MATCH COMMENT: Time for the real Peterborough United to stand up
Can the real Peterborough United please stand up.
How the same team can lose so disappointingly to lowly Oldham and Gillingham then fight its way to victory against the runaway top two in the division must be mystifying to all those charged with a promotion push at the ABAX this season.
It is a problem which Grant McCann - a man who fortunately has enough hair that he can tear a few pieces out without risking baldness - admitted had left him mightily frustrated after watching Posh end league leaders Shrewsbury Town's unbeaten 15 match run to start the season.
The win was Posh's first in six.
McCann said after the match: “I’m hurting to be honest with you. We know we can beat the best, now we need to find the solutions to the lesser teams in the league who come here.
“We need to find that level of attitude and commitment. We are searching for it, working hard and trying different things in training and on match day to try and find that solution.”
Posh's problem is summed up best by match-winner Marcus Maddison, a talent who should be playing at a higher level but who leaves his manager feeling like there is more to come.
Perhaps the answer is to swear more at Maddison as Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst allegedly did, prompting the forward to belt one in from 40 yards.
Maddison said Hurst was unhappy with his reaction to a challenge a few minutes earlier, but very rarely can a response to a bit of sledging have been quite as impressive as Maddison's swerving shot from the left wing, a strike which immediately had many observers calling for the goal of the season award to end right there.
Maddison's 14th minute strike aside, this was a match where Posh had to show fight and determination to earn an important three points against a Shrewsbury side which is strong defensively but posed little threat going forward.
It was only as the match approached its conclusion did it begin to open up, a situation not helped by eight yellow cards being dished out.
Jack Marriott and Gwion Edwards, starting in a new role behind the front two, both had chances to kill the game, before a backs to the wall defensive effort during eight minutes of stoppage time defied a late Shrewsbury surge.
Posh goalkeeper Jonathan Bond had to save Alex Rodman’s 25 yard drive, then Edwards cleared off the line from substitute Lenell John-Lewis’ header.
Bond also made a good diving save to divert a Carlton Morris header in the first-half, but that was as close as the visitors came to scoring and preserving their unbeaten record.
A three man Posh defence, with Steven Taylor moved to the centre and Jack Baldwin to the right, and with Anthony Grant and Michael Doughty providing a strong shield, held on for the three points, unlike a week ago at Scunthorpe where a one-nil lead was overturned late on.
Next up in the league for Posh - who are back up to eighth and one point off the play-offs - is a trip to struggling AFC Wimbledon two weeks today (Sunday, November 12).
The question is which Posh will show up?
Posh: (3-4-1-2): Jonathan Bond, Steven Taylor, Jack Baldwin, Ryan Tafazolli, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Anthony Grant, Michael Doughty, Andrew Hughes, Gwion Edwards, Jack Marriott (sub Idris Kanu 90+5 mins), Marcus Maddison (sub Jermaine Anderson 80 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Liam Shephard, Ricky Miller, Danny Lloyd, Callum Chettle.
Shrewsbury: (4-2-3-1) Dean Henderson, James Bolton (sub Bryn Morris 70 mins), Aristote Nsiala, Omar Beckles, Joe Riley (sub Stefan Payne 70 mins), Ben Godfrey (sub Lenell John-Lewis 86 mins), Abu Ogogo, Shaun Whalley, Jon Nolan, Alex Rodman, Carlton Morris.
Unused substitutes: Craig MacGillivray, Arthur Gnahoua, Ebou Adams, Christos Shelis.
Posh - Maddison (14 mins)
Posh - Maddison (deliberate handball), Edwards (foul), Grant (foul), Tafazolli (foul)
Shrewsbury - Whalley (foul), Nolan (foul), Ogogo (foul), Godfrey (dissent)
Referee: David Webb 6
Attendance: 5,606 (622 Shrewsbury)