Leeds Knights 2 Peterborough Phantoms 6 – No complaints from coach Dave Whistle after fatigue hits players
DAVE WHISTLE had no complaints after seeing his Leeds Knights team beaten by Peterborough Phantoms at Elland Road for a second time this season.
The Knights went down 6-2 on Saturday night, unable to repeat their heroics from the night before when they sealed a place in the Autumn Cup Final at the expense of Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steeldogs.
It was Peterborough who snapped Leeds’s six-game winning start to the season last month when they ran out 5-4 victors. But their win on Saturday was a more comfortable triumph, Whistle recognising his players were showing understandable signs of fatigue having played short-benched for the last couple of weeks.
After a goalless first period, the Phantoms took control midway through the second when they got ahead through Morgan Clarke-Pizzo at 29.11.
The lead increased at 34.11 through Nathan Salem with Clarke-Pizzo grabbing his second at 38.36 before Kieran Brown gave the hosts some hope with a reply soon after.
But the game got further away in the third when Ales Padelek and Clarke-Pizzo’s hat-trick strike extending the deficit to four goals.
Brandon Whistle hit back at 55.40 but with Knights’ netminder Jordan McLaughlin pulled, Duncan Speirs scored an empty netter.
“I felt we were good in the first few minutes or so,” said Whistle. “We had some good scoring chances - but they didn’t go in, their goalie played well and then, as the game went on, I think they were the better team and maybe fatigue started to set in a little bit for us.
“We worked hard and I thought we did OK at certain times of the game - but it just wasn’t enough against a team that was coming in fresh.”
Despite the disappointment of Saturday night, Whistle said his players could look back on the past week with much to be proud of.
“When you sit down and look at how well we played with 12 guys, I think it was awesome - to beat Sheffield back-to-back and giving ourselves the chance to win a cup final,” added Whistle. “I know it is the team’s first year, but one of our goals was to get to a cup final, so it wasn’t like it was just out of the blue. We deserved it.
“So, right now, I think they should look in the mirror and realise they did a really good job over this past week.”