Peterborough United overcame basement outfit Coventry City and recorded their first clean sheet of the season
Peterborough United 1 – 0 Coventry City
Location: London Road
Date: 17th December, 2011
Attendance: 8,062 (918 Coventry fans)
Playing their last home game of 2011, Peterborough United wanted to get back to winning ways and end on a winning note.
They did manage that but they needed some excellent goalkeeping from Joe Lewis and a goal line clearance deep into added time from Gaby Zakuani to thank for the result.
Going into the match without inspirational skipper Grant McCann, youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe took over the responsibilities for the base of the midfield while George Boyd took over the captaincy.
With just one win in nine League matches, Posh, despite putting up good performances, weren’t getting the rub of the green. Coventry were also out of form having only won twice in the League all season. With these statistics, you could’ve put a bet on that it would end up in deadlock.
Without the injured McCann, Posh looked disjointed but with Tunnicliffe making a rare start and fellow youngster Daniel Kearns making his first start for Posh, this was never going to be a flowing match right from the off.
Compared to most of Posh matches this season, Posh were poor in this game and although you could see Coventry were lacking in confidence, they were, for the majority of the match, the better side!
On a dull cold afternoon, Coventry City came out wearing their usual Sky Blue shirts which on occasions clashed with Posh’s kit due to the light…or my poor eyesight!
Anyway, City looked up for the game which must’ve been a positive sight for the 918 travelling fans, but they seemed to lack penetration up front as they failed to test goalkeeper Joe Lewis in the opening encounters.
Lee Tomlin had the first real effort at goal from a free-kick, but he unfortunately hit his shot over the bar.
The Sky Blues were creating more chances than Posh as Cyrus Christie fired wide from long-range on 24 minutes before a Gary Gardner free-kick forced Lewis into a good save minutes later.
On the half hour mark, Joe Murphy, in the City goal, made a fine stop from a 20-yard Tomlin effort before City’s top scorer this season, Lukas Jutkiewicz, headed over the bar from close-range as Bennett put him under pressure.
George Boyd, taking on the captaincy in McCann’s absence, was having a reasonable game as he buzzed around midfield trying to make things happen, but it was Tomlin that looked the more likely to break the deadlock from the home-side.
After 38 minutes, former Posh striker Clive Platt, had an opportunity to score against his former team but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
Half-time: Posh 0-0 Coventry City
An enforced early substitution in the second half saw Frecklington leave the pitch through injury for the second game running, to be replaced by striker Paul Taylor. This resulted in Tomlin dropping to the head of the midfield diamond, a position which he looks dangerous at, Boyd taking up the position on the left, again a position he looks more comfortable with and youngster Kearns moving over to the right in place of the injured Frecklington.
Taylor arrival to the match sparked life into the Posh team. Almost straight away, Taylor found Kearns whose shot was blocked by defender Thomas.
Boyd then fired over from 20-yards after more good work from Taylor.
Just as things were looking more positive for Posh, injury struck again. This time Lee Tomlin stretched for a loose ball and slipped on the greasy surface. After receiving treatment for a few minutes he gingerly made his way to the sideline, but after being allowed back on to the field of play, he went down again. He was helped off the pitch while left back Tom Kennedy prepared himself to come on in his place.
This again forced boss Ferguson into personnel changes with Boyd moving back to the head of the diamond, Rowe moving from left back to left midfield with Kennedy slotting in at left back.
A very contentious moment soon followed when the ball floated towards the far side of the penalty area to be met by Woods head. The ball then appeared to strike the arm of defender Alcock but referee Mark Brown waved away vociferous Coventry appeals for a penalty. From my viewpoint, it did appear to strike Alcock but he was so close to the player who headed it at him that he couldn’t do anything about it. It was definitely one of those decisions that could’ve gone either way and whichever team didn’t get the decision, would’ve been unhappy.
Tommy Rowe was next to see his shot blocked before Taylor fired wide of the far post. Lewis then produced an excellent save from Jutkiewicz before Gardner fired inches wide.
The game had come to life since Taylors introduction, but it was still Coventry that seemed on top.
Slightly against the run of play, Posh opened the scoring after 66 minutes. Paul Taylor was once again at the forefront of the build up as he struck a powerful shot which Murphy could only parry. Taylor was quickest off the mark to pick up the rebound and pulled the ball back into the area to find SINCLAIR all alone to rifle his shot into the corner of the net.
Sinclair then had another chance after intercepting a poor pass across the area but Murphy did well to deny him.
Despite going behind, Coventry still pressed for an equaliser. Gardner struck the boot of Bennett while Wood fired over from six-yards.
Youngsters Tunnicliffe and Kearns were both tiring for the home side as the effects of a full game was taking its toll.
A good run by the impressive right back Cyrus Christie saw him beat a number of Posh challenges before agonisingly seeing his effort curl just wide of the upright.
Another Posh youngster was introduced with just six minutes of normal time remaining. Joe Newell replaced the tiring Sinclair on 84 minutes as Posh changed formation with Taylor now playing up front on his own. Ferguson obviously realised his midfield youngsters were feeling the pain and needed some extra help.
However, Posh can count themselves lucky again as another effort from Gardner struck the base of the post.
The fourth official showed there would be four minutes of added stoppage which Posh could’ve done without.
Posh were now defending for their lives as Coventry continued to press.
With time running out, Coventry almost got on the scoresheet as Jutkiewicz thought he’d scored his 9th goal of the season before seeing Gaby Zakuani produce a stunning clearance off the line.
Final Score: Posh 1-0 Coventry City
Posh: Lewis, Bennett, Zakuani, Alcock, Rowe, Tunnicliffe, Frecklington (sub Taylor 49min), Kearns, Sinclair (sub Newell 84min), Tomlin (sub Kennedy 60min).
Unused subs: Thompson, Jones.
Coventry: Murphy, Keogh, Hussey, Bell (sub Bigirimana 81min), Jutkiewicz, McSheffery, Platt, Wood, Gardner, Christie, Thomas.
Unused subs: McPake, Jeffers, Cameron, Burge.
For further statistics of the match, see HERE
POST MATCH QUOTES
“It was important to go into the Christmas games with some momentum behind us so it was a great three points for us on Saturday,” commented Posh boss Ferguson.
“We weren’t at our best, but we’ve deserved some luck, particularly at home. We need to pick up the vast majority of our points in home matches, but we are ticking along very nicely now.
“We had a team with an average age of 22 on Saturday and that’s something to be proud of. Ryan Tunnicliffe and Kearns were out on their feet by the end, but we kept going as a team.”
Ferguson continued: “Danny [Kearns] is a good player now and he is going to be a very good player in the future. He has everything I like in a midfielder as he can pass, he moves well and he has an excellent temperament.
“Paul [Taylor] changed the game in our favour though. Sometimes players can make a mug of their manager as you’d watch that and wonder why he didn’t start, but we might not have got that performance from him.”
Making his first start in Posh colours, Irishman Danny Kearns was happy with how things went: “It was just great to make my full debut and to have a hand in the goal, but it was more important that it led to three points.
“We needed the win which is perhaps why we were a bit edgy at times, but we saw it through to pick up an excellent three points.
“I’ve had to be patient and wait for my chance to start, but to be fair I knew that would be the case when I joined. I’ve been made to feel very welcome though and I feel like part of the squad.
“I felt I did well as a sub in the last couple of games, but starting a match is very different.
“We showed a different side of our game against Coventry. Everyone knows we like to pass the ball about and get forward, but we had to dig in and defend well to get the right result.
“I’m very happy, but I know I can improve on stuff like tracking runners and working back when we lose the ball.”
Sky Blues boss was far from happy with the performance of the referee: “We must have upset someone because we have had no luck all season. Anyone at the game could see we played well and deserved to win.
“And if we had been awarded a certain penalty we may well have collected the three points. It was a set-piece we work on with a centre-back getting free at the far post and his header has been brilliantly saved by a defender.
“I asked the referee afterwards why he hadn’t given it and he said it was blasted at the defender from two yards. Blasted? With his head?
“Even after we fell behind though we had numerous chances to score. Their goalkeeper has got the faintest of touches to one shot that hit the post and they have pulled off a terrific goal-line clearance right at the end.
“I have a very disappointed dressing room again, but they should hold their heads up high because we played well.”
VITAL POSH VIEWPOINT
Whenever Posh play a team near the top of the division, they seem to up their game. Similarly, when we play teams near the bottom, we seem over confident which often results in us losing games.
This was no exception but for the fact, we didn’t look confident at all and lacked motivation! That was until the lively Paul Taylor entered the fray.
Coventry are rooted to the bottom of the Championship and many Posh fans were expecting a win…some of them heavily winning! But they have to remember, they’re watching Posh and you shouldn’t expect anything, except entertainment. Even that was lacking on Saturday though!
Coventry were the better team but when one of your main strikers is Clive Platt, you know you’re not going to score many goals! He did impress me with the way he battled and tried to hold the ball up; things which he lacked at Posh. Both Zakuani and Bennett had problems getting the ball off him.
City did hit the post, have an added time shot cleared off the line and come up against an in-form Joe Lewis who made a few excellent saves so they can consider themselves unlucky not to get anything out of the game. There again, they do say things even themselves out over the course of the season so for Posh, it was a case of playing badly and picking up all 3 points which partially makes up for the games that Posh have dominated yet failed to pick anything up from.
On another positive note, Posh battled well and finally achieved their first clean sheet of the season, so congratulations must go to the whole team for achieving this.
On a negative note, it was sad to see Tomlin and Frecklington pick up injuries which could rule them out of some of the Christmas games.
Anyway, we picked up 3 very important points towards our goal of 50 points…only another 22 to go!
DON’T FORGET YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR MAN OF THE MATCH.
UP THE POSH!
Follow me on Twitter: @mwl1967
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