Crawley Town 1 – 0 Peterborough United
Location: Broadfield Stadium
Date: 21st July, 2012
Having last played a competitive match about 12 weeks ago, you would expect Posh to be a bit rusty despite having had three weeks of pre-season training. And that was exactly the scenario as Crawley started the better team and were justly rewarded with the opening goal after just 14 minutes on the clock.
A poor back pass from right back Mark Little was pounced upon by Gary Alexander and as he moved the ball onto his right foot, he unleashed an unstoppable curling effort past debutant Bobby Olejnik in the Posh goal.
Little was playing ahead of Craig Alcock who had pulled out late due to a slight injury. Other absentees from the Posh squad included Emile Sinclair, Dave Hibbert, Jaanai Gordon-Hutton and Jonson Clarke-Harris.
David Ball and Nicky Ajose were also not included in the squad as they look to impress Fleetwood Town and Stevenage respectively.
Playing two different XI sides with the exception of Olejnik, Posh failed to impose themselves for the majority of the first half.
The few chances that did come Posh`s way fell for Tommy Rowe, who burst through only to see Paul Jones parry the ball over the bar for a corner before powering a header goalwards from the resulting corner only to see the ball cleared off the line.
The only other couple of chances that fell to Posh both ended up with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing blasting his both efforts high and wide of the target!
Other than those few chances, it was all Crawley. The Reds have already played a couple of pre-season matches so it was understandable that they got into their stride quicker.
Alexander had a couple of decent efforts while defender Kyle McFadzean sent a header from a corner goalbound only to see an outstanding save from Olejnik. In fact, if it wasn`t for Olejnik, Crawley could easily have gone into halftime with a bigger lead than the single goal.
The end of the first half came slightly early when the sprinklers came on giving the referee no choice but to blow for half-time.
Half-time: Crawley Town 1 – 0 Peterborough United
It was all change for Posh at half time with 10 new players coming on including newcomers Danny Swanson, Michael Bostwick and Nat Knight-Percival. It also included a debut for 16-year-old youth academy forward Levi Wright. Crawley kept the same starting XI from the first half.
The second half XI obviously wanted to make up for the poor first half and they nearly equalised inside the first couple of minutes as an excellent passing movement including George Boyd, Danny Swanson and Danny Kearns ended with the latter being judged off-side as he shot wide.
Despite that early promise, Posh did have more possession in the second half compared to the first, but no chances fell for either side other than a few long range efforts or freekicks.
Crawley made a number of changes on the hour mark bringing on fresh legs, but that still didn`t improve the low key tempo of the match. Former Posh player Sergio Torres was one of the five players introduced and he received a good reception from the travelling Posh fans.
Tempers did briefly flare after a poor challenge by Alexander left Boyd on the floor in agony but nothing came of the freekick. In fact Crawley were quick to regain possession every time they lost it and were very quick on the attack.
A 3 v 3 counter attack by Crawley was stopped by Kearns who was tracking back for Posh. Moments later, Alexander was the sixth Crawley player to be substituted.
Crawley steadily gained a foothold of the second half just as they did the first half as they created a few chances but they lacked the cutting edge to finish off their attacks. Substitute Morgan Ferrier missed a glorious chance as he was set up by Torres but he could only slice the ball very high of the target from just two yards out!
Posh did have a chance with a freekick, but Kearns`s effort was blasted straight at the wall. Moments later, a run down the left handside by George Boyd ended with him firing a 30-yard shot towards the top corner of the net only to see it well saved by Paul Jones who was desperate to keep a clean sheet against his former employer.
A surging run by Torres saw him nutmeg both Kgosi Ntlhe and Levi Wright in the build up before providing the ball to Davies whose effort was blocked by Olejnik.
No further chances fell to either side as Crawley closed Posh down every time they had the ball making the afternoon very difficult for Posh.
Full-time: Crawley Town 1 – 0 Peterborough United
Crawley: Jones, Connolly, Davis (Hunt 60), McFadzean, Sadler, Akpan (Davies 60), Simpson (Wickham 77), Bulman (Torres 60), Adams (Neilson 60), Alexander (Akinde 69), Clarke (Ferrier 60). Subs not used: Kuipers, Smith, John, Evans, Wassmer.
Posh 1st Half: Olejnik, Little, Zakuani, Grant, Rowe, Tomlin, Newell, McCann, Frecklington, Taylor, Mendez Laing.
Posh 2nd Half: Olejnik, Ntlhe, Richens, Brisley, Knight-Percival, Bostwick, Kearns, Boyd, L. Wright, Swanson, Barnett.
Referee: Carl Berry
Attendance: 1,036 (12 Posh fans)
The result may be disappointing but this match was more about gaining match fitness as echoed by former Posh captain Grant McCann: “Good to get 45 minutes under my belt, beat 1.0 never like losing any game but we have plenty of time to get it right.”
Posh boss Darren Ferguson also saw both positives and negatives: ‘Game was exactly what I expected. We did some things well, others poorly but all about fitness at this stage.’
It was Posh`s first match of pre-season whereas Crawley were making their fourth appearance and the match sharpness shown by both teams recognised this difference in matches played.
There were odd glimpses of quality by Posh, most notably in the second half and it will be this Posh will be looking to improve upon on Tuesday when they travel to St Neots for their next outing.
The most disappointing fact of the afternoon was the lack of chances created by Posh but hopefully this will improve as their match fitness improves.
Overall, it was a disappointing performance, but it was 45 minutes under many players belts. The most positive outcome of the afternoon was the presence felt behind the back four in Bobby Olejnik. He was very vocal, commanded his box and handled virtually everything that came his way.
Roll on Tuesday!
UP THE POSH!
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