Many Posh fans went away from the only home pre-season match despondent following a disappointing display against Championship opposition.
There were TEN new players in the starting line-up for Posh which gave the majority of Posh fans their first glimpse of the new squad boss Steve Evans has brought together. The only player to feature last season that started this match was central defender Ryan Tafazolli.
Their opponents were Bolton Wanderers who themselves just survived in the Championship last season so everyone was expecting a close match but how wrong we were to expect that. Bolton have obviously strengthened during the summer and they easily snuffed out any threat Posh made…not that they created much!
Wanderers won the match with two first-half strikes, the second was a sweet strike by Sammi Ameobi from outside the box which went in off the underside of the bar.
Evans was critical of his side especially of the first-half performance but he believes we will be alright when the League campaign kicks off next Saturday as he said to the Official Posh website.
Do we feel the same?
We went away from the match very disappointed especially with a number of the new signings who look a downgrade on the players we had last season! Were they nervous playing in front of a small home crowd for the first time? Were they overawed by the opposition? Were Wanderers that much better than them? Or are they simply not as good as the players we have seen fail in recent years?
Whatever the reason, we need to look at this match as what it actually was…a friendly. The opposition we’ll face week-in week-out will be nowhere as strong as Bolton were and with the number of newcomers coming into the club to replace the 18 players that have currently departed, it’s going to take a while to get the squad to gel.
We are still a number of players short with another two or three players needed including a forward to replace Jack Marriott who signed for Derby County last week. Loanee Jason Cummings and Matty Godden started this match but they weren’t on the same wavelength although youngster Matty Stevens, who replaced Godden, did bring something different to the front line and actually offered more than the signing from Stevenage! Hopefully, a new striker will bolster the team as we certainly looked lightweight against Bolton.
Who else Evans brings in is uncertain but what this match also highlighted was the lack of chances created by the midfield. We think many people will start to miss Marcus Maddison when he finally leaves the club as he has created so many chances for his teammates and despite all the criticism he receives, we don’t have anyone in the squad that can provide so many chances as Maddison made.
One bright light from this match and one which makes the expected departure of Maddison a bit easier to take was the performance, once again, of Siriki Dembele. Dembele will cause League One opposition nightmares and we’ve seen that he is also prepared to track back and help do the dirty work and defend. He is certainly far from the finished article and will need to start producing an end product but if he can do this, then we will have a very good and exciting player on our hands.
Despite this defeat to Bolton, we should not read too much into it and we certainly shouldn’t be writing our chances off. What we should expect is a slow start to the League campaign as our new look side get used to each other and the way Evans wants us to play and hopefully, things will gel quickly to make us one of the promotion hopefuls.
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Photos courtesy of Joe Dent / www.theposhpics.com