LIVE: Full-time: Bristol Rovers 0, Peterborough United 0: Posh up to second after great Pym save at the death
Peterborough United survived a late scare to claim a decent point from a goalless draw at League One promotion rivals Bristol Rovers today (December 21).
The point was enough to take Posh into an automatic promotion place as Ipswich Town were beaten at Portsmouth.
Posh defended strongly throughout a competitive game, but had goalkeeper Christy Pym to thank for preservering a clean sheet after Niall Mason’s mistake led to home skipper Ollie Clarke bearing down on goal.
His shot was fierce, but Pym made the save with his legs. It was only good opportunity Rovers created after Frankie Kent and Rhys Bennett had made terrific blocks to keep out Ed Upson shots earlier in the half.
Defeat would have been harsh on Posh who looked the slicker side in possession, but they failed to create enough clearcut chances. Ivan Toney missed the best opportunity when he placed a free header from Louis Reed’s corner wide of the upright.
Mo Eisa was denied his goal on the hour by a fine save from home goalkeeper Anssi Jaakola after a fine turn and shot following Joe Ward’s cross.
The Posh attack became more threatening when teenager Ricky-Jade Jones replaced Eisa for the final quarter.
There was nothing between two top-four sides in a goalless first-half at the Memorial Stadium.
Posh enjoyed some bright attacking moments in the opening 25 minutes, but Rovers shaded possession without creating a clearcut chance against a defence featuring Bennett in place of injured skipper Mark Beevers.
Posh did have the ball in the back of the net in the 15th minute after Jaakkola spilled a Ward shot. Eisa converted the loose ball, but the assistant referee flagged for offside.
Eisa’s cross 10 minutes later looked certain to be bundled home by strike partner Ivan Toney, but Rovers defender Rollin Menaeyse made a timely tackle.
Marcus Maddison then shot wide from 20 yards. He found lots of space in that opening period and a superb early cross found Toney who failed to control the ball which ran through to Jaakkola.
Rovers enjoyed good spells of possession, but Posh defended stoutly with Bennett and Mason blocking shots from Tyler Smith.
Posh suffered another injury blow ahead of the game.
Captain Mark Beevers has a calf injury and was replaced by Bennett. It’s the first League One match Beevers has missed this season.
As expected Maddison and Mason replaced Serhat Tasdemir (on the bench) and Nathan Thompson (injured) from the team that started last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bolton.
The Posh substitutes’ bench is six teenagers plus goalkeeper Conor O’Malley.
Rovers’ top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris is on the substitutes bench, while former Posh right-back Mark Little misses out through injury.
Posh: Christy Pym, Niall Mason, Rhys Bennett, Frankie Kent, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed, Joe Ward, Dan Butler, Marcus Maddison (sub Serhat Tasdemir, 90 + 3 mins), Ivan Toney, Mo Eisa (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 68 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Harrison Burrows, Kyle Barker, Bobby Copping, Sam Cartwright.
Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola, Tony Craig, Luke Leahy, Rollin Menaeyse, Alex Rodman, Liam Sercombe, Ed Upson, Alfie Kilgour, Ollie Clarke, Tyler Smith (sub Jonson Clarke-Harris, 66 mins), Tom Nichols (sub Victor Adeboyejo, 83 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jordi Van Stappeershof, , Michael Kelly, Kyle Bennett, Lucas Tomlinson, Cameron Hargreaves.
Cautions: Posh - Butler (foul).
Rovers - Kilgour (foul), Clarke (foul).
Referee: John Busby 7
Attendance: 8,030 (352 Posh)