Uppingham Town reach the final of the Peterborough Senior Cup with victory over Thorney
Uppingham Town are through to the final of the Peterborough Senior Cup for the first time in the club's history.
They defeated Peterborough League Premier Division rivals Thorney 1-0 in the semi-final at Tods Piece on Saturday.
Skipper James Howe capped a man-of-the-match performance by scoring the winning goal for Ryan Hunnings' side.
Hunnings led Langtoft United to the final of the prestigious cup competition in 2016 and was delighted to repeat the feat with Uppingham after a superb all-round performance against a Thorney side who have lost just twice in the Premier Division this season.
They had thumped Uppingham 4-0 in the league meeting back in September, but Hunnings' charges executed his game-plan to perfection on Saturday to continue their trophy trail after success in the Peterborough Challenge and Leicestershire Intermediate cup competitions last season.
He said: "The lads played very well and didn't leave anything out on the pitch.
"We knew it was going to be a very tough game because Thorney had beaten us convincingly earlier in the season and looked stronger than the last time we played them.
"We came up with a game-plan for the lads and they put it in place expertly.
"Thorney felt afterwards they had played within themselves, but my lads deserve all the credit for nullifying what they're good at.
"It was a good game of football between two very evenly-matched teams and I was delighted that we got the job done.
"The club had a lot of success last season and we wanted to keep that going by reaching another cup final and I couldn't have asked for any more from the lads."
A close contest saw both goalkeepers - Uppingham's Tom Hubbard and Ben Derbyshire for the visitors - at the top of their game in an opening period which saw defences dominate.
Town's back four of Danny Dumford, James Binley, Billy Henshaw and Harry Bains excelled but, on the one occasion Thorney found space from a corner, Hubbard pulled off an unbelievable save to keep the scores level.
Derbyshire then repeated the heroics at the other end to keep out an overhead kick from Howe with a super stop.
Town continued to contain Thorney's attacking threat after the break while lively home frontman Rob Forster was also well marshalled by the visiting defence.
The deadlock was finally broken with about 10 minutes remaining when Howe rounded off a well-worked move with a tidy finish.
Thorney pushed more men forward in search of an equaliser, but it was Uppingham who came closest to adding to their tally when Jordan Spencer was thwarted by Derbyshire as Town broke in a two-on-one.
Despite losing Binley to injury, Will Thomas slotted in seamlessly at right-back with a couple of crucial blocks to ensure Town kept a clean sheet which secured their place in the final.
They will now meet the winners of the Netherton United against Long Sutton clash in the final which will be played at the league's headquarters at the Nene Valley Community Centre on Saturday, May 9.
Hunnings added: "We are a match for anyone on our day when the lads turn up with the right attitude and we haven't got lots of injuries.
"It's a bit of a shame that the final isn't at Peterborough United any more which would have been nice, but it's not a problem and we'll go out and give it our best shot.
"Both Netherton and Long Sutton have beaten us in the league this year so we know it's going to be tough.
"We have beaten some of the big dogs in the competition this year though so we're looking forward to what the underdogs can do again."
Uppingham are back in Premier Division action this weekend when they travel to reigning champions Moulton Harrox.
Town: Hubbard, Dumford, Binley, Henshaw, Bains, Howe, O'Berg, Spencer, Turiccki, R Forster, Wildman. Subs used: Godfrey, Thomas. Not used: J Forster.
More by this authorJames Bedford