Peterborough United were to take the points this afternoon on a tough afternoon in Cambridgeshire for The Imps. City had defended manfully throughout against Darren Ferguson’s side who at times struggled to deal with The Imps but ultimately the home side’s firepower told in the end with two late goals.
Louis Reed opened the scoring with just eight minutes remaining, smashing home from the edge of the box before a touch of brilliance from top scorer Ivan Toney took the game beyond the visitors, it was somewhat harsh on Michael Appleton's men who showed plenty of commitment and composure in a game which they more than matched their hosts.
City made just one change ahead of kick off from the starting line up which defeated Sunderland last time out as Ellis Chapman came in for his first League start of the season in midfield with Joe Morrell away on international duty with Wales. On the bench there was a welcome return for Tom Pett as he continues his path back to full fitness. Former Imps’ midfielder Alex Woodyard was on the bench for the home side who were unchanged following their 3-3 draw against Wycombe Wanderers.
Peterborough United: Pym, Beevers, Kent, Eisa, Knight, Maddison, Reed, Toney, Blake-Tracy, Boyd, Mason
Substitutes: Chapman, Butler, Woodyard, Dembele, Bennett, Ward, Kanu
Around 3,000 City fans made the trip to the Weston Homes Stadium in what was the first meeting between the two sides at the home of The Posh in over ten years and they were certainly the happier set of fans in the opening exchanges as City held their hosts deep inside their own territory. A foul on Neal Eardley, who was making his 100th Football League start for the club brought a half chance for the visitors, but Jorge Grant’s centre was well defended by the home side.
The hosts created their first chance of the game down the City left, a dangerous curling centre from Marcus Maddison headed towards Ivan Toney only to find Cian Bolger marshalling things to perfection getting ahead of the striker to turn the ball away from danger. Peterborough who so far this season have proved far from shot shy, naturally looked dangerous going forward with Maddison in particular a threat but sll the while Michael Appleton’s Imps continued to show they were more than a match for their hosts.
The Imps were frustrating the home side, Frazer Blake-Tracy and Maddison were both halted by the dogged determination of Michael O’Connor and whilst in possession City were patient and measured, Toffolo made a lung busting run down the right and crossed into the front post to Walker but he was denied a shooting chance by Mark Beevers who was in close attention. With all the suggestions being it would be a game of goals and chances at either end beforehand, with half an hour or so gone neither ‘keeper had truly been tested but it was a game that had plenty of bite and commitment in it to keep all in the ground focussed on the action.
Bolger showed fantastic awareness on halfway to stop George Boyd breaking free after a cute flick from Maddison and that set City on a charge, Walker doing well round the back of the home defence to free the ball out to Toffolo whose cross was blocked for a corner. The ball in was played short to Jack Payne who wriggled free to fire a shot but Toney was back helping out his defence to block. The Imps won their fourth corner of the first half with around eight minutes to play and Jason Shackell met the ball powerfully at the back post only to see Kent in the way with the ball arrowing towards goal. Toffolo fired a low skimming effort which flashed across goal but wide of target as the home crowd just seemed to drop a little quiet with City growing stronger. That growing confidence was highlighted in first half stoppage time The Imps were denied the lead courtesy of a terrific close range stop by Christy Pym, the home ‘keeper somehow getting in the way of Walker’s effort inside the six yard box from Andrade’s cross to keep the scores level at the break.
Peterborough United 0 The Imps 0
Within 20 seconds of the restart, Toney clattered into O’Connor and It resulted in The Imps midfielder needing lengthy treatment before the game could restart. It was the visitors who immediately got on the front foot, a deep cross from Eardley was headed for a corner by Niall Mason to keep the ball away from Grant at the back post. Andrade then tried a dipping and swerving volley from distance which whistled just wide in front of the army of Imps’ behind the goal.
O’Connor did have to be replaced due to the earlier knock with just ten minutes of the second half gone, Tom Pett coming on to make his first appearance of the season who got a tremendous reception from the travelling support as he entered the fray. Josh Vickers was called into action for the first time around the hour mark, Maddison cut inside before curling an inswinging ball towards the back post where Mo Eisa and Toney were waiting but the City stopper was there, commanding his area to punch clear of danger.
Not for the first time in the game play was concentrated in midfield areas and it looked increasing likely that one goal in the game would make all the difference. Although there hadn’t been much in terms of chances for the home side to get behind, they were in good voice whenever their side got into attacking positions. City, undeterred by the growing urgency from the home fans continued to be well drilled and disciplined, Shackell and Chapman making crucial tackles inside their own box as Maddison and Josh Knight shaped to shoot. Posh skipper, Mark Beevers then headed a deep free kick wide despite looking like he was offside when the ball came into the City area.
With around 15 minutes of normal time remaining The Imps were under the most pressure that they had felt all game to this point, the home side were throwing more men forward and the introduction of Siriki Dembele had given them an added pacier option up top. Vickers though showed all his experience and composure to punch clear a Posh corner, coming through a sea of bodies to get his fist to the ball. The game was becoming stretched and the pace up front for the hosts was causing issues, and it was following another sharp attack down the right from Dembele which opened the door for the hosts to lead. The sub twisted and turned down the left, laid the ball into the feet of Toney who held up play inside the City box before rolling the ball into the path of REED who crashed home off the underside of the crossbar from just outside the box.
The Imps looked to retaliate quickly and were close to getting the chance as a curled ball into the box was inches ahead of Grant who threw himself at the ball in an attempt to volley at goal. Posh then went close as Maddison curled a low shot which bounced just ahead of Vickers who well to save with Toney lurking, but the City ‘keeper could do nothing the next time the Peterborough number 17 got through. TONEY raced onto a long ball before showing terrific composure to lob the ball over Vickers and into the goal.
The action was far from over though as the game went into the final minute of normal time, scorer of the home side’s first goal, Louis Reed was sent off after picking up a second yellow card just as nine minutes of stoppage time were announced. City twice went close as they threw on John Akinde in an attempt to find a late way back into the game, the big striker forced a fantastic save from Pym in the home goal who somehow tipped over what would have been a certain goal and nothing more than they deserved for their efforts.
Peterborough United 2 The Imps 0
1 Christy PYM
5 Mark BEEVERS
6 Frankie KENT
7 Mo EISA
8 Josh KNIGHT
11 Marcus MADDISON
14 Louis REED
17 Ivan TONEY
18 Frazer BLAKE-TRACY
21 George BOYD
24 Niall MASON
26 Aaron CHAPMAN
3 Dan BUTLER
4 Alex WOODYARD (90’ for Maddison)
10 Siriki DEMBELE (73’ for Eisa)
16 Rhys BENNETT
23 Joe WARD
27 Idris KANU
Booked: Mason 62’, Reed 72’
Red Card: (2nd Yellow) Reed 90’
GOAL: Reed 82’, Toney 88’
1 Josh VICKERS
3 Harry TOFFOLO
4 Michael O’CONNOR
5 Jason SHACKELL
6 Cian BOLGER
10 Jack PAYNE
11 Bruno ANDRADE
12 Ellis CHAPMAN
17 Tyler WALKER
18 Jorge GRANT
23 Neal EARDLEY
21 Grant SMITH
7 Tom PETT (55’ for O’Connor)
20 Callum CONNOLLY
24 Max MELBOURNE
26 Harry ANDERSON
28 Jake HESKETH (81’ for Payne)
29 John AKINDE (89’ for Grant)
Booked: O’Connor 45’, Pett 74’
Referee: M Edwards
Assistants: C Fitch-Jackson & J Clark
4th Official: N Cooper
Attendance: 9,872 (2,788 Imps' Supporters)