A spectacular goal from Marcus Maddison and the first two Football League goals of Junior Morias’ career delivered a much-needed win for Peterborough United at Port Vale today (February 4).
It was a terrific comeback by Grant McCann’s men after their January traumas. A seventh away win of the season has surely put the Posh League One promotion push back on track.
The first-half at Vale Park was highlighted by 90 typical seconds in the life of Maddison.
He was cheered by Posh fans - and booed by Vale supporters - after winning a penalty after latching onto a Tom Nichols pass only to tripped by Callum Guy in the 19th minute.
Those emotions were reversed as a rather casual penalty was well saved by debutant Vale ‘keeper Leo Fasan, but within 60 seconds Maddison’s popularity, with Posh fans at least, soared again as he accepted a pass on the halfway line, surged towards the Vale penalty area and curled a superb 18 yard shot into the corner of the net.
It was no more than Posh deserved at that point. Manager Grant McCann reacted to the MK Dons’ debacle by making five changes, only two of which were forced on him.
Craig Mackail-Smith was deployed as a lone, central striker with Nichols and Maddison offering support just behind him. Debutant Anthony Grant fitted seemlessly into a defensive midfield position and all the best passing moves belonged to Posh who should have made it 2-0 five minutes before the break.
Grant started the move with a pass to Gwion Edwards who fed the over-lapping Jerome-Binnom Williams. He looked odds on to shoot, but instead slipped the ball perfectly back to Nichols who managed to slice the ball sideways.
Vale improved as the half wore on, winning a succession of free kicks, but all were defended well until added time when Posh ‘keeper Luke McGee had to tip over a close range header from Nathan Smith.
Vale exterted heavy pressure for a 20-minute spell in the second-half, but the Posh back four were so good, McGee did not have a single save to make.
Indeed Posh had the best chances despite playing exclusively on the break with Mackail-Smith missing a glorious chance to claim the 100th Posh goal of his career following a fine one-two with Nichols.
Morias replaced Mackail-Smith with five minutes to go and his impact was immediate with two goals in added time.
He first accepted a loose ball in the penalty area after Nichols had charged down an attempted clearance, worked a shooting opportunity and smashed home.
And then he took Maddison’s pass and somehow squezzed his shot past Fasan.
It was a flattering final scoreline, but the Posh passion and fight returned to devastating effect.
Posh: Luke McGee, Michael Smith, Jerome Binnom-Williams, Dominic Ball, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Grant, Leo Da Silva Lopes (sub Brad Inman, 61 mins), Gwion Edwards (sub Martin Samuelsen, 86 mins), Marcus Maddison, Craig Mackail-Smith (sub Junior Morias, 82 mins), Tom Nichols. Unused substitutes: Paul Taylor, Lee Angol, Mark Tyler, Andrew Hughes.
Port Vale: Leonardo Fasan, Ben Purkiss, Remie Street, Scott Tanser, Nathan Smith, Callum Guy (sub Danny Pugh, 61 mins), Anthony De Freitas (sub Anton Forrester, 84 mins), Sam Foley, Tyler Walker, Olamide Shadipo (sub Chris Eagles, 71 mins), JJ Hooper. Unused substitutes: Ryan Boot, Rigino Cecilia, Axel Prohouly, Kjell Knops.
Goals: Posh - Maddison (20 mins), Morias (90 + 1 min, 90 + 5 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Da Silva Lopes (foul), Edwards (foul), Nichols (simulation), Morias (over-celebrating his first Football League goal).
Vale - Smith (foul), Pugh (foul).
Referee: Charles Breakspear 7.
Attendance: 4,259 (270 Posh).