Runaway leaders Pinchbeck went into their match at the Hutchinson Hollow on Saturday with just one defeat on the road – and they maintained that record by inflicting only Potton’s second home defeat this season.
Potton played all the football but were no match to the direct and unpleasing on the eye style of their Lincolnshire visitors who ran out 3-0 winners.
Potton went into the match missing three key players – Ryan Don (suspended), Gary Ansell Carter (holiday) and James Meredeth (away). Pinchbeck, on the other hand, had just strengthened their squad with the signing of wide player Aaron Eyett, from Boston Town who had already scored 12 goals this season.
Potton started the game with a less familiar 4-4-1-1 with Aaron Murrell as the lone striker and Josh Sturniolo in the number 10 role but wearing 9!
Eyett did not take long to get off the mark for his new team when a mistake after six minutes in midfield left far too much space for Eyett to exploit. He did this with aplomb, scoring at the near post which would have disappointed Potton goalkeeper Tyler Josephs.
It was not until the 17th minute that Potton had their first chance when a shot from Josh Sturniolo was well blocked by a defender after good work by Forster and Webb.
The Royals were getting more into the game midway through the first half and if they had taken one of two gilt edged chances the final result might have been different.
On the half hour Josh Sturniolo found himself 12 yards out with just keeper Dan Swan to beat but a hesitation allowed Swan to recover and the chance was gone. Seven minutes later Potton really should have levelled when great work by Danny Webb found Aaron Murrell no more than a yard out – but he could not force the ball home.
As the half drew to a close the feeling was at 1-0 down there was every chance Potton could level the game. But a soft penalty for handball against Luke Harradine in the 43rd minute, was converted easily by the prolific Oli Maltby to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
The second half began with Potton switching Danny Webb into the 10 role and Josh Sturniolo moving wide and Pinchbeck going to 5-4-1 formation content to park the bus with the game nearly won.
Potton were again playing all the football but without reward. A good cross from Murrell was headed wide by Webb Calum Forster was unlucky after hitting the bar from 25 yards.
Pinchbeck, when they did go forward, looked dangerous though and on the hour Josephs made a great save from a stinging Jack Smith shot.
The Royals then changed to 4-3-3 formation with Boughton coming on for Sturniolo but time was running out and Pinchbeck did not look like they would concede
To complete a miserable afternoon, on 79 minute Tom Blatch, who had been victim to an unpunished stamp earlier by Tom Sergeant, gave away a free kick on the edge of the box. This was finished in some style by Andrew Tidswell and it could have been four in the last few minutes when a mistake by John Bitting was again saved well by Josephs.
So Pinchbeck moved 10 points clear at the top of Division One and Potton remain in the chasing pack for second. Only four points separate the teams from second to seventh and the Royals face another stern test when Blackstones in seventh visit the Hutchinson Hollow on Saturday.
Potton United: Tyler Josephs, Calum Forster, Tom Latch, James Sage, Luke Harradine, Chris Reeves, Danny Webb, Aiden Maclean (John Bitting 73), Josh Sturniolo (Courtney Boughton 62), Aaron Murrell, Nick Bines.