Peterborough United 0 – 2 Aston Villa
Location: London Road
Date: 1st August, 2012
Peterborough United followed up their first home pre-season match at the weekend with another defeat against Premiership opposition.
Fresh from a 2-0 defeat to Norwich on Saturday, ex-Canaries boss Paul Lambert brought his new Villa outfit to London Road and walked away with a comfortable 2-0 win thanks to goals from Daniel JOHNSON on the stroke of half time before doubling their advantage 15 minutes from time from their new Aussie Brett HOLMANN.
Posh were once again looking at the match as a fitness exercise with many players getting 90 minutes under their belt for the first time in pre-season. The team was a mixture of younger players with a scattering of more senior players. Saturdays match at Stevenage will see the players that didn`t play today get 90 minutes.
The early stages of this match had a typical pre-season match feel about it as both teams played the ball about well without creating too many chances. It was Posh, who were looking comfortable against Villa, who created the first chance of the game as transfer-listed striker Paul Taylor sent a shot just wide of Shay Givens post.
The lively Daniel Johnson saw Villas first shot of the match deflected over the bar after 11 minutes as the opposition looked to grab the lead. Charles N’Zogbia’s low left foot shot from the edge of the penalty area was then well held by former Villa youth keeper Bobby Olejnik.
Posh had a chance themselves with a freekick just outside the Villa penalty area, but Grant McCann looks to have started this season just as he ended last season, with a poor freekick (and it wasn`t the only poor freekick he took in the game!).
With nearly 30 minutes on the clock, Villa nearly carved out the first goal of the game but Bobby Olejnik on had to watch as the ball went wide of this goal from Weimann.
Shay Givens hands were stinging moments later after an excellent built up by Posh resulted in Paul Taylor firing a powerful shot from outside the Villa area which Given parried away. Unfortunately, Taylor was his usual selfish self when he took the shot instead of playing a simple pass to his right where Danny Swanson was free and had a clear sight of goal!
Posh had another couple of poor freekicks by McCann and Taylor while youngster Joe Newell [pictured below], who wasn`t having his best performance in a Posh shirt, fired wide of the target.
With most people expecting the half to finish goalless, Villa got their noses in front. With Villa playing the ball around the area, Posh looked reluctant to make any sort of challenge and allowed Weimann to fire in the ball from the Villa right. The ball took a slight deflection as it whizzed inside the six yard box to Daniel JOHNSON on Villas left who made no mistake when tapping the ball into the net.
Half-time: Peterborough United 0 – 1 Aston Villa
Only one change was made at half time and that saw young goalkeeper Joe Day replace Olejnik.
It was clear from the off that Villa upped the tempo and immediately started causing Posh problems. Charles N`Zogbia brought the first save from Day while other efforts went wide of his goal. The best chance Posh had of equalising came when Taylor beat his man to the ball on the by-line and just had to make a simple pass to the penalty spot for Barnett but his pass was wayward and hit behind the on-rushing forward!
Towering forward Tyrone Barnett was replaced just after the hour by the diminutive Nicky Ajose before Posh legend Dave Farrell [pictured below during the pre-match warm up] made his entrance five minutes later replacing Danny Swanson.
Posh were forced to make one final change after a nasty looking tackle on the lively Danny Kearns left him on the floor in agony suffering from potential ankle and knee ligament damage. It will be a massive blow for the youngster who joined Posh half way through last season and had looked very lively during the pre-season games. He could well have found himself a regular starter on the right hand side of midfield at the start of the season before this set-back.
With Kearns hobbling off, it brought about the introduction of the “mystery youngster” for his Posh debut. Teenager Jonson Clarke-Harris entered without a name or number on his kit but he certainly didn`t look out of place. He has a good size, decent touch and was prepared to chase down the opposition. He is deemed one for the future but on last night`s showing, he could make regular appearances this season.
The second half was really a no contest as Villa demonstrated their dominance by playing the ball around with ease as Posh seemed to be chasing shadows. The only surprise was that it took until 10 minutes from the end to double their advantage. A sweeping move down the Villa right saw the ball crossed long over everyone in the box before being picked up by another player who controlled the ball, played it into Brett HOLMANN who blasted the ball left footed into the roof of the net passed the diving Day who stood very little chance with the powerful shot.
Holmann had another chance to double his goal tally but Day stood up well and produced a good save. With no further chances and no added time, referee Andy Woolmer blew the full time whistle.
Full-time: Peterborough United 0 – 2 Aston Villa
Posh: Olejnik (Day 46min), Brisley, Zakuani, Knight-Percival, Little, Swanson (Farrell 68min), McCann, Kearns (Clarke-Harris 75min), Newell, Taylor, Barnett (Ajose 65min).
Unused subs: Bostwick, Tomlin, Nthle, Grant.
Villa: Given, Baker (Burke 85min), Ireland (Warnock 85min), N’Zogbia (Delfouneso 73min), Herd (Lowton 29min), Delph (El Ahmadi 70min), Carruthers (Holmann 70min), Weimann, Johnson (Bannan 69min), Stevens (Clark 85min), Lichaj.
Unused subs: Guzan, Marshall
Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northants)
Despite the scoreline, it was another big step towards their goal of being prepared for the opening match of the season when Posh entertain Southend in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday 14th August.
Many players now have a full 90 minutes under their belts with the other players expected to get 90 minutes this coming Saturday against Stevenage.
Team selection meant nothing in this match as Posh boss Darren Ferguson is looking for his whole squad to be prepared for action during the coming season, whether that be by playing every single game of the coming season or the last five minutes of the final match. The team comprised of players you`d expect to play a lot of games this season, but also others that will be bench warmers at best.
Nat Knight-Percival was tried out again at left back as Fergie looks for a temporary solution to the missing Tommy Rowe. NKP did OK as he is unaccustomed in this position but it is certainly a slight worry that we don`t have a ready-made replacement for Rowe and with Fergie`s refusal to bring someone in to cover, we could be looking at another stubborn refusal by Fergie to realise that left back could be our achilles heel. Vital Posh hopes that his stubbornness doesn`t prove costly just like it did in the disastrous 2009/10 season when he backed the players he had!
With Craig Alcock looking to start his recovery against Boston and Manchester United next week, his involvement as one of the full backs come the start of the season could be vital. Mark Little`s performance against Villa should`ve edged him ahead of Michael Richens but Richens will be able to show what he`s got on Saturday against Stevenage. It is certainly an interesting dilemma Fergie is facing.
Danny Kearns [pictured below]has certainly made an impression upon Vital Posh. He always looked like he had some tricks up his sleeve last season, but in pre-season he has looked very lively, showed his tricks and passing ability and has tracked back to defend. His injury will be a massive blow to Fergie`s initial plans as he was surely making the right side of midfield his own. Newcomer Danny Swanson may now be the favourite for that position if George Boyd stays at Posh, as Fergie may look to retain Boyd at the top of the diamond, just as he did last season.
Another bright spot from this game was the introduction of 18-year-old Jonson Clarke-Harris. JCH looked calm and composed and looks to be an excellent prospect. We didn`t get to see what he was like in the penalty area but his movement outside the area and his control was very encouraging.
Saturday will see more players getting 90 minutes under their belt before Fergie should play what could be his first starting XI of the season in the final pre-season match against a Manchester United XI.
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