Championship report and gallery: Those in the know say that, when pronounced properly, Berahino rhymes with Mourinho, Good, that makes it easier to describe him as Posh’s very own ‘Special One’.
The striker on loan from West Brom scored twice late in the game against Derby at London Road today (October 27) to put the gloss on a second home win in a week, but it’s not just his goals that have transformed this Posh team.
Tyrone Barnett and Emile Sinclair have their strengths, but subtle runs, a clasy touch and great vision are not among them. The potential in the Boyd/Berahino partnership gives hope for this season along with a defensive system that has produced the most solid-looking Posh team in Darren Ferguson’s time at London Road.
Berahino will grab the headlines as well as the man-of-match champagne for his two-goal display and that’s only fair for a 19 year-old who looks like a waif and stray alongside some of these big lumps that masquerade as Championship defenders.
His most decisive contributions here arrived with Posh 1-0 ahead and playing against 10 men and his first goal arrived courtesy of a horrible howler from visiting ‘keeper Adam Legzdins, but a buzz brews in the crowd whenever he’s in possession which is an honour awarded to few.
Berahino could have had a hat-trick as a first-half shot was tipped onto the bar and over by Legzdins who was actually Derby’s best player despite an embarrassing moment four minutes from time when he allowed a tame shot to slip through his hands.
Legzdins saved superbly from Boyd in the first-half and kept out a Lee Tomlin penalty (the whole press box knew where the spot-kick was heading so presumably the ‘keeper did as well) 10 minutes after the break. That miss could have proved costly as Posh only led by Michael Bostwick’s superb 30th minute volley at the time, but Posh resisted some Derby pressure well before taking advantage of the dismissal of visiting centre-back Jake Buxton for two ill-timed challenges on Berahino and Boyd in the space of five minutes.
“Keeping them out in the 15 minutes after we missed the penalty was crucial,” insisted Posh boss Darren Ferguson. “They received a lift from the miss, but we didn’t let our heads go down and kept our concentration when they pushed us back.
“Once they went down to 10 men we obviously had more space to work in and we got our wing backs pushing forward again. The red card killed them to be fair and we could see out a big win against a very good side.”
Derby were the better team for the opening half-an-hour, but despite dominating possession Posh ‘keeper Bobby Olejnik was hardly worked. The one save he did make to divert a Conor Sammon shot past a post went unnoticed by referee Simon Hooper, who made a decision in keeping with the rest of his performance.
Posh opened the scoring from their first corner. Shaun Brisley should have netted when he stooped to meet Grant McCann’s quality cross close to goal, but Legzdins saved well only to be beaten when Bostwick’s cushioned volley from the edge of the area sailed straight back past him into the roof of the net.
Derby started the second-half well and Theo Robinson should really have equalised rather than hit the post after Paul Coutts and John Brayford had created a golden opportunity for him.
In recent seasons Posh may have been expected to concede when put under any sort of consistent pressure, but this new three-man central defensive system is making stars out of Brisley and Nat Knight-Percival, while allowing right wing-back Mark Little to bomb forward (which he enjoys) rather than defend all the time (which he doesn’t).
Little forced a fine late save from Legzdins after a lung-bursting run through the middle of the Derby defence and he might have won a penalty when falling under a Coutts challenge.
Referee Hooper had already handed Posh a soft-looking spot-kick earlier for an alleged foul on Boyd so another was not likely to be forthcoming.
It didn’t matter as once Buxton had departed Posh started to dominate. Nthle’s fine pass enabled Berahino to beat the offside trap and convert a third goal, one that saw Posh leave the Championship relegation zone for the first time this season.
A member of popular pop group One Direction was apparently in the crowd, That one direction as far as Posh are concerned is ‘up’.
Teams and player ratings:
Bobby Olejnik: One sharp save first half to add gloss to another extremely competent display of handling 6
Craig Alcock: Looked a lot safer, takes no chances which is a good trait in a defender 7
Shaun Brisley: Stood up to some physical confrontations well. Never caught out of position 8
Nathaniel Knight-Percival: Quick, good in the air, strong in the tackle, quality signing 8
Mark Little: Where does he find his energy form. Still piling forward in the 90th minute, top display 9
Kgosi Ntlhe: Tommy Rowe faces a fight to get his place back, that’s how welll Kgosi is performing. Set up third goal 7
Michael Bostwick: High class finish changed the course of the game. Made some crunching tackles as well 7
Grant McCann: Takes a chance he probably shouldn’t at times, but also sprays some superb passes 7
Lee Tomlin: Anonymous until seeing his spot-kick saved, substituted 5
George Boyd: The Boyd/Berahino partnership offers great potential, Looked in confident form until injured and limped off 7
Saido Berahino: Great touch and makes clever runs. One lucky finish, one very good finish and has improved the team considerably 8
Danny Swanson: (for Boyd, 75 mins).
Emile Sinclair: (for Tomlin, 80 mins).
Barry Richardson: (not used).
Joe Newell: (not used).
Gaby Zakuani: (not used).
Kane Ferdinand: (not used).
Derby: Adam Legzdins, John Brayford, Gareth Roberts (sub Nathan Tyson 79mins), Jake Buxton, Richard Keogh, Paul Coutts, Jeff Hendrick (sub James O’Connor 84mins), Michael Jacobs (sub Mark O’Brien 72mins), Will Hughes, Conor Sammon, Theo Robinson. Unused subs: Saul Deeney, Ben Davies, Mason Bennett, Kieron Freeman.
Goals: Posh - Bostwick (30mins), Berahino (86mins and 90mins).
Sending off: Derby (Buxton, second yellow card for foul).
Bookings: Posh - Boyd (foul), Bostwick (foul).
Derby - Buxton (foul), Keogh (foul)
Referee: Simon Hooper 4