Uppingham Town defeat Netherton United in Peterborough League Premier Division clash
Uppingham Town defied the odds to stun Peterborough League Premier Division leaders Netherton United with a last-gasp victory on Saturday.
Martin Turiccki's early opener had been cancelled out by Fraser Sturgess' leveller for the table-topping hosts before Callum O'Berg blasted home an injury-time winner for Ryan Hunnings' side.
It was the first home league defeat that Netherton had suffered this season after previously collecting 25 points from a possible 27 on their 3G surface at the Grange.
And Town's triumph was in the face of adversity as they had to overcome a chronic player shortage at the Rutland club which had forced them to cancel their scheduled reserve team game at Glinton & Northborough.
Hunnings explained: "It had been a bit of a horrible week for the club in terms of player availability.
"We had a lot of first team players unavailable which forced us to cancel the reserve game. Three more players then dropped out on Saturday morning so we went with just 12.
"In a way that probably took a bit of pressure off us because we just went there and played our game.
"But everyone pulled together as a club. The lads who stepped up from the reserves were superb and it was great to have their two managers helping me on the sidelines as well.
"We showed the spirit of last season. The lads didn't know when they were beaten and we didn't just settle for a point which probably took Netherton by surprise.
"I couldn't fault the lads at all. They did everything that we asked of them."
Uppingham had got off to a dream start when they took a seventh minute lead as Turiccki lashed home a volley with a fantastic finish from a corner.
Town refused to sit back on their lead and had the next best chance of the half to double their advantage.
Former Oakham goalkeeper Connor Barker saw his clearance intercepted by Turiccki who rifled in a shot which rattled the crossbar with the rebound just evading the incoming Rob Forster.
Despite playing into a strong head-wind, Netherton created some good openings of their own only to find Tom Hubbard in fine form in the Uppingham goal.
They did level 10 minutes before half-time though when Town failed to slot into their defensive shape for the first time that afternoon and Sturgess struck home at the back post.
The equaliser failed to deflate Uppingham who stayed out on the pitch during the break to help retain their movement after some slow starts to the second half in recent weeks.
And, despite Netherton hitting the crossbar with a looping header, Town turned the game into a midfield battle.
Hunnings felt his side were the better team as the game approached the final 20 minutes and they reaped their rewards with a late winner.
Substitute Jack Godfrey had just failed to connect with an inviting cross into the box, but the ball came out to O'Berg on the edge of the area and he hit home the winner to spark wild celebrations in the Town camp.
Hunnings added: "The work-rate of the players was superb.
"Jonny Forster came in from the reserves and had a brilliant game while we asked Cameron Cleaver to play in an unfamiliar position and he did really well against one of their best players.
"We knew this was going to be a tricky period of games for us, but we've set the lads a plan of hitting form so that we can push on ready for the cup final in May."
Town travel to reigning champions Moulton Harrox on Saturday. They will lock horns again with Netherton in the final of the Peterborough Senior Cup in May.
Uppingham: Hubbard, Cleaver, Bains, Dumford, Henshaw, Howe, O'Berg, J Forster, R Forster, Turiccki, Wildman. Sub used: Godfrey.
More by this authorJames Bedford