LIVE: PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2, STEVENAGE 0: Terrific teenager strikes again as Posh ease into round two of the FA Cup
Peterborough United’s precocious 17 year-old Ricky-Jade Jones lit up London Road again as Stevenage were beaten 2-0 in an FA Cup first round replay at the Weston Homes Stadium tonight (November 19).
Jones was sent on as a 70th-minute substitute for Mo Eisa with the game still in the balance and could have ended up with a hat-trick.
Instead he will settle for a terrific left-foot finish in the 94th minute which sealed a second round tie for Posh at home to National League Dover. It’s a second goal in two appearances for Jones since turning pro on his 17th birthday.
Eisa had opened the scoring for Posh in the 11th minute, but it was an unconvincing overall performance against the team bottom of League Two.
Stevenage keeper Paul Farman did make several fine saves, but Posh ‘keeper Christy Pym also made two excellent stops to keep his side in front.
Posh made one change to the side that started the first tie, but it wasn’t the expected one.
Alex Woodyard remained in midfield as Josh Knight remained on the sidelines, but Niall Mason was promoted to play at the base of the midfield diamond as Louis Reed was punished for recent sloppiness.
Stevenage preferred first tie goal scorer Elliott List to former Posh star Craig Mackail-Smith who was left on the substutes’ bench.
Stevenage had slipped to the bottom of the Football League since the first tie.
An early goal was the order of the day for Posh and it duly arrived when Ivan Toney’s chest pass from Mason’s long ball was controlled by Eisa who steered the ball into the corner from 20 yards in the 11th minute.
There was a suspicion Farman should have done better, but he did make an outstanding save to thwart Eisa 15 minutes later after a fine flowing move involving Harrison Burrows and Marcus Maddison. Farman also got down well to beat away a low shot from Maddison.
But that sort of football was a rarity and Stevenage grew in confidence once Burrows, by far the best of the Posh midfielders in the first-half, had skied a Nathan Thompson cross over the bar.
Posh sloppiness in possession was a great help to the visitors who managed three shots at goal from 20 yards in the last five minutes of the half. All of them went wide.
Stevenage also had a first-half penalty claim turned down after Kent’s challenge on List.
Eisa was again denied by Farman at the start of the second-half following a Maddison pass, but Posh soon became lacklustre inviting Stevenage to attack which probably surprised the visitors as much as the home fans.
List forced an excellent save from Christy Pym from 20 yards and Posh boss Darren Ferguson showed his frustration at the flow of the game by sending on rookie Jones in place of Eisa.
And the youngster did liven Posh up as they found space as the visitors started to throw men forward.
Jones missed a tricky volley from a Maddison centre and then should have been found by Toney, but the ball ran to substitute Joe Ward who should have scored, but hit the post.
Stevenage then took over again and Pym came to the rescue with a fine block as List bore down on goal. Mackail-Smith, who had come at the same time as Jones, was denied a goal at the far post by a teammate who got in his way.
Posh did create plenty as the game became stretched with Jones and Toney both denied by Farman in one-on-one situations.
But then in the final minute Toney freed Maddison who unselfishly fed Jones to deliver his dream moment.
Posh: Christy Pym, Nathan Thompson, Dan Butler, Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Niall Mason, Alex Woodyard, Harrison Burrows (sub Joe Ward, 64 mins), Marcus Maddison, Ivan Toney, Mo Eisa (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 69 mins).
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Siriki Dembele, Louis Reed, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Rhys Bennett.
Stevenage: Paul Farman, Chris Stokes, Scott Cuthbert (sub Jason Cowley, 70 mins), Ben Nugent, Tom Soares, Charlie Carter, Emmanuel Sonupe, Luis Fernandez (sub Liam Smyth, 90 mins), Charlie Lakin, Micheal Timlin (sub Craig Mackail-Smith, 70 mins), Elliott List.
Unused substitutes: Sacha Bastein, Arthur Iontton, Jack Smith, Mackye Townsend-West.
Goals: Posh - Eisa (11 mins), Jones (90 + 4 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Toney (unsportsmanlike conduct).
Stevenage - Fernandez (unsportsmanlike conduct).
Referee: Ollie Yates 6
Attendance: 3,593 (375 Stevenage).