Posh back to winning ways
Peterborough United 3 - 0 Bristol City
Location: London Road
Date: 18th February, 2012
Without a win in eight games, something had to change for Posh and many were surprised at the changes made by Posh boss Darren Ferguson on Saturday.
The main talking point leading up to the game was who would be in goal; nobody was expecting the other alterations made by Fergie.
Having made a number of costly mistakes in recent weeks, Joe Lewis dropped down to the subs bench giving way to Paul Jones. However, it was the other changes Fergie made that surprised people.
Paul Taylor was dropped from a striking role, not to the subs bench but to the right side of midfield which also saw the demise of the midfield diamond for a more traditional 4-4-2 formation! This also meant George Boyd was restored to the left side of midfield which has arguably been his best position whilst at Posh. Lee Tomlin was also given a vote of confidence as he partnered David Ball in attack.
The change in formation may have caught City out as they played the majority of the first half with a diamond formation in midfield.
The Posh team also saw the inclusion of loanee left back Matt Briggs who made his home debut for Posh while Gaby Zakuani has vowed to play through the pain barrier for the remainder of the season with a broken toe.
The match was a particularly emotional one for Zakuani`s fellow centre-back Ryan Bennett as it was his last home appearance for Posh before he moves to Premiership side Norwich City.
Posh were obviously up for the game as they came out of the traps quick and soon established the lead when on seven minutes George Boyd had time and room in the box to turn and shoot past former England goalkeeper David James only to see the ball cleared off the line by Liam Fontaine. Fortunately for Posh, Lee TOMLIN was in the right place at the right time to head to rebound into the corner of the net past the diving James.
Posh didn`t slack off and continued to press the Robins in an effort to extend the lead. Efforts by Tomlin from an in-swinging corner went wide while David Ball was denied by James after 28 minutes of the game.
A glorious opportunity fell to Ball but for the second game in a row, he squandered the chance, as James was quick to close him down and as Ball dithered, James made the tackle!
Gaby Zakuani went close to making it 2-0 when he saw his header from a corner skim the top of the crossbar.
Cisse did have an opportunity for the visitors on 37 minutes but his long range effort only caused the rear of London Road danger as the ball went over the roof of the stand.
Lee Tomlin was having a good game and almost grabbed his second of the game but his excellent volley was tipped over the bar by James. To everyone`s amazement, both the referee and his assistant awarded a goalkick!
City had the last effort of the half as Pitman shot just wide of Jones` post.
Half-time: Peterborough United 1 - 0 Bristol City
Posh kept the same starting eleven in place at the start of the second half while City made one change bringing on Chris Wood in place of Cisse. City also reverted to a 4-4-2 formation matching Posh up man for man.
Jones hadn`t had an effort to save in the first half but he was called upon early in the second half to make a simple stop from Wood. Adomah then sent a stinging shot towards Jones who gathered the ball up at the second attempt.
This match also saw Posh change their tactics when defending corners as they at last placed men at either post and it was from a corner that these tactics showed how vital it is having a player at the post when McManus sent his effort goalwards past a static Jones only to see the player on the post clear his effort.
Grant McCann was having his best game so far since returning from injury but he still hasn`t found his shooting boots as all his efforts go the wrong side of the post as David James found out on numerous occasions.
Matt Briggs was having a good home debut and showed composure at both ends of the pitch. He demonstrated his keenness to get up the pitch as he beat a couple of players before getting a shot off as the City defence opened up. Unfortunately his effort went just wide.
Ball was having a rough time of things as nothing was coming off for him. Tomlin showed a good touch before releasing Ball, but he could only scuff the ball towards James who had no problem in dealing with the effort.
That was the final straw for Fergie as Emile Sinclair was readied for action. However, before the change could be made, an excellent ball from McCann found BALL free who burst into the penalty area before planting a left footed shot high of James and into the back of the net. Sincalirs fellow substitutes took great delight in taking the mickey out of Sinclair as Sinclair put back on his tracksuit top!
City had had a better time of things in the second half but the second Posh goal killed off the game as the tide changed in Posh`s favour. City did keep plugging away though as a Pitman free kick only found the Posh wall.
Tomlin was still causing problems up the other end after some good work by Boyd presented Tomlin with an opportunity but James was equal to the task.
Ten minutes after Ball`s goal, he was finally replaced by Sinclair who came on and caused City no end of problems with his pace.
The tricky Adomah made a number of good runs during the game including one just after Sinclair had entered the fray but his shot didn`t trouble Jones as it went wide of the post.
Sinclair was now the main threat to the City backline as his pace got him free before passing to Taylor whose shot was deflected wide. Great work by Briggs and Boyd then teed up Sinclair who was just outside the six yard box in the centre of the area but he could only direct his side-footed effort wide!
Moments later, Sincalir beat the offside trap and the advancing James to the ball but knocked the ball wide of James but he still managed to keep possession of the ball. James had moved quickly back into his goal as Sinclair advanced before setting up TOMLIN for the third Posh goal of the game.
Adomah had another chance for City but yet again he shot wide of the target. Youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe was denied a fourth Posh goal by James, while the last effort fell to Bolasie but it didn`t trouble Jones in the Posh goal.
As the final whistle went, there was only one thing on the minds of the Posh fans and that was to give Ryan Bennett an excellent standing ovation along with a chorus of "There`s only one Ryan Bennett" and "Bennett for England". An emotional Bennett walked round the centre-circle applauding the fans in the Posh stands.
Full-time: Peterborough United 3 - 0 Bristol City
POST MATCH QUOTES
Read quotes from both Darren Ferguson, Lee Tomlin, Ryan Bennett and Derek McInnes - Viewpoint from both camps - Posh v Robins
VITAL POSH VIEWPOINT
I wasn`t expecting that!
Well, I was expecting a Posh win, but I wasn`t expecting all the changes made by Fergie ahead of the game.
I was in two minds as to whether Fergie would stick with Lewis or give Jones another go in goal, but in all honesty, either keeper would`ve kept a clean sheet in this game such was the toothless attack of the Robins.
The formation change worked wonders and in reverting to 4-4-2, it made Posh look stronger. With Boyd and the lively Taylor on either side of the midfield, we had players who could cause problems for the opposition as well as coming back to defend when required. It is a formation I would like to see used more often especially away at Doncaster this coming weekend when another three points will go a long way to our Championship survival.
Up front, I`m still not convinced by Ball even though he scored. He does have potential but like Sinclair, I don`t think he is ready for a starting place in the team which causes a problem as to who should start up front, especially as Taylor was inspired on the right side of midfield. Sinclair has looked excellent when coming on in the past two games against Cardiff and Bristol and I think this is the best option for him at the minute. Unless we get someone else in, I think Ball and Sinclair will be swapping places each match.
Fergie said this was probably the best Posh have played this season but I have to disagree with him. Bristol City were probably the worst team offensively we`ve seen at London Road this season and although you can only beat what`s put in front of you, City were very poor.
I believe Posh have played a better 90 minutes this season than we saw on Saturday but it`s the result that matters and we earned a very precious three points which helps us towards Championship safety.
We now have just 15 games remaining this season and another 3 or 4 wins should guarantee we`ll be playing in the Championship next season. Plus, the sooner we can achieve this, the sooner Gaby Zakuani can have his much needed operation on his broken toe.
We now all need to get behind Posh for every single game starting on Saturday.
DON'T FORGET YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR MAN OF THE MATCH.
UP THE POSH!
Follow me on Twitter: @mwl1967
Photos courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
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