Boss lauds his side’s spirit and resilience

By Post  
Thursday 15th October 2020 9:34 am

Petersfield Town players celebrate with keeper Matt Petts after his decisive penalty save

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The boss may have been hobbling around on crutches after a knee operation but there was nothing limp about his players as Petersfield Town pulled off an FA Vase shock.

Mark Summerhill’s side shut out Combined Counties Division One leaders Farnham Town before prevailing in a penalty shootout decided by a duel between the two goalkeepers.

Farnham foundered on the twin rocks of the Rams’ immense central defenders Kris Stephens and Jordan Sullivan, who were backed up by Petersfield’s swarming midfield and high-pressing strikers.

Keeper Matt Petts had little to do until the goalless tie went to spot kicks, but saved one in sudden death to avoid defeat and another to clinch the match.

Reflecting on the victory, Summerhill said: “Was I expecting that? Far from it. But it’s easy for players to get up for the FA Vase.

“When we set up to get in behind the ball and hit teams on the break, we’ve always got a chance – and the underdog tag suits us.

“It was not a thriller but we haven’t got the firepower up front to play like that. Even when we went on our 12- or 14-game unbeaten run last season we were only winning 1-0 or 2-1.

“But we have a little bit of spirit, resilience and pace, so sitting in suits us. You just think we’re capable of doing it on the day.”

The Rams finished the match on top after Farnham substituted their influential midfielder and captain Jacob MacDonald with 13 minutes to go and then temporarily lost a man for dissent.

Summerhill said: “I couldn’t believe they took him off. Harry Tremlett had been stopping him, so that meant we could take off Cameron Smith, who was playing injured, and drop Tremlett back. And when their lad got sin-binned ten minutes from the end, we had two or three good chances to win it.”

Summerhill praised midfielders Tremlett, Smith and Ryan Kennedy, plus the lynchpins of his defence. He said: “Kris Stephens was our club captain and is now a player-coach, while Jordan Sullivan is actually a central midfielder – but he’s played for the Navy and for Moneyfields in the Southern League. I have my two most experienced players at the back.

“There was a great crowd and it was a good game of football. Hopefully that will be a springboard for us now.”