It's fun on the road supporting Peterborough United
Peterborough United might consider launching a season ticket for away games.
Seven wins in eight unbeaten away League One trips - the club’s best run on the road for 10 years - at almost three goals per game is the form of champions never mind play-off contenders.
It’s generally been fun. Of course the pessimists were out in force after a fine 2-1 win at Burton, but their standard whinging on social media was drowned out by the vast majority of the 1,000 or so travelling fans who actually attended the match. Their support was a joy to behold. They are bonding with a team playing with grit, determination and plenty of attacking dash on the break.
Of course Posh are far from perfect. A home goal on the hour to follow Joe Ward and Siriki Dembele goals for Posh prompted manager Steve Evans to rather unnecessarily order all-out defence which invited pressure and almost cost his team second place in the table.
The sight of by then sole striker Ivan Toney on the edge of his own area hoofing the ball to no-one in particular was baffling to behold when the likes of Dembele and Matt Godden had spent the early part of the second-half threatening to run straight past a square and insecure backline. Godden was surprisingly the man to make way for Evans’ early attempt to stiffen up his midfield.
But, as always, the result justified the means and for that Posh were grateful for a rock solid defensive effort and a top goalkeeping display from Aaron Chapman. They were well supported by tenacious midfield displays from Louis Reed and Alex Woodyard as they protected a lead given to them by two fine finishes.
A strong finish prompted Burton boss Nigel Clough to claim Burton were worth a point, while Evans was so giddy after the game he referenced 1950s child TV characters as well as promotion rivals after the match.
“Burton beat Sunderland comfortably here this season,” Evans pointed out. “So of course it’s an excellent win. We showed two sides to our game in the same match and we had to. For an hour we were singing like Pinky and Perky and for the last 30 minutes it was more like Dilly the Daffodil.”
Evans was also keen to highlight how hard it is to win promotion without ability being accompanied by desire and the right attitude. This should make interesting reading for Marcus Maddison, an unused substitute here, a role he might have to get accustomed to if first-choice Ward and Dembele maintain current standards.
Ward’s 30-yard drive on the half hour was well-struck and might have gone in without the aid of a defensive deflection, but his interception and pass to Dembele on 58 minutes was sheer perfection enabling the fastest member of the Posh squad to scoot away to make it 2-0.
It looked like being a comfortable afternoon as Posh had edged the first-half - Godden was most unlucky to see a fierce drive wiped out for the slightest of contacts on his marker - and were dominating the second, but two minutes later the only defensive lapse of the afternoon enabled Burton to strike back.
Chapman pushed a speculative shot to safety, but only home forward Liam Boyce reacted and he teed up Jamie Allen to set up one-way traffic towards the Posh goal. When a backline featuring impressive debutant Tyler Denton at left-back was breached Chapman was there to thwart Boyce and David Templeton.
Denton’s performance, and that of Reed in his first two League One starts, were most encouraging signs of the strength in depth required to maintain a lofty League One position.
Evans, who is 56 on Tuesday, also made two unenforced changes to a winning side to show he’s not afraid of making the big decisions.
He’s also not getting carried away and he won’t necessarily be aware of the start to the 2013-14 League One campaign when Posh had more points on November 1 than they have now and went on to finish sixth.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Tyler Denton, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed, Siriki Dembele (sub Mark O’Hara, 90 + 1 min), Joe Ward, Ivan Toney (sub Jason Cummings, 87 mins), Matt Godden (sub Jamie Walker, 65 mins).
Unused substitutes: Marcus Maddison, Mark Tyler, Darren Lyon, George Cooper.
Burton: Bradley Collins, John Brayford, Jamie Allen, Kyle McFadzean, Reece Hutchinson (sub scott Fraser, 70 mins), Stephen Quinn, Will Miller (sub David Templeton, 63 mins), Jake Hesketh (sub Ben Fox, 83 mins), Liam Boyce, Devante Cole, Lucas Akins.
Unused substitutes: Dimitar Evtimov, Jake Buxton, Joe Sbarra, Elliott Hodge.
Goals: Posh - Ward (30 mins), Dembele (58 mins).
Burton - Allen (60 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Bennett (delaying the restart), Chapman (delaying the restart).
Burton - McFadzean (foul).
Referee: Graham Salisbury 7
Attendance: 3,600 (approx 1,050 Posh).