There may be 13 League matches left for Posh, but if they play like they have done for the last two matches for the rest of the season, then the League One trap door will open very quickly!
Bolton Wanderers 1 – 0 Peterborough United
Location: Reebok Stadium
Date: 26th February, 2013
Attendance: 15,675 (304 Posh fans)
A fourth minute header by WBA loanee Craig Dawson was enough to settle this tie. Wanderers started the match just as they did against promotion chasing Hull City on Saturday in frantic style and caused Posh all kinds of problems.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson had warned his side of the problems they could face and even showed relevant DVD`s to the players beforehand was it was to no avail as Dawson, who also scored on Saturday, headed in a corner.
Ferguson said: “It`s been a disappointing night. We spoke about Bolton`s fast start at the weekend when they scored three times in eight minutes and we spoke about Dawson`s threat at set-pieces.
“The players were shown the relevant DVD ahead of the game and I can only trust them to go out and do their jobs, but instead we are a goal down in four minutes.”
Posh did look to get back into the game straight away with Grant McCann firing in a swerving shot which was comfortably saved by Bogdan in the Wanderers goal. However, Bolton could`ve increased their lead soon afterwards as they created numerous chances that were either saved by Bobby Olejnik or missed the target completely.
Thankfully, Posh weathered the storm and started to get into the game but were blighted by a determined Bolton backline and poor passing.
In truth, Posh created very little throughout the whole of the game despite having 50% of the possession but what good is possession if you don`t do anything with it?
Davide Petrucci had recovered from his hamstring injury that had kept him out of the last two matches but it looks like the loanee-hoodoo struck again as Petrucci aggravated the injury again and went off in the first half to be replaced by Jack Payne.
Posh did manage to create one decent chance towards the end of the first half but Nathanial Mendez-Laing squandered the chance as he fired wide from only 6 yards out!
Posh were much better in the second half after another fast start by Bolton and controlled a lot of the play but they just didn`t create anything. Forward Dwight Gayle is being starved of a decent service and this must be addressed immediately by Fergie.
Youngster Alex Pritchard, who Posh lost through injury and returned to parent club Spurs, is on the mend so hopefully he`ll be back at London Road sooner rather than later. Tyrone Barnett is also looking to start his comeback in the reserves for Posh this week so whether you like it or not, Fergie will have the exciting Pritchard back soon as well as the target man to select from.
“If I was Dwight Gayle I`d be furious. The boy is an out-and-out goalscorer and yet he wasn`t given a sniff of a chance tonight.” Fergie said after the game.
“That`s two games in a row that our final ball has not been good enough. We haven`t tested the goalkeeper and, for one of my sides and the way we like to play, that`s very frustrating.”
Danny Swanson started his first Posh game for a while and there were signs that he could be a good member of the team as although he misplaced a few passes, which everyone in the team did, he made a lot of intelligent runs and passes. There were also signs that the more time he has in the side, the better he will get and the better relationship he`ll get with the rest of the side and especially the front pairing.
Despite Fergie`s new love affair with the forgiven Mendez-Laing, it is hard to see why the rebel winger-come-forward has been starting for Posh. He has a poor touch, he can`t go by his man unless he barges his way through and he has no end product. Yes, he did score against Millwall but anyone who sees his shots in the warm up will know that his Millwall goal was flukey as the majority of his shots miss the target! Everyone who has seen him play for Posh will be aware that he has only made any sort of impact when coming on as a late substitute. It`s a pity Danny Kearns is no longer at London Road as he had the skill to take on his opponent; there doesn`t appear to be anyone else in the squad that could do a good job in this position.
Jack Payne played over half the match and showed some decent touches and could be a good partner for Grant McCann, but like Swanson, he needs more time on the pitch. Whether he gets this, especially with Petrucci injured again, is down to Fergie and his tactics.
Yet again, Posh were very frustrating when in possession and preferred to play keep ball instead of trying to penetrate the opposition. This was very annoying, especially in added time when they had a freekick inside the Bolton half, yet they play a short ball and passed it sideways then backwards! Why?? We needed the ball in the opposition box if we want to score! Surely this is a tactic from Fergie and if it is, he needs shooting. How does he expect his team to win if they are not prepared to attack?
Posh did manage to create a chance late on but again it fell to Mendez-Laing who fired his shot out for a throw-in while a trademark Tommy Rowe burst into the box ended with a disappointing shot straight at the keeper.
Overall, there were some positives to come out of this match such as the possession in the second half but there were some negatives in the lack of chances created and it is the negatives that will kill off Posh`s chances of staying up if they can`t be changed.
The trap door maybe readying for the three teams to drop into League One, but until it`s mathematically impossible to stay up, Posh must try their hardest to beat the drop. This is a tough time of the season if you`re near the bottom and things often go against you (as they seem to have done virtually all season for Posh) but we`ve got to start producing our own luck and start winning games again.
“I told the players after the game that they`ve just wasted another game in their careers. We only have 13 matches left now to make sure we stay in the Championship and we need to start winning again soon.” commented Fergie after the match.
The players, management and fans all need to stand up and be counted and come together as one in the fight to avoid the drop and Fergie is still confident we can beat the drop: “We need six wins and we need them quick, but my players can win games. We can win games against any team in this league; we’ve shown that,” said Ferguson.
“This is what you’re in the game for. This is the business end of the season.
“It’s the bit I enjoy and it’s the bit the players have got to enjoy. They have to enjoy the challenge of trying to keep the club up because the difference – and no disrespect to League One – between this league and the one below is absolutely gigantic.” continued Fergie.
“I got the feeling we were waiting for something tonight; I don’t know what.
“That’s two games in a row now that our final ball has not been good enough. If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t see us scoring.
“I think we lacked that little bit of belief that we could get anything from the game, which is unusual. In the second half we got control of the game but never really had many openings.”
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 Saturday [2nd March, 2013].
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