ALAN SWANN’S Peterborough United talking points from an awful display against Plymouth: ‘Sure it was bad, but this is the time for cool heads and rational minds rather than knee-jerk nastiness, and who staked a case for a start on Saturday?’

It’s time for cool heads and rational minds at Peterborough United. In the dressing room, the boardroom and even in the spiteful world of social media.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 7:00 am
Posh co-owner Darragh MacAnthony at the game against Plymouth. Photo: David Lowndes.
Posh co-owner Darragh MacAnthony at the game against Plymouth. Photo: David Lowndes.

Two games into a season is no time to write off new players, a four-time promotion-winning manager or a scouting and recruitment system with plenty of credit in the bank.

Yes an aggregate of 0-7 against the teams who finished last season 12th in the Championship and 18th in League One is disturbing, but there are key players to come back from injury, new arrivals are expected to shore up weak areas and anyway Posh lost to Cheltenham and Accrington Stanley in their first two competitive matches last season and yet things turned out okay.

It was a challenge to find three positive sentences after last night’s horror show, but they are always available if you want to look for them.

Joe Ward in action for Posh against Plymouth. Photo: David Lowndes.

It wasn’t so difficult to find negatives to discuss. Losing 4-0 at home to a threadbare Plymouth squad should have taken some doing, but Posh managed it quite comfortably thanks to a listless, unimaginative and apparently under-motivated display.


1) Look the Carabao Cup is an irelevance. Winning last night would just have meant another midweek game in a season already full of them. Best to get out and concentrate on the only thing that really matters, Championship survival. Several Campionship clubs were knocked out by lesser opposition after fielding much-changed teams last night. I get the idea of winning breeding confidence, but Posh boss Darren Ferguson was right to experiment with his team selection. Jonson Clarke-Harris needed protecting and others deserved the chance to show what they could do. Goalkeeper Dai Cornell and newcomer Joel Randall enhanced their chances of starting against Derby on Saturday (I’d pick them both), while Ethan Hamilton, Kwame Poku, Josh Knight the midfielder and Ronnie Edwards most definitely didn’t.

2) He implied the opposite after last night’s game, but surely Ferguson did have an eye on the game against Derby on Saturday when leaving out Sammie Szmodics, Nathan Thompson and Mark Beevers from the matchday squad entirely last night? They are all certain to start against the Rams.

Posh defender Frankie Kent is on his way down in the game against Plymouth. Photo: David Lowndes.

3) I did think Frankie Kent was one who would take the step up in class in his stride this season, but he’s been poor in both games so far. It was interesting to see Kent shifted to the left of a back three last night with Knight starting on the right. Kent might be fortunate Knight only played 30 minutes at the back before moving into an unsuitable midfield role. That might just have kept the former Colchester player in the starting line-up for Saturday, possibly alongside Thompson and Beevers in a back three again.

4) The new defensive midfielder - even if it isn’t Oliver Norburn - needs to be ready to play on Saturday in which a cynic would suggest was an early-season relegation six-pointer. The ease in which Plymouth players approached the edge of the Posh penalty area last night was scary. The visitors scored four, but the ruthless Campionship sides could well score eight if the same number of easy penetrations are allowed. Someone with a bit of nous and a lot of bite needs to be employed to help protect the defence.

5) Good luck to the new Posh set-piece coach. Once more last night Posh looked vulnerable defending them and impotent when attacking from them. Posh tried two short corners early on which fizzled out. They lack presence in both areas. It was no surprise to see Plymouth score from a simple corner routine. Posh need to be more creative from their own set-pieces, but they also need to be stronger and craftier when defending them. Some of these Championship sides are huge and work hard on set-piece goals. It’s hard to see Posh standing up to them in their current state.

6) Fans were back at the Weston Homes Stadium for the first time since December. Of course that’s a good thing, but I haven’t missed the banal, stale chants.