ALAN SWANN’s talking points from Posh 2, QPR 1: The two-faced Peterborough United side suddenly heading in the right direction, no room for JCH, Kanu’s impressive comeback, two outstanding teenagers, praise for Fergie and Freddie Hill would have loved the performance

Peterborough United are currently operating two teams, albeit with pretty much the same players.

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 6:43 am
Siriki Dembele of Peterborough United scores the winning goal against Queens Park Rangers. Photo: Joe Dent/

The men that run out at the Weston Homes Stadium play fast and attractively, while also defending with spirit and determination. The team who play away from London Road are often tentative going forward and leak goals for fun.

Even the one win on the road - at struggling Hull City - didn’t arrive courtesy of much flowing football as a horrible penalty miss and two admittedly outstanding goals sealed the points.

But the importance of that scrambled success shouldn’t be underestimated. Leaving the bottom three no doubt acted as a catalyst for another cracking home display, one that yielded three points after a breathtaking second-half when both sides pushed hard for the win.

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Posh defender Nathan Thompsongets away from Sam McCallum of Queens Park Rangers. Photo: Joe Dent/

On the surface there appears no obvious reason why Posh can’t improve on their travels. The current line-up and formation looks capable of defending well and hitting sides hard on the counter attack, much as they did against QPR. Get that right and those who wrote the team off last weekend will continue to look foolish...


1) Even after the win at Hull I was unsure as to whether or not I’d recall power forward Jonson Clarke-Harris to the starting line-up as soon as he was free of suspension. I’m sure now that it shouldn’t happen, certainly when faced with big, but plodding, centre-backs like those in the QPR side. Siriki Dembele is terrorising some huge blokes with his pace, skill and a much more rounded team-orientated game and Sammie Szmodics’ energy and darting runs behind the defence have caused problems for two games in a row. Ask yourself who Championship defenders would rather face, Dembele or Clarke-Harris and it would surely be the latter? Jorge Grant, who was ill ahead of yesterday’s game, deserves to stay in the side as the number 10 so Clarke-Harris faces a spell on the sidelines. He’s not a bad man to bring on if the first-choice style of play doesn’t work.

2) Posh were happy to let Idris Kanu leave on loan in August. It didn’t happen and that’s looking like a stroke of good fortune for Posh judged on yesterday’s game. I assumed Joe Ward was injured when he wa substituted early in the second-half with Posh a goal down, but no, manager Darren Ferguson confirmed it was a tactical switch. Within two minutes Kanu had played a part in a Posh equaliser for Harrison Burrows and he went on to deliver a dynamic display marred only by missing a glorious chance to fire his side in front. He looks as quick as Ward, but with more strength which is vital in this division. If he can become more consistent in and around the opposition penalty area and he can develop a better positional sense when defending he could become a handy wing-back.

The players of Posh and QPR join in the minute's applause for former Posh star Freddie Hill who passed away earlier this month. Photo: Joe Dent/

3) No less a judge than talkSPORT host Adrian Durham raves about Harrison Burrows, a teenager overlooked slightly given how good an even younger player in Ronnie Edwards has been. I couldn’t see Burrows featuring a great deal at Championship level, but he looks at home. We all rave about how cool Edwards is on the ball, but that calmness is matched by Burrows when he’s faced with a scoring chance. It happened yesterday when he converted the equaliser to claim his third goal of the season (only Dembele has more). He’s been handled well by Ferguson so far this season, but a run in the side as a left-wing back should be his now.

4) Edwards almost cost Posh a goal in the first half yesterday with a casual pass out of defence. His reaction? To keep passing in the same unflappable style without making another error. His defensive work was also much improved. Posh are lucky to have two teenagers with such vast potential.

5) QPR’s intelligent boss Mark Warburton indirectly praised Posh boss Darren Ferguson after yesterday’s game. He complemented Posh on the way they had been set up, mainly stopping QPR from playing through the thirds. Ferguson has had to mature as a coach/manager. Gung-ho football by itself won’t work in the Championship and nor would an ultra-cautious approach. There has be a balance between playing positively without leaving big gaps at the back (which were evident at Hull) and Posh excelled at both aspects yesterday which was most encouraging.

6) It was also pleasing to hear Ferguson refuse to get carried away after two wins on the spin. Posh are still behind where they would have wanted to be after 14 matches and it will still be a long, hard road to safety. Cardiff will probably improve with a change of manager for a start, while a dogged Derby County side are fighting hard against their points deduction so focus must be maintained.

7) Posh remembered former star midfielder Freddie Hill before yesterday’s game. It was a fitting tribute as was the way Posh went on to play. Hill would certainly have enjoyed the way his grandson-in-law Oliver Norburn set up the match-winning goal for Dembele.