Date:Sunday December 23 2012
Peterborough United delivered an early Christmas present to their fans as they came out on top of a 5-4 scoreline against Bolton…a scoreline that flattered the visitors!
Peterborough United 5 - 4 Bolton Wanderers
Location: London Road
Date: 22nd December, 2012
Posh were buoyed after toppling Cardiff City the previous weekend but with the persistent rain that had been falling for hours, both sides were going to find the conditions at London Road tricky.
Playing against former Premiership side Bolton Wanderers for only the seventh time in the League, Posh made a dream start after former Posh loanee Zat Knight failed to control a misplaced pass by Michael Bostwick allowing Lee TOMLIN a run in on goal. Heading into the penalty area he took aim and fired straight passed keeper Bogdan to give Posh the lead after only two minutes.
You could see Posh were playing with confidence and they nearly made it 2-0 a couple of minutes later when a cross into the box was headed back across goal by Tommy Rowe but Bogdan denied the in-form Dwight Gayle.
Gayle wasn`t going to be denied for long though as less than 60 seconds later he hit the back of the net. Again it was poor defensive play by Knight that allowed GAYLE to swivel and fire the ball into the corner of the net.
Posh created a host of chances in the first half and in truth they should`ve been four or five up before the infamous Nigel Miller awarded a penalty for Bolton in the final minute of the first half.
Posh were so dominant in the first half that Bolton couldn`t contain them and did anything they could to stop the onslaught including many fouls which earned four yellow cards in that period!
Kevin Davies was a very lucky man to stay on the pitch after a very late, high tackle on Bostwick. He was even walking towards the touchline expecting the red card only to be called back by the useless referee to produce a yellow card! This is the referee that sent off two Posh players a few years ago for doing a lot less than the foul Davies committed!
Chances came and went for Tomlin, Gayle and Boyd amongst others but none of them could extend the lead before Keith ANDREWS converted his first of two penalties.
Half-time: Posh 2 - 1 Bolton
With Boltons goal coming on the stroke of half time, many felt it would give Bolton the confidence boost they needed to get back into the game. However Posh had other ideas as they extended their two-goal lead within three minutes of the turn-around.
Loanee George THORNE, who was putting in his best performance on home soil, put in a mazy run and finished it off with a neat shot into the bottom corner of the net.
That goal brought about a double substitution by Bolton manager Freedman. On came the dangerous duo of Sordell and Afobe and it was the latter that earned a penalty just minutes later when he fell over after Newell had tackled him and cleared the ball for what should`ve been a corner. Mr Miller had other ideas as he awarded Bolton their second penalty of the match which was again taken by former MK Don Keith Andrews.
Bobby Olejnik guessed the right way again but couldn`t keep the ball out as ANDREWS brought the game back to a one goal difference after 55 minutes.
That goal didn`t stop Posh though as they continued to press the Trotters. An excellent build up saw Gayle and Thorne combine to set-up Tomlin but he dragged his shot inches wide of the post.
Posh did extend their lead again after a break down the left saw a cross go over everyone apart from the on-rushing Mark LITTLE who fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Olejnik did have some nervy moments in the second half as the conditions caused problems with the ball sticking in the muddy goalmouth but thankfully he managed to drop onto the ball or see his defence clear the threat.
The keeper did make an excellent save from a stinging Andrews shot as he tipped the effort over the bar for a corner.
George Boyd nearly made it five for Posh but Bogdan denied the Posh midfielder while Gayle couldn`t get the all-important touch to stab the ball home.
With ten minutes remaining, Fergie decided to freshen things up as he withdrew the impressive Joe Newell, who`d been playing alongside Thorne in the centre of midfield, and brought on Kane Ferdinand.
Seven minutes from time saw Posh deservedly extend their lead again. A dangerous corner was sent over by Tomlin and it was fans favourite Gaby ZAKUANI who got above his marker at the back post to power in a header to make it 5-2.
Game over you would have thought but this is Posh we`re talking about! We never like to make it easy for ourselves and with just five minutes of the match remaining, AFOBE netted Boltons third goal as he was given time and space to head home from a corner.
Surely Posh could see out the final minutes without any further scares? Err, no!
Two minutes later saw substitute PETROV power his way into the box to rifle an unstoppable shot past Olejnik to bring Bolton back to one goal behind Posh.
Surely Bolton couldn`t do the impossible and net an undeserved equaliser?
A tiring Mark Little was replaced by Craig Alcock in the final minute as Fergie looked to strengthen the back line and revert to a flat back four.
Four added minutes were shown by the fourth official as the Posh faithful were watching with baited breath while some couldn`t even watch!
With time nearly up, Miller blew for what many people, including the fourth official, thought was the final whistle but in fact it was for another foul. Thankfully for Posh, as soon as the throw in was taken the final whistle was blown to a rapturous applause and cheers.
Full-time: Posh 5 - 4 Bolton
It was an excellent performance for the majority of the game and it seems Posh are now back to their best. Unfortunately other results didn`t go the way of Posh as both Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley both won keeping them two points ahead of Posh. Bristol City did draw away at Ipswich meaning they are only ahead of Posh on goal difference.
Posh may find themselves at the bottom of the Championship at Christmas but the recent results and much improved performances promises exciting times for the rest of the season.
DON'T FORGET YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR MAN OF THE MATCH. You can cast your vote on the right hand side of the page. The result will be announced on Wednesday [26th December, 2012].
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Date:Sunday December 23 2012
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