Evans delight as Peterborough United players pass every opening day challenge

Peterborough United manager Steve Evans was delighted with his players for overcoming all sorts of challenges to pick up a 2-1 victory in the opening League One game of the season against Bristol Rovers at the ABAX Stadium today (August 4).

Sunday, 5th August 2018, 8:31 am
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:16 pm
Peterborough United Manager Steve Evans issues instructions from the touchline alongside Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com..

First-half goals from Matt Godden - after just 59 seconds - and Mark O’Hara delivered victory despite a flat second-half display which climaxed in a last-minute goal for the visitors,

Evans gave 11 players Football League debuts today - nine from the start of the match - in sweltering heat.

“That’s a good win for all sorts of reasons,” Evans announced. “There is always a mixed bag of results on the opening day of the season so considering we started with nine debutants and we were playing in 90 degrees of heat I have to be very proud of the way we played. There were lots of challenges thrown at us, but we coped with everything.

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Posh full-back Jason Naismith in action against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com..

“The second-half was slighty disappointing, but that’s the inconsistency that comes from a new group of players. It’s a shame we didn’t keep the clean sheet, but if the opposition are going to score a goal I’m happy for it to be with 40 seconds to go when we are leading 2-0.

“We approached the game really well and we were terrific in the first-half. Obviously the start was fantastic, but we kept it up for the whole half. We were very dominant and I said at half-time go out and score the next goal and we might get five or six.

“It didn’t happen because we delivered some sloppy passes and made some poor decisions, while Rovers showed some good technical quality in keeping the ball so well.

“They played five in midfield against our four and maybe I should have changed it earlier, but we are on a 46-game journey and after one stop we have as many points as it’s possible to get so I’m very pleased.

Posh substitute Callum Cooke skips past Ed Upson of Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com..

“There were some outstanding individual efforts. Mark O’Hara ran nine kilometres in the first-half alone which is a staggering number in that heat and our front two, Godden and Jason Cummings were unplayable in the opening 30 minutes.

“It was pleasing to score from two crosses delivered by full-backs happy to push high up the pitch as that might not have happened much in the last four years, but the effort the lads put in, in such difficult conditions was special.

“If they play with that level of pride and commitment they will always be defended by me and my management team.”

Evans confirmed Posh are seeking a centre-back and a striker before the transfer window closes on August 9.