Posh 3 – 4 Barnsley
Location: London Road
Attendance: 8,320 (1,609 Barnsley fans)
Going in to the game on Saturday, there was nothing separating the teams in the npower Championship table apart from goal difference.
Both teams also like to get the ball down and play an attractive passing game and with Posh, you can guarantee goals as well.
Posh dominated the first half and created a number of good opportunities to take the lead. Grant McCann having a number of long range efforts while there were closer chances for a number of other Posh players, but all either failed to hit the target or were well saved by former Posh keeper Luke Steele.
When Barnsley did get the ball, they played the ball around well but failed to create any real chances.
Lee Tomlin was having an inspired first half as he was playing at the top of the midfield diamond, which seems to suit him well if he`s not playing up front. On one occasion, he easily went past two Barnsley players being unleashing a 30-yard shot which went inches wide of the upright.
With Posh though, it doesn`t matter how well they play or how much they dominate the game, they usually concede the first goal and against Barnsley, that was exactly what happened. Completely against the run of play, Jim O`Brien took a shot for Barnsley from outside the box which hit the back of Zakuani`s head before looping over a stranded Joe Lewis. Lewis stood no chance with the deflected shot, but it was disappointing that O`Brien wasn`t closed down by the midfield or defence?something of a common theme for this game!
Grant McCann had another long range effort which was well saved again by Steele but McCann`s influence on the game was limited due to the tactics employed by Barnsley. Forward Nile Ranger was obviously given the task to track back and stop McCann influencing the game like he normally does and it was a tactic that worked really well for Barnsley.
A well worked freekick by Posh then set up Lee Tomlin for a strike on goal but his low shot was stopped by Steele.
Just past the half hour mark, Taylor managed to wriggle his way into the box before pulling the ball back for Boyd, only to see his shot parried away. Taylor had his own effort, albeit a tame one, saved by Steele ten minutes later.
With the game heading into one minute of added time in the first half, it was looking like Posh were going to go into the break a goal behind. Barnsley had other ideas though as they broke away in the second minute of added time(!) and, once again, without being closed down by the Posh midfield or defence, Barnsley midfielder Jacob Butterfield shot from outside the box which went in the top corner of the goal!
Half-time: Posh 0 – 2 Barnsley
The second half started off in much the same vein as the majority of the first half had been played out with Posh doing most of the running.
Barnsley were getting more confident as the game wore on and started to get more into the game. Butterfield had a chance but his effort from the edge of the box went over the bar. However, minutes later, Barnsley increased their lead further during a period pressure when substitute Vaz Te shot from distance only two minutes after coming on. He shot flew past Lewis and into the far corner of the net. Goal number three and goal number three that Lewis had no chance with!
Following Posh`s defeat on Tuesday when Fergie didn`t make any substitutions, Barnsley`s third goal was the point of no return for Fergie as he made a triple substitution.
Off came McCann, Kennedy and Sinclair with youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe, Lee Frecklington and Daniel Kearns all coming on.
Tunnicliffe was given the job of controlling the play and protecting the back four more. Tommy Rowe moved back to left back from the left midfield allowing George Boyd to move from the right hand side, where he had not been very effective, to, in my opinion, his best position of left midfield. Lee Frecklington slotted into the right handside of midfield with the skilful Kearns making up the midfield quartet as Lee Tomlin moved up front to partner Paul Taylor, who unfortunately was having an off-day.
The changes seemed to do the trick as Posh were galvanised and they suddenly looked lively and much more threatening.
Tommy Rowe may not be the best left back defensively, but he offers much more going forward and provides so much support to Boyd.
Countless attacks came from Posh`s left hand side as Boyd suddenly looked confident and was able to beat his man with ease.
Irish midfielder Daniel Kearns also looked very comfortable on the ball as he showed a lot of movement, control and skill to play the ball about and beat his man and it was his skill and pass that put in George Boyd to smash the ball between Steele and the near post.
Barnsley could not do anything to stop Posh as Posh were rampant. They saw wave after wave of Posh attacks threaten the goal. Just four minutes after Boyd had scored Posh`s opener, they`d pulled back another goal as some neat play saw Frecklington break into the box and pull the ball back to find, none other than centre back Ryan Bennett who coolly took a touch before firing past Steele.
Tomlin then nearly levelled the score as he was just inches away from converting a Boyd cross before another excellent move saw Frecklington curl a shot round Steele and in to the far corner of the net.
Somehow, within 10 minutes of making the triple substitutions and in just 6 glorious minutes, Posh had gone from 3-0 down to equalising 3-3! At this point, there was only one team that looked like it was going to go on and win the game!
Tommy Rowe was next to have an effort at goal on 76 minutes before Barnsley made changes themselves in attempt to stop the tide of Posh attacks. On came Danny Haynes and Scott Wiseman.
The changes certainly changed the flow of the game as Barnsley finally managed to cause Posh problems. A Butterfield corner found the head of substitute Haynes but his attempt was cleared off the line by George Boyd.
However, yet another cracking shot, this time from former Chesterfield frontman Craig Davies flew into the top corner of the net.
That goal seemed to deflate Posh as Vaz Te saw an effort well saved by Lewis before Lewis had to dive at full stretch to save a Butterfield effort.
Posh still went in search of another equaliser though as first Tommy Rowe had an effort saved by Steele on 86 minutes before Lee Tomlin shot agonisingly inches over the bar.
With the game moving into four minutes of added time, Tomlin had another effort parried by Steele before putting the rebound over the bar. Ryan Tunnicliffe was next up who had his effort tipped onto the bar before Taylor had the last chance of the game when his shot was pushed away by the outstanding Steele.
Full-time: Posh 3 – 4 Barnsley
For all the stats from the game, press HERE
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