POSH PLAYER VERDICTS: Baldwin’s return is like having a new million-pound defender in the side

Man-of-the-match Jack Baldwin in action for Posh against Preston. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Man-of-the-match Jack Baldwin in action for Posh against Preston. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Peterborough United centre-back Jack Baldwin caught the eye in a terrific 2-0 FA Cup win over Championship side Preston at the ABAX Stadium today (January 9).

Following a serious knee injury, Baldwin started his first game since November 1, 2014 at Sheffield United last weekend (January 2).

Posh goalkeeper Ben Alnwick claims a Preston cross. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh goalkeeper Ben Alnwick claims a Preston cross. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

He was good then, but he was outstanding today as were several other Posh players as they booked a place in the fourth round for the first time since 2008.

Ben Alnwick: He is a very calming presence behind a back four that can take a few chances. I love the way he is willing to come and catch crosses and so completely take the pressure off his defenders. Little direct shooting to deal with, but he looks in very confident form 7

Michael Smith: A terrific cross for the game-sealing second goal capped a superb display by the Northern Irishman. He must be supremely fit to cover the amount of ground he does up and down the right flank, but he is also a a skilled attacker and very reliable defender. Impressive 8

Lawrie Wilson: He’s playing on the wrong side of the defence, but he won’t get a game at right-back while Smith continues in such great form. He was occasionally caught out by an unwilligness to use his left foot in defensive situations, but he was never exposed by an opponent trying to take him on. His experience could be vital in the coming weeks 6

Martin Samuelsen (hidden) is mobbed by his Posh team-mates after scoring the opening goal against Preston. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Martin Samuelsen (hidden) is mobbed by his Posh team-mates after scoring the opening goal against Preston. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Ricardo Santos: Let Eoin Doyle get behind him in the early stages and made a couple of other mis-judgements when opponents were running off him. At his best when allowed to stay central and concentrate on clearing the ball. Plays with a big heart and he’s no mug when delivering the long pass 6

Jack Baldwin: A superb performance. You wouldn’t know he’d been out of action with a serious injury for 14 months as he flings himself into headers and tears into tackles. He is the equivalent of a big-money January signing. A strong defender who is good on the ball and an accurate passer 9

Chris Forrester: Playing to a consistently high level. Coped admirably when Preston upped the tempo and the pressure when he was in possession. Perfect control and outstanding vision means he very rarely loses the ball. A big helping hand in the second goal as he fed Smith who then set up Washington for a great team strike 8

Harry Beautyman: Close to scoring early on which would have been a rich reward for his hard-running and movement. Not one of those who catches the eye with the quality of his passing or when running with the ball, but a very useful team player 7

Erhun Oztumer: Saw a lot of the ball early on as Preston sat off and watched Posh pass it around. No sign of his traditional killer ball or vision, but he was a big part of Posh controlling the ball for long periods 7

Martin Samuelsen: Excellent first-half and a superb strike for the crucial opening goal. Some of his ball control and trickery before the break was a joy to watch. He sucks defenders in and strolls past them. Looked like he tired after the break, but he’s some prospect 8

Lee Angol: He takes some of the pressure off Washington as he happily gets involved in the aerial duels and physical contests. Shows flashes of skill which will become more regular the more he plays. Could do with a goal as team will need him if they lose Washington. Crowd appreciative of his efforts when he was substituted 7

Conor Washington: His price tag has probably increased by another million after another quality goal, this time with his head. There were times when he didn’t see an awful lot of the ball, but he was always on the move and available for a team-mate. Top effort considering he must be well aware of the transfer speculation currently surrounding him 7

Substitutes:

Souleymane Coulibaly: (for Angol, 72 mins)

Marcus Maddison: (for Oztumer, 72 mins)

Harry Anderson: (not used).

Andrew Fox: (for Samuelsen, 90 mins)

Miles Addison: (not used).

Dion-Curtis Henry: (not used).

Jordan Nicholson: (not used).