City of Peterborough 2nds before a 2-0 defeat to Chelmsford 1sts, front row, left to right, Chris Burden, Angus Owen, Louie Raybold, Luke Barkworth, Tom Tufnell, Joe Youngs, Kunal Patel, back, Carl Daniels, Ally Sitton, Tom Grimshaw, Will Astbury, Sanjay Dhanani, Stuart Biggs, Jacob Hings. Photo: David Lowndes.

Victory over struggling St Albans at Bretton Gate on Sunday (2pm) would guarantee top spot in the Midlands Conference Division for the festive period as the National League shuts down until February after this weekend’s matches.

City secured a sixth win in eight matches at Birmingham University 2nds last weekend to maintain a slender one-point lead over Harborne. There’s a further five point gap to third-placed Norwich City.

St Albans are next-to-bottom with just one win from their opening eight matches, but City player-coach Gareth Andrew remains wary of a club with a fine hockey tradition.

“They are not doing great in the league so far this season, but they always put up a fight,” Andrew said. “They are an unknown quantity for us so we will just concentrate on getting our own gameplan right.”

City won more convincingly in Birmingham than a 4-2 final scoreline would suggest. The hosts scored two short corners in the final three minutes after City goalkeeper Cameron Goodey had been sent to the sinbin.

Skipper Joe Finding fired City in front from an early short corner. and added a second set-piece strike in the second quarter.

Zak Scotting followed up another Finding short corner to make it 3-0 before Andrew completed City’s scoring from open play.

City of Peterborough 2nds are bottom of the East Premier Division after losing 2-0 at home to leaders Chelmsford 1sts.

Spalding firsts moved above City after winning for the first time this season, 3-2 at Old Loughtonians 2nds.

City Ladies went down 3-1 at Cambridge City 2nds to drop to 10th of 13 teams ahead of a home game against unbeaten Cambridge University on Saturday (1pm).

They have a six-point buffer to the teams below them.

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