The last time these two teams met at London Road, Posh made a stunning fight back from 4-0 down at half time to draw 4-4.
No one could’ve dreamt that we were in for another cracker of a high scoring game.
Cardiff opened the scoring early on after a Gunnarsson long throw was headed out to the edge of the box by Zakuani only to see the ball fall to Cowie who struck his shot sweetly into the bottom corner of Jones’ net.
Instead of being deflated, Posh has a resilience about them and came stroming back at City. George Boyd started the recovery after a header from Ryan Bennett fell in his path to put Posh back in the game.
Posh got themselves in the lead minutes later when a quality freekick from Grant McCann made it 2-1 to Posh.
Posh nearly went further ahead when first Tomlin and then Rowe both hit the woodwork before the ball nestled into the grateful arms of the Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall.
Cardiff themselves hit the base of the woodwork when Earnshaw shot hit the post before his second attempt was blocked by Jones.
Half time: Posh 2 – 1 Cardiff
No changes were made by either side going in to the second half.
The second half was very even to start with and Posh were looking capable of keeping the score at 2-1.
However, referee Nigel Miller had other ideas as he often gave freekicks to City for the slightest of infringements and brought back play where necessary, but when Posh were fouled, he often waved play-on and never brought back play when no advantage was gained!!
On one such occasion George Boyd worked hard to close down Whittingham and just before he drew the trigger to shoot, Boyd made an excellent tackle to knock the ball away before the shot was made. However, Miller deemed this to be a foul and to make matters worse, he even booked Boyd for making the clean tackle!! If that wasn’t bad enough, Whittingham produced a sublime freekick to bring Cardiff level with Posh at 2-2…something they didn’t look like doing before the ref’s intervention!
Changes were made by both teams in the second half and with the ref giving the Bluebirds renewed hope, their tails were up.
On 77 minutes some excellent passing resulted in a superb cross that found Gunnarsson in the middle of the 6 yard box to cooly slot into the net to take the lead for the second time in the game.
At this point, many Posh fans couldn’t see us getting 3 points or even a point as Cardiff were playing well at this point and were obviously boosted by the amount of freekicks the referee was awarding to them and virtually none against them!
Posh made their final change in what was seen as a last throw of the dice by Posh manager Darren Ferguson. Left back Craig Alcock, who had had another good game, was replaced by forward Paul Taylor.
A slight change in formation saw Tommy Rowe move back to the left back slot and a more attacking 4-3-3 formation evolved with Taylor joining the attacking pair of Sinclair and Tomlin.
Taylor’s introduction almost paid off instantly when he broke into the box and fired the ball across the six yard box and unfortunately for Posh, no one could get on the end of it.
Cardiff were themselves on the end of some questionable refereeing which may have evened things out on the night, but with Taylor’s introduction, Posh looked more threatening which resulted in an equalising goal from a McCann penalty which had been awarded for a handball by City’s Taylor following a thunderous shot by McCann.
Then, deep into added time, an exquisite pass sent Paul Taylor through, beating the poor off-side trap just inside the Cardiff half. He raced into the penalty before hitting tha ball with the outside of his boot which whizzed passed keeper Marshall and into the bottom corner of the net to spark off celebrations all around the ground…well, except for the Cardiff fans who were only noticeable when they were winning!
Full time: Posh 4 – 3 Cardiff
This win takes Posh up to 7th place and a win in the early Saturday kick-off over Leeds United, would see them move up into the automatic promotion position of 2nd!! I hate saying things like this as on many occasions, including last season when Posh could’ve moved into the automatic positions, I think they thought they were better than they actually were and subsequently lost the next few games!
I hope Fergie keeps all the players head down on the ground and focus on the game ahead. Posh have proved that they are a match for everyone this season and won’t be the also-rans. However, they must keep concentrating, doing the simple things and play with 100% commitment every match.
Keep doing that and we should be celebrating a successful season come May 2012.
Photos courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
Paul Jones 6
Jones was his usual self. Good at times, poor at others. Whenever the opposition shoot from long range, I just wait to see the back of the net bulge, as I’m sure Jones must be short sighted with the amount of goals conceded or fumbles he makes. He did make some vital blocks during the game though but he was at fault for the 2nd goal as he was in the wrong position and gave himself no chance of getting anywhere near the shot from Whittingham.
Mark Little 7
He’s forming a good partnership on the right hand-side with Lee Frecklington. He continues to makes dangerous runs in to the opposition half and creates numerous chances. He is also getting better defensively.
A good all round performance.
Ryan Bennett 7
The calm player of the defence. Making his first London Road appearance since his England Under-21 debut, he seems to get better with each game. Dealt well with the brief aerial threat of Gestede.
Gaby Zakuani 7
Another determined display by Gabs who appeared to injure his foot again part way through the second half. Hopefully it is nothing serious and will be lining up again on Saturday against Leeds United.
Craig Alcock 6
Despite being right footed and playing as left back, he has been a good addition to the Posh squad and has made the left back position his own. Another solid performance.
Grant McCann 8
He is the link we’ve been missing in midfield prior to his arrival and like all the Posh squad, has stepped up his performances in the Championship.
A quality freekick gave Posh a first half lead and then a cool penalty brought Posh back on level terms.
Lee Frecklington 7
Frecks has been a breath of fresh air this season and it feels like we’ve signed a new player. Hopefully all his injury problems are well and truly behind him and he continues his good form.
Linked up well with Little down the right hand side and distributes the ball well.
Tommy Rowe 6
Rowe is often the forgotten man. He puts a lot of effort in that goes unnoticed. He started off very well linking up playing and driving at the opposition when in possession. He seemed to lose his way as the match wore on though.
George Boyd 8
What can you say about this man that hasn’t already been said? He puts so much effort in, not only when Posh are on possession, but also when we are defending.
Harshly booked on the night after making a clean tackle that was adjudged by the poor referee to be a foul!!
Another goal added to his stats which brought Posh level for the first time on the night.
Lee Tomlin 8
Tomlin looked fresh and revitalised after his recent injury lay-off. Linking up well; Running down the ball; making dangerous runs and passes.
A thoroughly good performance.
Emile Sinclair 6
He used his best attribute on many occasions during the game – his speed. Unfortunately, he doesn’t use it often enough or close down the opposition. He has improved since he first arrived but he’s not my favourite player!
He had a glorious chance to score late on in the game but his shot was blocked.
Ryan Tunnicliffe 6
Brought on in place of Lee Frecklington. He seemed to shore up the midfield a bit without doing anything spectacular. A good industrious performance.
Paul Taylor 7
Changed the dynamics of the game with Posh looking to get back into the game following poor decisions by the referee that lead to Cardiffs two second half goals.
Quick footed, strong on the ball, brought other players into the game and of course, scored the all important winning goal deep into added time after beating the off-side trap to run virtually the whole Cardiff half before slotting neatly passed the desparing dive of Cardiffs keeper Marshall and into the back of the net.
Looked to have been booked for his goal celebrations but it appears a Cardiff player was booked instead!!
Darren Ferguson used his subs well and changed formation towards the end of the game to get back in to the game.
A good day at the office even though I believe a few words were exchanged with the awful referee Nigel Miller.
Malky Mackay has got Cardiff playing good football but couldn’t get the final result he wanted. He was unfortunate to see the influential, tall forward Gestede depart the game early on through injury.
Referee Nigel Miller often comes in for criticism and this match was no exception.
Both sides had cause for complaint but Posh suffered worst with many decisions going against them and often, after being fouled, no freekick was awarded even when no advantage was gained.
Posh had better get used to this poor standard of refereeing as up next, for the Leeds United game, is Mr Stroud!
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