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Posh Punishment Part 3

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 25/03/2007

POSH came out and warmed up as if they meant business. Town didn’t. Within 20 seconds of the half restarting, Posh moved the ball upfield. Boyd cut inside, leaving Fenton standing and leaving a gaping hole in Town’s defence. Boyd pressed on and slipped the ball underneath the advancing Barnes.

Town 0, Posh 1. Town almost responded immediately with a ball which was floated over the defence to North, who almost chipped the keeper. The loose passes from the first half continued. Toner shrugged off a Posh player tugging at his sleeve on 49, but could not make progress.

Boshell came off and was replaced by Jones, no doubt to gain some stability and control, while Grand replaced Fenton, presumably because Fenton wasn’t very good. "Are all your players called Toner or Macca" asked Terry. "That’s all I’ve heard". I explained that the only players who were doing anything had these names. Newey showed a bit of drive on 53 when bursting across to the middle and putting in a decent right foot shot but North went wide with the rebound. Town had a chance on 57 when after a good cross field ball, North got behind the defence and passed right across the goal. Jones was there to meet it but drove the ball into the side netting.

Till came off on 60, to be replaced by Taylor who went up front with North and Jones. On 66 Toner mishit but North kept the ball in play. Macca had a left footed shot which was parried but no-one was there to follow it up. Bolland then fired wide after Taylor was forced wide of the keeper and pulled the ball back. Breakthroughs were few though as Posh’s tight marking was giving Town no room, and for all Town’s ability to get the ball to the penalty box, they were being crowded out as Posh mopped up time after time.

On 71, Posh had a counter attack and worked the ball slowly up the field. The ball was crossed in from the edge of the box, and with Town’s defence in deep, White was able to stand inside the six yard area to receive the ball and glide it with his head into the top left corner. Town 0, Posh 2. Town continued to be unable to get into the box through the defence, as the marking remained tight and the physical defenders kept picking off the ball in the final third. The Town team were being marked out the game and were starting to look demoralised.

Incidents vanished altogether as Posh closed the game down. Posh themselves had a 20 yard shot on 81 which went just over. Toner put in another decent cross ball to North on 82, but it all led to nothing. Jones won a free kick on 87. Then on 90 minutes North won the ball and got in the Posh box but he and Jones got in each other’s way. This summed it all up. We didn’t even need the Posh defence to prevent us from scoring. The final whistle blew. Town 0, Posh 2.

The verdict. Well, it’s back to describing misery. "A day out in the fresh air" was the way one supporter rationalised it as we disconsolately left the ground. As the game progressed, any semblance of quality disappeared. My Man of the Match Macca showed endeavour and thought in his play while Bolland, Toner and North in particular battled to keep things going. But it wasn’t good enough. Where in the first half, we were our own undoing through mistakes and misunderstandings, in the second Posh marked us tightly and snuffed us out of the game as well. Credit to them for doing that but after the second goal we were clueless and all we witnessed was 20 minutes of pointlessness and futility. The game was as bleak as the weather. It’s a good job we have enough points in the bag to avoid relegation because there were a number of weaknesses to be concerned about. We could start by relearning to pass, finding empty spaces and supporting each other - the Buckley way. We could also do with the defence anticipating and responding to threats, marking and operating as a unit. We need to get back on track at Notts County next week. After a bright opening spell today, this was as inept as it gets.

In the meantime getting warm was the priority as Terry and I made our way back to the station. The windswept Town fans we passed would not have been thinking it was an interesting game. It had in fact been seventeen quid’s worth of punishment. Punishment of a Posh variety.

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