Darren Ferguson admitted it was another painful day (December 7) for Peterborough United, but he insists he saw enough in the last-gasp 1-0 FA Cup second round defeat at Colchester to suggest his team will soon be back to winning ways.
Colchester sealed a place in tomorrow’s (December 8) third round draw thanks to a 91st-minute goal from George Moncur. Two minutes earlier Aaron Mclean had seen a penalty saved by Colchester ‘keeper Sam Walker and Posh defender Christian Burgess struck the bar from six yards.
It was a cruel finish to a game that only came to life in those final moments and Posh boss Ferguson claimed his side deserved to win rather than lose the match. Posh have now won just one of their last eight competitive matches - they will also now not be involved in the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006.
“It’s a disappointing day for the club,” Ferguson admitted. “It was a cruel way to lose a game, but football does that to you sometimes. The lads are stunned, shell-shocked in the dressing room. They are hurting and so am I as it’s painful for so many reasons.
“We need a win badly and we deserved to get it here, but it’s also a financial blow as we could have been handed that plum tie against a big club. This was a big game for cash reasons and when we were awarded a penalty two minutes from time you think you are going to get through.
“The goalkeeper made a good save, but from the corner Christian should really have scored. We’re still in the cup despite those misses though, but to then lose a goal in injury time was devastating. I haven’t said a lot to the lads because sometimes words are best left for another day, but I at least saw signs that we could soon be turning a corner.
“It’s impossible to keep losing every week, just like it’s impossible to keep winning, but obviously we need to start winning as soon as possible.
“I was upset last week with the way we lost to Bristol City. I was shocked at how badly we were beaten that night, but I saw a much different performance today.
“I saw a team that wanted to win. They were committed and once we improved the accuracy of our tempo and passing in the second-half we were much the better side. I could only see one winner and I certainly couldn’t see us losing.
“That’s the way things are going right now though. We need to play better, but we also need a break.”
Ferguson handed midfielder Erhun Oztumer his full Posh debut and was pleased with his performance. Oztumer played at the tip of a midfield diamond, while Michael Bostwick replaced Michael Smith at right-back and there was no place in the squad at all for veteran playmaker Grant McCann.
Youth team player Le Da-Silva Lopes was on the substitutes’ bench for Posh. He only turned 16 on November 30, but Ferguson was criticised on social media for delaying any substitutions until Posh fell behind.
“We were playing well enough at the end of the game to score and win,” Ferguson claimed. “That’s why I left the team unchanged. Obviously when Colchester scored I went four up front as I would in any game.
“Erhun did well though. He was playing too deep at times in the first-half. He will be at his best when he plays between the opposition lines and when he did that in the second-half he showed why we bought him. He has some terrific touches and manoeuvres the ball around really well.
“We looked much better after the break. I did want to force the pace from the off, but it took us a while to get going. Aaron will be disappointed, not just with the penalty, but with three or four other chances. He’s an experienced lad though and he will be fine.”
Posh will definitely have striker Craig Mackail-Smith and midfielder Harry Beautyman available for next Saturday’s (December 13) League One trip to Leyton Orient. Star man Marcus Maddison could also return from injury.