Eynesbury were only promoted back into the Premier Division at the end of the 2013/14 season, finishing runners-up to Ooadby Town. PNS, once known as Eye United (Eye is a village near Peterborough) and nicknamed The Eyes, have been in the Premier since winning promotion as runners-up to Irchester United in 2009/10. Incidentally, third place in Division One that season was Eynesbury Rovers. Last season Rovers took 4 points from the two league encounters, drawing 2-2 at home and winning 2-1 in Peterborough.
One other thing that the sides have in common is sponsorship from local skip hire company, Mick George Limited. I mention this because, during my research of this fixture I came across this link and looked into it in some more detail, discovering that this company invests a lot of time, money and resource into supporting communities, espcially sports teams, schools and charities.
They are the shirt sponsor for Cambridge United, Peterborough United and St Neots Town as well as providing other forms of sponsorship and partnership to Deeping Rangers, PNS, St Ives Town, Stamford AFC and Eynesbury Rovers amongst many others (http://www.mickgeorge.com/media/sponsorships/). Fantastic support for the local community. Mick George Limited, we salute you!
Back to the game in hand. The journey into Cambridgeshire was made in almost continual heavy rain and, as I approached St Neots, I was starting to wonder if the game would even be played. However, pulling into the car park off Hall Road, there appeared to be a lot of cars, the floodlights were on and the game looked like it would at least start.
The Alfred Hall Memorial Field, or Mr Walton's Field as it was originally known, has two covered areas. The main stand, to the right of the entrance, includes a covered seating area and is attached to the club house and players areas. On the opposite side of the ground is a small covered standing area which is located between the team dugouts. It was here that I positioned myself for the first half. Despite the heavy rainfall the pitch looked in pretty good condition and looked, for all it's worth, a pitch that had been graced by the great Sir Stanley Matthews. Yes, the Stanley Matthews, the wizard of the dribble who once guested for Rovers in a friendly against Fulham in front of a record crowd of 5,000.
So, the teams emerged with the rain still beating down on the roof of the stand. Both sides playing in stripes, Eynesbury in the thinner blue and white and PNS in their thicker black and white stripes. It seemed starnge that the officials had not asked PNS to change their kit, but perhaps the kits were deemed sufficiently different to be admissable?
After a first minute scare, when Star could easily have taken the lead but for a couple of good saves from home keeper Lea Jordan, Rovers settled the better and began to look dangerous down both flanks (maybe channelling the day that Sir Stan played there?). Dan George in the PNS goal was called into action, parrying a Colmer effort before reacting quickly to turn the follow-up away for a corner. Five minutes later the Rovers keeper was again called into action to tip a stinging shot around the post.
Both sides were playing some tidy enough football until they got to the last third but then, time and again, the choice of pass was either wrong or the right pass wasn't played well enough. Having said that, as a neutral, it was still a very entertaining game.
At half-time it was still Eynesbury Rovers 0 Peterborough Northern Star 0.
The rain let off somewhat at half-time and by the time the second half kicked off it had pretty much stopped. Once again, as in the first half, the home side got into their stride a bit quicker than their opponents but still could not find that final pass to open the defence up.
A Peterborough break down the left, 8 miniutes into the second half, finally lead to a better ball into the box. This was met by the head of Tom Waumsley but his effort was turned around the post by the Rovers keeper. However, the delivery from the corner was also of a better quality and was again met by the head of Waumsley. This time there was nothing that Jordan could do as the ball flew past him to give the away side the lead.
Somehow, even with 30 minutes left to play, there was a feeling that the goal may be enough to win the game and that was proved to be correct. Eynesbury made a few chances but never really looked like getting the breakthrough. PNS seemed realtively happy to keep what they had even though they still managed to make Jordan work again before the end.
The referee blew for full time with the rain, once again, pouring down. PNS had earned a good away victory and, on the balance, probably just about deserved it although the home side will also feel that they should have at least taken a point. Despite this being the fourth defeat on the bounce for Rovers, they should have enough to stay clear of trouble. In fact, I can see both of these sides finishing somewhere around mid-table.
Eynesbury Rovers - @eynesburyrovers
Peterborough Northern Star - @fcpns