Uppingham Town the honours in Peterborough League Premier Division derby with Ketton
Rival Rutland bosses Matt Holdup and Ryan Hunnings were left with contrasting thoughts about their respective sides as Uppingham Town took the derby honours against Ketton in Saturday’s Peterborough League Premier Division clash at Pit Lane.
Town triumphed 3-2 to stay top of the table despite playing for 80 minutes with 10 men following the controversial dismissal of Uppingham goalkeeper Sam Norton.
The victory left Town boss Hunnings thrilled with the character of his side who battled back through adversity to overturn a 2-1 half-time deficit while Ketton chief Holdup felt his players had let themselves down after failing to build on last week’s first league win of the campaign.
Holdup said: “The players let themselves down in the simple aspects of a team sport.
“The work-rate, determination and fight were none existent especially in the second half.
“Credit to Uppingham, they fought hard after the red card which was a bizarre decision from the referee, but we have missed a huge opportunity.”
Hunnings felt the call to red-card Norton was ‘one of the worst decisions he had ever seen’ as Town were forced into using their sixth different goalkeeper of the season.
They also suffered the setback of losing the influential Callum O’Berg to injury in the first half and had what they thought was a perfectly good second ‘goal’ ruled out after they had taken an early lead.
Hunnings commented: “Sam’s come out for the ball which he’s won in a tackle. It’s changed direction and gone out for a throw.
“No-one called for a foul, but for some reason the referee has sent him off. It was one of the worst decisions I have ever seen.
“It ruined what had been a good start by us. We were playing really well, went a goal ahead and then had another not given when it had clearly crossed the line.
“The sending off completely changed the game. We needed time to settle down and Ketton scored two goals. We were all over the shop defensively.
“We thought it was going to be one of those games where everything went against us, but Ketton didn’t really capitalise after that and let us back into the game.
“It had been all Ketton in the first half after the sending off and they could have been out of sight.
“But they allowed us to push forward in the second half, we got an early second goal and then got the winner with about 10 minutes left.
“We celebrated at the end like it was the best result of the season. We didn’t think it was going to be our day, but I couldn’t fault the players’ work-rate.
“They chased down everything, were winning the 50/50s and refused to roll over on a day when very little went for us.”
A brilliant volley from Rob Forster had given Town an early advantage which they then thought had been doubled as Ben Easson’s header looked to have crossed the line.
However, the ‘goal’ was not given with Town then suffering the double setback of having Norton dismissed and losing O’Berg to injury.
Goals from Dom Jones and Jorge Barbosa then put Ketton in control of the contest but they failed to assert their authority on proceedings.
Stand-in Town goalkeeper Mert Owers made a couple of crucial saves as Town got to half-time just a goal adrift which allowed them to re-group.
They got back on level terms after the break as substitute Corey Wildman and Ash Hibbitt linked up well down the right before Wildman marked his return from injury with a fine finish from the edge of the area.
Town then sensed the victory was theirs for the taking and scored the all-important winner when Jordan Spencer struck a goalbound shot which took a deflection before going over Josh James in the home goal.
Town now face a tough trip to reigning champions Moulton Harrox on Saturday while Ketton visit Crowland Reserves in the Peterborough League Cup.
Ketton: James, Bell, Trawford, Parker, Holmes, Barbosa, Gray, Breakell, Jones, D Szymanski, Whittle. Subs used: Mainstone, Oakes, J Szymanski.
Uppingham: Norton, Hibbitt, Bains, Cleaver, Dalby, Henshaw, Easson, O’Berg, Thomas, Forster, Howe. Subs used: Owers, Spencer, Wildman. Not used: Godfrey, Harley.