A strong goalkeeper has always been vital to the promotion chances of Peterborough United

Peterborough United goalkeeper Christy Pym had enjoyed a decent season, but he’s come under heavy scrutiny in recent games.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:02 pm
Fred Barber.
Fred Barber.

Pym has arguably been at fault for goals in five of the last seven games (Wigan, Burton, Hull, Rochdale and Blackpool) and all of them at crucial stages of a match.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson went out of his way to praise Pym after his clean sheet against Portsmouth last week, while club co-owner Darragh MacAnthony went public with his backing of his goalkeeper after the defensive debacle at Blackpool on Tuesday.

Pym and his defenders have kept 13 clean sheets in 36 matches this season so the goalkeeper is unlikely to retain his ‘golden glove’ title.

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Joe Lewis.

He kept 15 clean sheets in 35 matches last season - the most in the division - but he’s four behind Sunderland’s Lee Burge in the 2021-22 campaign.

More worryingly a Posh defence that hadn’t let three goals in, in a single League One game this season in the first 32 matches has now shipped three goals three times in the last four matches, although playing with 10 men for 50 minutes against League One leaders Hull City is mitigation of sorts.

Posh have won eight promotions since joining the Football League in 1960 and a strong goalkeeper was involved each time.

Jack Walls, the goalkeeper in the all-conquering 1960-61 side that blasted their way to the Fourth Division title kept 12 clean sheets in 46 games, no mean achievement for a team who treated defence as an optional extra.

Paul Barber.

Stats don’t always tell the whole story though.

Joe Lewis was the Posh goalkeeper in three promotion seasons under Darren Ferguson, replacing club legend Mark Tyler, himself a promotion-winner with the club in 1999-2000, halfway through the 2007-08 campaign.

Lewis kept 38 clean sheets in 114 appearances in those promotion campaigns, a fine effort considering the gung-ho nature of a lot of the football.

Lewis picked up an injury in the 2010-11 play-offs and was replaced by Paul Jones who kept clean sheets in the semi-final second leg and the final.

Tyler was outstanding in the May, 2000 play-off final win against Darlington at Wembley, one of 13 clean sheets in 35 appearances for the long-serving number one that season.

Paul Bradshaw kept clean sheets in more than 50% of his 39 matches in a Chris Turner inspired promotion season of 1990-91 before he was replaced by Fred Barber (and Ian Bennett ocassionally) for the promotion success the following season.

Barber kept 11 clean sheets in his 39 appearances.

The 1973-74 Fourth Division title-winning side boasted a strong defence. Mick Drewery was the number one for the first 26 matches of that campaign and he kept 11 clean sheets which included a club record six in a row.

Eric Steele replaced Drewery for the final 20 matches and kept an impressive 12 clean sheets.