Wittering Harriers defeat Eunice Huntingdon in Peterborough League Division One clash
Wittering produced one of their best attacking performances of the season to claim an emphatic 9-3 win against Peterborough League Division One high-flyers Eunice Huntingdon on Saturday.
Sam Cayley’s charges had already met Saturday’s visitors twice this season, losing 3-1 in a Peterborough Challenge Cup clash and sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first league meeting.
However, hat-tricks from Andrew Moss and Lee Croft led Saturday’s scoring spree for seventh-placed Harriers against a Eunice side who had started the day in second spot.
Wittering played into the strong head-wind in the opening half and showed great intent within the first five minutes, creating several chances, most notably when Moss went bursting into the area and was hacked down.
The referee pointed to the spot with no hesitation and Croft stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way.
Wittering doubled their advantage two minutes later as they played some solid football which resulted in a lay off from Croft to Grant Tippett who finished expertly with a left-footed half volley from 20 yards out.
Eunice had hardly seen any of the ball and, when James Savage played a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of Croft, he finished neatly to make it 3-0.
Wittering broke again after 18 minutes and Croft turned provider this time, setting up Moss for his first of the afternoon to make it 4-0.
Eunice had a short spell with some good possession with the resulting shot taking a huge deflection off Josh Watson who tried to block the strike which in turn wrong-footed goalkeeper Paul Greenhalgh.
The visitors continued to push after getting a goal back, having a few shots from range that Greenhalgh matched with some solid saves.
Eunice seemed to be getting back into the game when they scored their second, but Wittering steadied themselves and played some good possession football to regain control of the contest.
Their fifth goal was a piece of individual skill from Moss who went on a mazy run after being gifted the ball from the shaky Eunice defence which made it 5-2 at half-time.
The second half started very comfortably for Wittering who enjoyed large spells of possession and sent wave after wave of attack.
It felt like there were more goals in the game and the next one was important for the momentum of the match.
A cracking setpiece ball in by Croft was slid back in at the far post by Cayley who duly assisted Lee Booker who bundled it in from close range.
For a change Wittering’s conversion rate was high but to Eunice’s credit they never gave up and the game remained competitive.
The next milestone was Croft completing his hat-trick with yet again his strike partner Moss assisting to make it 7-2.
Wittering then extended their lead further when Cayley won yet another header from a setpiece, nodding it into the path of Moss who also completed his hat-trick.
The referee over-ruled the linesman who flagged in hope of an offside decision resulting in the Eunice players surrounding the official.
The referee stamped his authority on proceedings and sent Eunice striker Grzegorz Misiura off for foul and abusive language.
The 10 men continue to battle and earned themselves another consolation goal which was neatly taken when Eunice counter-attacked to make it 8-3.
There was one further goal when Wittering new boy Sam Greenhalgh latched onto a delightful ball from Steve Snelling and calmly slotted it past the Eunice goalkeeper’s reach.
Wittering remain in seventh place after the victory but have several games in hand over some of the teams above them.
Player-boss Cayley said: “We had played Eunice twice already this season so knew they were a physical, well-drilled side which was backed up by their league position.
“The boys started well against the wind by scoring early which gave us some momentum.
“It’s some of the best football I’ve seen us play this year going forward. Everything Moss and Croft touched went in and they were fantastic up top together.
“They are getting back to where they left off after Croft has been missing since the second game of the season due to being posted away with the RAF.
“It’s disappointing to concede three goals, but overall in the conditions and with the final scoreline it was a good day at the office for us.”
More by this authorJames Bedford