Centre-backs stand tall for Posh in excellent win

Posh winger Jon Taylor takes on Bradford City's Alan Sheehan. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh winger Jon Taylor takes on Bradford City's Alan Sheehan. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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A brand new central defensive partnership for Peterborough United of Gaby Zakuani and Ricardo Santos was a highlight of today’s (February 28) 2-0 League One win over Bradford City.

Ben Alnwick: A good confidence-restorer for the number one. He was pretty quiet, but when called into action, he caught his crosses, held onto the shots and generally cleared his lines very well 6

Michael Smith: Up and down the right flank for 90 minutes. Beaten a couple of times early on by Bradford’s wide-men, but settled down to defend very strongly. Supported Jon Taylor effectively in attack 6

Kgosi Ntlhe: The left-back looked like he was in for a tough time against a talented right winger, but he eventually got to grips with him so well he was substituted. Didn’t join in too many attacks, but this was a day to concentrate on his defending and he did it well 7

Gaby Zakuani: Darren Ferguson’s regular defensive scapegoat showed what Posh have been missing this season. A strong defender who clears his lines effectively. He won most of his aerial challenges and found some impressive distances on his clearing headers. He will be a strong player for the rest of the season if he doesn’t have to mess around playing 15-yard square passes. Excellent overall 8

Ricardo Santos: A selection right out of left field, but what a master-stroke it turned out to be. Another who will benefit from simple instructions. He won many significant challenges in and around the Posh penalty area and helped keep a couple of quality League One performers quiet. Impressive 8

Jack Payne: Given a little bit more freedom than normal and he took advantage to spray a few decent passes around. He played like a top captain in this game, charging around midfield, making tackles and interceptions and generally leading by example 7

Michael Bostwick: Surprisingly given a midfield role after some decent displays at centre-back. He has the physical presence and shooting power to be effective in the middle of the park, but it was his tackling and reading of the game that impressed the most here. Powerfully-taken penalty sealed the three points 7

Jon Taylor: He didn’t see a lot of the ball in the first-half, but he still buzzed around and made a nuisance of himself. Very good in possession after the break and it was a high-class set-piece delivery that led to the crucial first goal. He played another beauty in from the right that almost led to a Luke James goal 7

Joe Newell: A quiet game for the wide man, but he played with discipline defensively. Team-mates didn’t manage to deliver the ball to him in dangerous positions very often. They will probably need to in future games 6

Kyle Vassell: The recalled striker put in a good shift, but understandably looked rusty. He’s always willing to track back for the team and made one fine interception on the edge of his own area in the first half. Had possession in good areas at times, but didn’t often take the right option 6

Luke James: A standard performance from a hard-working striker. He was denied his first League One goal by an excellent early save and just couldn’t quite divert Taylor’s superb cross in the second-half past the ‘keeper. He was contained fairly comfortably otherwise, but his attitude is faultless 6

Substitutes:

Harry Beautyman: (for Vassell, 68 mins).

Harry Anderson: (for James, 82 mins).

David Norris: (for Taylor, 90 mins).

Dion-Curtis Henry (not used).

Erhun Oztumer: (not used).

Christian Burgess: (not used).

Shaun Brisley: (not used).