Peterborough United put up a much better performance against promotion chasing Middlesbrough on Saturday but they still suffered their ninth home defeat of the season!
Peterborough United 2 – 3 Middlesbrough
Location: London Road
Date: 8th December, 2012
Attendance: 6,612 (1,725 Boro fans)
Posh boss Darren Ferguson rang the changes as he desperately searches for the winning formula and although Posh suffered another defeat, the performance, especially in the second half, was much more like a few seasons ago.
There was much more desire and passion shown compared to the past few months but in the end they succumbed to a sucker punch from the dangerous Ismail Miller. He had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes when he skimmed a shot from distance that should`ve resulted in a bread and butter save from Bobby Olejnik, but the keeper failed to keep the shot out!
Olejnik has been a shining light this season despite the poor set of results but he has also shown recently that he is susceptible to making poor descisions and also not making saves which he should easily be doing.
The changes Fergie made to the starting line-up were a bit of a surprise to most as it saw Grant McCann drop down to the subs bench to be replaced by Tommy Rowe. Last season`s player of the year, Gaby Zakuani [pictured below], also returned to the starting line-up in the hope that his battling qualities would have a knock-on effect to the rest of the players.
The changes didn`t seem to work at first as the unaccustomed central midfield position seemed to confuse Rowe [pictured below] as he appeared unsure as to where or how he should play in that position.
With the uncertainty shown by Posh, Middlesbrough took full advantage by taking a two goal lead thanks to a brace of goals from Faris Haroun. The first of which came from a breakaway after a dangerous Posh corner had been cleared while the second was from an excellent cross which just evaded Mark Little sliding in to clear.
Two nil down with only twenty minutes on the clock against a team pushing for promotion, many Posh fans thought it would turn into another rout?not that there were many Posh fans at the game and even the fans that were there witnessed a fan arguing with Fergie just before half-time!
There were less than 5,000 Posh fans at the game and while results continue to go against Posh, it`s hard to see where more fans will come from. On the plus side, the second half was very reminiscent of previous seasons where Posh battled hard and kept pushing trying to score more goals than they concede.
The second half was built on the belief Posh could get back into the game after a quality goal was scored by loanee Dwight Gayle in the 37th minute. He received the ball and easily turned ex-England centre-back Jonathan Woodgate before unleashing a fierce shot which Jason Steele couldn`t keep out.
Posh started the second half brightly and drew level with their visitors only seven minutes into the second half when that man again, Dwight Gayle, was in the right place at the right time as the ball was headed downwards towards him from a corner and as he shielded the ball from his close marker, he managed to turn the ball into the back of the net for a deserved equaliser.
As the game wore on, Boro were able to replace tiring players with quality replacements, one of which was match winner Miller. For Posh, it was difficult to understand changes that Fergie makes these days.
Once again, despite having a decent first half, Lee Tomlin was very wasteful in the second half and gave away possession on numerous occasions. With players like Danny Swanson and Danny Kearns, who has recently been recalled from his loan spell, Fergie has players on the bench who can make the difference but they need to be given a chance.
Swanson was only given the four added minutes of the game to have an effect while the skilful Danny Kearns must be wondering why he hasn`t been given a chance at all since returning from his superb loan period at York City.
Youngster Kane Ferdinand was given a longer chance to change the game but his appearances since signing for Posh earlier this season makes you wonder what he can bring to the table as he has had less effect on Posh matches than Lee Frecklington!
The changes Fergie made had little effect on the game as it ended in another defeat for Posh. Posh have now suffered 16 defeats in 21 League games this season and must start to turn round their season very soon and in dramatic fashion if they are going to escape the clutches of relegation.
What better way to start the revival than with a win in the Welsh capital where Cardiff have yet to drop a point at home all 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 [12th December, 2012].
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