Fresh from only a second clean sheet of the season, Posh came up against an early League One surprise package in the shape of Accrington Stanley. Could Peterborough United’s woeful home form- 8 points from a possible 18- pick up this aftenoon? James Bloodworth went to The ABAX to find out…
Posh went for the same lineup that claimed 3 points at Glandford Park seven days ago, as well as the eleven players that provided a scintillating beginning to the season. The start of this match was anything but scintillating; in fact the rough notes I keep when writing these reports read:
10 mins: Literwlly nothjng is happeming” (sic. I’m very bad at touch typing)
And I was right. There was no invention whatsoever: whenever Posh came into possession, a long ball was launched forwards, which inevitably ran through to Stanley’s keeper Johnny Maxted; on the odd occasion that this didn’t happen, it was flicked on or knocked down by a Posh head with no intention at all. Passing was an alien concept in a sunny North Cambridgeshire this afternoon.
Accrington had done their homework; Our fullbacks were clearly highlighted as weak links and were exploited consistently, and Stanley held firm to deny the counter attacks that have provided so many of our goals this season. And this was exactly how the deadlock was broken. Siriki Dembele lost the ball, Accrington’s winger Jordan Clark drove at ‘defender’ Colin Daniel, crossed to big striker Offandre Zanzala to head towards goal; Posh’s defence outnumbered their opponent’s attackers inside the penalty area during this passage of play, yet somehow Zanzala’s blocked header ran loose and the only man who was alert was winger Sean McConville. Accrington’s captain was totally unchallenged as he pounced on the loose and drilled it past his former teammate Aaron Chapman. Posh 0, Accrington 1.
Posh’s defence continued to whack the ball like it had just collectively slagged off all of their family and friends. I do try and be objective at all times whilst writing these, so will therefore attempt to find positives: Matt Godden’s long range effort dipped onto the top of the crossbar, whilst Dembele had occasional flashes of skill, but just couldn’t do it in dangerous areas. On the topic of the Ivorian-born winger, he was stopped at all costs by the gritty Accrington defence. And I mean, at all costs. Referee Scott Duncan was in a word: fuckingabysmal. Constant fouling was unpunished, yet the most innocuous of foul were met by bookings during an odd display.
Both sides had half (well, maybe quarter) chances as Jason Cummings curled a weak shot into Maxted’s arms, and Mark O’Hara’s clearing diving header nearly found its way into the Posh goal. This was 45 minutes of football that featured incredibly little football. That being said, we did mix it up every so often, with the aimless long balls towards Godden and Cummings punctuated by a hopeless close-range volley wide by Jason Naismith and a blocked shot towards an open goal from Jason Cummings. Needless to say, neither attempt was successful. Mercifully, the referee brought an end to the first half… Not before Steve Evans picked up his customary first half yellow card mind, as the Posh boss vocalised his anger at the men in black.
The only thing that changed in the interval was the end Posh were attacking. The same long ball shit was deployed to no avail, as Accrington didn’t look in danger of surrendering their league. There was a sniff of a chance for Jason Cummings, having peeled away at the far post, but he could only guide Colin Daniel’s lovely cross high and wide. The visitors looked to double their lead, and had Zanzala reacted slightly quicker, he would have beaten Aaron Chapman to the loose ball. As it happens, Posh’s number one just about made the ball his own, and his outstretched arm just about didn’t give away a penalty.
Jason Cummings had a funny old game. This is of course the diplomatic way to say he was absolutely crap. He was unlucky when a curled shot kissed the top of the bar, before Joe Ward’s lovely cross was hooked over by the Scot’s left boot when a diving header would have been a far better option. Cummings’ final act was to run well beyond Accrington’s last defender so early that even the most biased of Posh fans perpendicular to the Stanley backline would have admitted an offside. The former Hibs man was withdrawn for Ivan Toney (NB: Toney is not mentioned again in is piece, as he did precisely the square root of fuck all), whilst Marcus Maddison replaced Joe Ward. The latter of which was a concerning move. Jason Naismith was nothing short of woeful this afternoon, with winger Ward carrying out the lion’s share of defending; this switch only emphasised the hopelessness of the Posh right back. If Posh were to get back into the affair, it would have been through the mercurial Marcus Maddison. Immediately, the Geordie put in an awful cross which was turned behind by Accrington’s right back Callum Johnson. In spite of the poor quality, it was one of Posh’s best chances up to the 60th minute, so surely things could get better?
Yeah, it didn’t. Stanley hit the post after a neat short corner routine wasn’t stopped by the Posh defence, whilst centre back Mark Hughes saw a goalbound volley blocked inside the 6 yard box. In truth, Accrington looked just as likely to score the second goal of the day as Posh did. Mark O’Hara’s incredible start to life at London Road looks to be well and truly over, as the only positive trait he displayed today was ‘being tall’; never have I seen a central midfielder so incapable of passing a football. His final act of the day was to (bizarrely) give away a free kick and pick up a yellow card inside the Accrington penalty area from the hopeless Scott Duncan, who had let an awful tackle on Dembele go just moments earlier. Jamie Walker came on in place of his compatriot, although I’m struggling to remember the latter actually touching the ball.
Accrington once again looked to rub salt into Peterborough United wounds, but they were thwarted when Aaron Chapman uncharacteristically caught a cross. In a move even more out of character, he quickly released Marcus Maddison down the left. Posh’s longest serving player played a delightful cross towards Matt Godden, who SURELY couldn’t miss. Well, he could; Incredibly, the ex-Stevenage man cushioned the ball wide, in what you felt was the chance to equalise. Groans echoed around PE2 as the final moments of the match approached.
Accrington substitute Scott Brown (no, not that Scott Brown) curled a shot wide as home fans began filing out of the ABAX exits, whilst those hardy souls that remained (myself included) did so more in hope than expectation. 5 minutes of injury time were signalled by 4th official Dan Robathan, and the vast majority of this didn’t even need wasting by the visitors, as Jason Naismith did a pretty good job of eating away at the limited time his team had to equalise by taking an age over a throw in. Posh almost had as little urgency as they did invention. Scott Duncan had mercy, and brought the affair to a close. Boos emanated from the 6,000 strong crowd, and I’m not sure how many were aimed at the poor officials and how many were aimed at the hopeless Posh side, but both thoroughly deserved such ‘feedback’. Full time: Posh 0, Stanley 1.
It was a miserable day for all of a Posh persuasion; Accrington were a decent outfit, but we didn’t do ourselves any favours with the long ball shit which we reverted to. It’s now 5 games at The ABAX without a win; the last time we went on such a run, Graham Westley was at the helm *shudders*. We may still be second, but people need to stop kidding themselves problems are appearing. And FAO Steve Evans: fans not clapping wasn’t the big issue of the afternoon.
Has James overlooked any (incredibly small) positives? Or do you want to more eloquently express how bad Posh were todayHave your say on all things Posh at the forum now.
James Bloodworth (jwb1997)
Find James of twitter @jamesb17_