Hull 1, Posh 3 reaction: Not even on a FIFA Xbox game had anyone seen Emile Sinclair claim a hat-trick.
He has a Usain Bolt speed rating in the world of football computer games, but his finishing skills are ranked on a par with Ronnie Rosenthal’s.
But Sinclair loves the KC Stadium as much as Jan Molby loves KFC. It’s five goals in three visits in the last 15 months and this treble ensured a shaft of light entered the gloomy world of London Road as Posh triumphed 3-1 at Hull.
Thirteen matches had passed since Posh last won a Championship fixture, a run that stretched almost six months and precisely 182 days, but they are statistics that ensure caution as well as celebration should accompany the first points of the season.
Posh are still the worst team in the division. They are still suffering a quite appalling 2012 (five wins in 31 league matches) and they are still searching for the passing fluency that inspired a quite brilliant 2011.
But at least manager Darren Ferguson has relocated the plot. He has been frantically searching for the personel and the system that could ignite the season and six changes to the starting line-up and a switch to a 5-3-2 formation were either the acts of an inspired manager or a desperate one.
Ferguson certainly doesn’t lack courage. Dropping Gaby Zakuani - the most popular figure at the club behind Darragh MacAnthony and the man who opens the exit doors early - is a brave move, especially as the last time he tried it, Posh shipped in five goals.
But credit where credit is due. The Posh line-up probably shocked Hull as much as the result went on to shock the rest of the football world, but the element of surprise is gone now, to hopefully be balanced by a team with far more confidence.
It’s fair to say Ferguson does dour far better than he does cheery optimism, but he’s surely right to keep feet firmly on the ground, unless Sinclair really has been transformed into a faster version of Robin Van Persie overnight. Last weekend Ferguson sent a 16 year-old onto the pitch rather than Sinclair as Posh battled to overcome a one-goal deficit.
The fleet-footed forward’s goals were all superbly taken. Two were the result of moments of dazzling individual brilliance and the other courtesy of a splendid run and pass by a rejuvenated George Boyd.
Apart from one sprint past the labouring Abdoulaye Faye, little was seen of Sinclair in the opening 20 minutes, but a block, a tackle, a surge forward, a jink past a goalkeeper and a tap-in saw Posh in front and within eight minutes Boyd had latched onto a Michael Bostwick pass, skipped past a defender and teed-up Sinclair for a second goal which was again expertly taken.
But this wasn’t just about one man having a day to remember. Posh were disciplined in defence, allowing Hull to cross many balls into the penalty area, where well-placed defenders were waiting to clear, often the mightily impressive Nathaniel Knight-Percival.
Zakuani may have been axed, but his spirit lived on in the form of numerous blocks of fiercely-struck shots. As a result Hull dominated possession, but created very little once striker Sone Aluko had headed over the bar in the early stages.
Hull had won every previous game at this stadium this season so a rally was to be expected. The home side still enjoyed plenty of time and space out wide, but they were now cutting the ball back away from the Posh centre-backs in order to find some room to shoot.
Aluko fired an early warning high over the bar before Jay Simpson’s thundering finish from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross found the roof of the net via Bobby Olejnik’s gloves on the hour mark.
The goal could have led to a ferocious Tigers onslaught, but Posh coped pretty comfortably, helped by Olejnik’s safe handling of a couple of long-range skidders.
And then Sinclair re-entered the fray. He’d been denied a hat-trick just before Simpson’s strike by a fine Ben Amos save following a 1-2 with Tyrone Barnett, but 17 minutes from time he wasn’t going to be denied ownership of the match ball.
Sinclair picked up a loose ball in his own half and simply cruised past two defender before planting a shot in the corner of the net.
It was a magical moment for the likeable striker as well as the 300 or so hardy Posh fans who made the trip north, presumably more in hope than expectation.
The supporters may now travel to Barnsley with a little more confidence and the players with a touch more self-belief, particularly Boyd, Craig Allcock and Shaun Brisley who left all previous form this season well behind.
Midfielder Kane Ferdinand also delivered an energetic full debut, while Tommy Rowe’s first appearance of the season gave a lift as well as balance to the team.
It all left Hull boss Steve Bruce sounding just like Ferguson after the game. “Individual errors and laspes in concentration” were Bruce’s explanation of a result which finally removed the big, fat, embarrassing zero from the Posh league record of 2012-13.
What do you think after Posh’s first points of the season?:
Comment below, email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PTalanswann or use #pufc