ALAN SWANN’S Peterborough United comment: In-form Darren Ferguson was both right and wrong at Hull as fortune smiled on his team, an eye-catching substitution, the rise and rise of Joe Ward and why political incompetence and scientific scaremongering is spoiling the season

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson was right to hail a fantastic result at the end of a great week, but wrong to claim his side deserved their 2-1 victory at Hull City yesterday (October 24).

By Alan Swann
Sunday, 25th October 2020, 7:24 am
Siriki Dembele of Peterborough United celebrates scoring his goal against Hull City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com/
Siriki Dembele of Peterborough United celebrates scoring his goal against Hull City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com/

If guts, character and sheer bloody-mindedness count for anything the Posh boss had a point as his team displayed those attributes in abundance at the KCOM Stadium.

But the match facts told a different story. Posh were so lacklustre going forward for most of the match they didn’t win a single corner or force Hull ‘keeper Matt Ingram into a single save.

So when you score from both of your only two shots on target in the whole match and the winner enters the net courtesy of a giant deflection it’s probably safe to safe fortune has smiled on you.

Jonson Clarke-Harris of Peterborough United celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Hull. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Hull weren’t exactly prolific either. It wasn’t exactly the Alamo. But the Tigers were the better side in the first-half and deserved their interval lead, and generated enough pressure in the final quarter of the match to be worthy of bagging a second goal of their own.

It was a surprise that McCann didn’t spend more time bemoaning his side’s misfortune than he actually did after the game, but he will be conscious that the only two serious top six contenders Hull have faced in a friendly start to the season have beaten them.

Posh on the other can look forward with optimism after emerging from a tough-looking start to the League One campaign in second place. Wins at home against rock bottom Burton on Tuesday (October 27) and struggling Shrewsbury (October 31) would probably see them go top as current leaders Lincoln have tricky awaydays at Crewe and Doncaster on those dates.

Other things we learnt from yesterday’s game...

Ryan Broom of Peterborough United takes on Callum Elder of Hull City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

1) Posh have won five League One games in a row without yet catching fire going forward. That should be a scary proposition for the rest of the division.

That’s not to say Jonson Clarke-Harris, Siriki Dembele, Sammie Szmodics and Ryan Broom haven’t enjoyed some excellent individual moments as they all have, but there hasn’t been much scintillating link-up play between them. That will surely change.

I am already a big fan of Clarke-Harris who had mammoth shoes to fill, but is doing a grand job without reaching Ivan Toney levels of excellence. He’s a powerful man who occupies defenders which in theory should be a great help to the team’s more athletic attackers.

It’s also worth remembering that Toney took an entire season before he turned into a top-class striker at London Road.

What we are seeing from Posh currently are high levels of cussedness and determination, plus first-rate defensive organisation and some top goalkeeping. That is a fine base to work from

2) Until a frantic final quarter it was a poor game yesterday between two sides who played carefully in the main. Ferguson had hinted pre-match he wasn’t going to play too open and so it proved. It’s tough to weigh Hull up on the evidence of this one match. They were efficient without being spectacular. It wasn’t hard to see why they have struggled past weaker opposition than Posh this season, but they really should be play-off contenders. It will be interesting to see how they and McCann respond to this setback.

3) Twice in the last five games Ferguson has responded to a poor performance by changing formation mid-match and twice Posh have come from behind to win, at home to Swindon and yesterday. Ferguson is in decent form. His substitutions have usually also made an impact, including the tactical one he made in the first half at Wigan last Tuesday.

4) Ferguson’s 51st minute substitution yesterday raised a few eyebrows, well mine anway. To take off a major summer signing in Ryan Broom and replace him with a 17 year-old in Flynn Clarke with your side 1-0 down to the team on top of the table was a brave call and proof of how highly regarded the teenage ‘number 10’ is rated by the Posh coaching staff. It was also another statement from Ferguson that no first-teamer is guaranteed action - it has to be earnt and then form must be maintained.

5) Joe Ward has been one of the more unheralded members of the Posh squad since he pitched up at the club in January, 2018. He has always delivered some memorable moments and goals, but there always seemed to be something holding him back, possibly a lack of self confidence. Not any more, two goal assists yesterday took him to the top of the BBC goal-creating charts in League One with five, His cross for Clarke-Harris’s goal at Hull was a thing of beauty, but his assist on the Dembele goal was even better as he showed skill and pace, as well as great vision to pick out the scorer on the edge of the area.

6) Posh have now visited three top-class stadia by League One standards in Sunderland, Wigan and Hull City this season and these vast grounds are sad sights with no fans. Hull had supporters on the premises yesterday, but like at Posh the previous weekend, they weren’t allowed to venture out into the fresh air to watch a top-of-the-table clash. The KCOM Stadium holds in excess of 25,000 fans and you will never convince me they couldn’t get 5,000 or so fans into the ground safely social-distanced. The UK has lost the plot big-time thanks to political incompetence and scientific scaremongering.

Posh fans would have travelled in big numbers to Sunderland and Hull and I feel for them, but at least they have had wins to console them in recent weeks.