MATCH REACTION: An embarrassing first-half followed by an outstanding second-half

Posh man of the match Paul Taylor celebrates his goal against Chesterfield. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh man of the match Paul Taylor celebrates his goal against Chesterfield. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United manager Grant McCann’s half-time roasting of his players did the trick in today’s (December 10) League One clash with Chesterfield at the ABAX Stadium.

McCann was appalled by his side’s first-half display against the team who started the day in 22nd place. Posh scored in the first and last minutes of the first half to reach the interval at 2-2.

Posh midfielder Gwion Edwards smashes home a first-half equaliser against Chesterfield. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh midfielder Gwion Edwards smashes home a first-half equaliser against Chesterfield. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

But Posh were a different side after McCann’s team-talk, scoring three unanswered goals to win 5-2. Tom Nichols (2), Gwion Edwards, man-of-the-match Paul Taylor and Michael Bostwick scored the goals that kept Posh in sixth place.

It was a big win achieved without injured talisman Marcus Maddison.

“We were very lucky to be level at half-time,” McCann admitted. “In a strange way scoring in the first minute seemed to bother us more than them. We sat back, we let their two midfielders run the show and the possession stats must have been 70-30% in Chesterfield’s favour.

“That’s not how I want my team to play. My teams should dominate possession, but everything we didn’t want to happen in the first half did happen and Gwion baled us out with a superb equaliser.

Posh striker Tom Nichols is about to score his second goal against Chesterfield. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh striker Tom Nichols is about to score his second goal against Chesterfield. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“After he scored I went back to the dug out without celebrating. I didn’t watch the rest of the half as I was embarrassed with how we had played.

“I told them all this at the break. Some players might not have liked hearing some home truths, but today it did the trick as we were very good in the second-half.

“I asked our full-backs to be more aggressive going forward, I told Leo Da Silva Lopes and Gwion to press higher up the pitch and I told Chris Forrester to stop playing as a third centre-back.

“They all listened and we were excellent for the rest of the game. We had too much pace and energy for them and we scored some terrific goals.

“The second-half was like the first 35 minutes at Notts County the week before, but I will always be demanding more. The only complete 90-minute display of the season so far was against Millwall at home.

“Bolton at home was possibly another, but to think we are sixth without playing to our full potential is quite scary. We’ve had spells of domination in games, but we haven’t blown teams away and that’s something for me and the coaching staff to work on.

“Paul Taylor was outstanding. He can be a frustrating player as he often loses possession which starts off the oppposition counter attacks. It used to be the same for me when I was playing for Peterborough.

“But he has all the ability in the world. He can do amazing things with the football. He can do anything, score goals and create them. In fact I want him to be more ruthless and shoot more as he proved today what a great shot he has on him.

“He scored 12 goals in the Championship for us one season which is no mean feat.

“It was disappointing to rule Marcus out, but he has struggled with an old injury for the last month and he probably shouldn’t have played at Notts County.

“It was good to see us do well without such a key player, but he will be back stronger than ever very soon. His stats this season show he much he offers to the team as he is not just scoring and creating goals, he is running further and harder than he did last season.”