Date:Tuesday March 18 2014
Peterborough United beat rivals MK Dons to open up a six point gap between themselves and the chasing pack.
MK Dons 0 - 2 Peterborough United
Date: 15th March, 2014
Attendance: 9,526 (1,867 Posh fans)
Posh bounced back from the disappointment of their Tuesday night defeat against Bristol City to extend the gap between themselves and the rest of the pack chasing the last play-off place.
After a couple of matches which saw constant arguments between defenders Mark Little and Shaun Brisley, it was the latter that found himself on the substitutes bench as newcomer Jack Baldwin made his second start for Posh.
Posh needed to be strong defensively and apart from a rusty Craig Alcock, they coped comfortably with any threat from the Dons.
Posh created numerous chances in the first half and were denied a penalty after Britt Assombalonga appeared to be brought down by the home keeper but it was waved away by referee Keith Hill.
Nicky Ajose was playing at the top of the midfield diamond and he had some excellent efforts on target as he found room and space behind the front two. Dons keeper David Martin tipped over a dipping effort before 10 minutes later, he denied Ajose again after the former Manchester United graduate struck a bending shot that was heading for the corner of the net.
Other chances came and went. Ben Nugent headed over from Josh McQuoid, Tommy Rowe fired wide while Assombalonga was again foiled by David Martin in the Dons goal.
Former Posh loanee Izale McLeod had a couple of chances in the first half but the best chances all fell to Posh. Despite this fact, Dons manager Karl Robinson felt the first half ended in a stalemate with little to choose between the sides! He said: "They`re [Posh a good side. We understood how difficult it would be, but there were very few chances in the first half. It was a stalemate, with neither side wanting to lose."
Posh managed to breakthrough in the second half when Michael Bostwick burst into the edge of the area before firing a dangerous cross along the six yard box to find Assombalonga [pictured below] sliding in to notch goal 26 of the season.
Two minutes later and it was 2-0 to Posh and game over. Conor Washington won a soft looking penalty, which not surprisingly Robinson said was never a penalty but Posh have suffered by conceding soft penalties this season! Assombalonga neatly put away the spot kick.
Robinson was disappointed with a 10 minute spell in the second half which, along with "dubious" refereeing decisions, cost his side as he said: "We had 10 minutes when we were really bad in the second half and they were ruthless. But they`ve got a £1.9 million striker scoring goals for them.
"We`ve been beaten, we have to accept that. A lot of people will be very disappointed leaving here. We weren`t blown away by them. The first goal came at a strange time, and the second goal killed us. We were about to make a substitution, with Bowditch to come on."
The Dons did put pressure on Posh in the last 10 minutes while Posh looked dangerous on the counter-attack. Bobby Olejnik had very little to do in the whole match and was only troubled once in the last 10 minutes as he kept out a Dean Lewington effort. The change in defence looked a good one with Jack Baldwin [pictured below] looking much better than his last appearance in a Posh shirt.
Darren Ferguson was delighted with his players response after the awful performance last Tuesday against Bristol City as he said: "The players owed themselves a performance and they delivered it. In all our games against MK Dons over the years that`s the most comfortable win we`ve had. They had a bit of pressure towards the end, but we were the better side for most of the game.
"We were bright going forward and we were very strong at the back. The lads were very professional and they carried out their instructions perfectly - it was an excellent performance all round and I received the reaction I was after.
"It was actually one of the more difficult team selections I`ve had to make. I normally pick a team on the Friday, but I gave myself an extra 24 hours as I had to get this one right and all credit to those who played as they were tactically very good.
"I wanted Britt Assombalonga and Conor Washington to stretch their defence out wide and then I felt Nicky Ajose would be able to run past Alan Smith and get in dangerous positions, That`s exactly what happened at the start and Nicky was unlucky not to score a couple of goals early on.
"There were a lot of good performances out there though. Jack Baldwin could do with beefing up, but he`s already strong enough and I thought he was very good.
It was a massive result for Posh as it gives them a bit more of a cushion between them and the chasing pack. However, as Karl Robinson said: "There`s still just under a quarter of the season to go. There`s a lot to play for. We`re still not out of it."
Fergie is also confident that if we make the play-offs that we can beat anyone: "It was a big result for us in terms of the play-offs. Six points is a good lead for us at this stage, but we need to keep going. If we get in those play-offs we would stand a very good chance of winning them.
"Our problem as everyone knows is our inconsistency, but I would back us against anyone in a one-off game. We`ve beaten nearly all of the top sides this season.
"With Britt about we always have a chance. I wasn`t happy with his first-half display, but he was more like his old self in the second-half."
Posh can`t ease off especially as they face play-off rivals in the next two matches. Rotherham United are the visitors to London Road on Saturday before Posh travel to Fergie`s old team Preston North End on Tuesday evening.
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|7. MK Dons||4||2||1||1||+2||7|
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