Uppingham Town are beaten by Stamford Belvedere in the Peterborough League Premier Division
Manager Paul Sheehan felt his Uppingham Town side lacked spark as they suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Stamford Bels on Saturday.
Goals from Scott Toomey and Dave Atkinson secured the Stamford side a 2-0 away win in the Peterborough League Premier Division game at Tods Piece.
After leaders Peterborough FC defeated Deeping Rangers Reserves 5-2, Town are now nine points adrift of the leaders in their title defence.
They have a match against a Peterborough FC side who they beat 3-0 in their last league game on January 7th.
Sheehan said: “We just never really got going on Saturday and there wasn’t a spark around us.
“We were so good against Peterborough FC but we just struggled on Saturday and looked a bit exhausted.
“Bels were a threat from set pieces all game and they grew into the game as the game progressed. They deserved the win.”
Town were without the services of Martin Turiccki and Rob Montgomery against a Bels side that gave new signing Andy Buckle a debut.
There was little between the two sides for the first 20 minutes as both sides battled for dominance.
Town hit the bar mid-half with a Dill Mullineaux header from a Jordan Neil cross before Bels seized the initiative.
A free-kick hit the back post was directed centrally into the area where Toomey chipped home the opener from close range with a side foot.
Bels blocked Town’s reply and almost extended his lead before the break when they cleared a header off the line and then hit the post.
Town tried to make the most of the stab in the second half but they struggled to create clear openings as Bels grew in confidence.
They secured the win late when a clearance from Towns goalkeeper Tom Hubbard was knocked down by Toomey, who was then knocked down by the Uppingham warden.
Atkinson stepped up to convert the penalty and there was no turning back for Town, who travels to Ramsey this weekend.
Sheehan added: “We struggled to score on Saturday so it was all over when the second came in.
“There is still a long way to go this season. We need to get some consistency in our availability and get some services going. We have to run like we did at the beginning of the season.”
Uppingham Reserves returned with an excellent point from their game against the high-flying Park Farm Pumas in Saturday’s Division Three game.
The Rutland side got off to a good start against their second-placed hosts, with Tyler Hull and Jordan Spencer winning some crunchy tackles.
Town’s first chance came a few minutes later when a delightful clipped ball over the top found Sam Blackwell, who elicited a quality double save from his keeper.
Uppingham then unfortunately fell 1-0 down when a dubious offside decision went against them.
Town remained compact with a solid performance from their back four marked by a superb final challenge from Gareth Cliffe that prevented a designated goal.
Chances began to flow and Blackwell had saved one on one and an acrobatic volley from Spencer was knocked down.
The Pumas had plenty of possession but not many chances as Ollie Crocker and Omar Elkashoty set up their Dangerman down the left.
Town’s breakthrough came just before half-time when Spencer provided a solid challenge in midfield and a slimmed-down ball forward sent Alex McLean on target and he coolly slipped past the keeper.
Town started the second half on the fly, with James Cory and Louie Miles winning every other ball in midfield.
Their pressure was rewarded when Spencer played an excellent 40-yard drill pass to Blackwell, who clipped the ball over the oncoming keeper to score his fourth goal in two games.
Town then tried to sit back and soak up the pressure as Elkashoty cleared a ball off the line and Cliffe put his head on a shot to deflect it over the goal.
Eventually Pumas equalized with a hopeful ball over the top and a finish, and good defense was needed in the last 15 minutes to keep the game even.
Town could have won it in the final moments when Spencer went on target and made another save from their keeper.
Then came the final score as Town earned a hard-earned draw against one of the best sides in the division.
Town: Josh Knight, Gareth Cliffe, Tyler Hull, Jordan Spencer, James Cory, Alex McLean, Sam Eldridge, Ollie Crocker, Sam Blackwell, Louie Miles, Omar El Kashoty, George Sloggett, Jamie Salt.