreed to help me out and he has done well.
"It was a massive result for the club, especially when you consider the start to the season we have endured.
"We have plenty of big games coming up before Christmas and that win helps us keep that positivity moving forward."
Lions face a tough trip on Saturday when they visit second-placed Stilton.