CHARLTON ATHLETIC 0, PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1: Posh are on the verge of the Championship after another Clarke-Harris goal and a superb penalty save delivers victory at Charlton

Peterborough United are on the verge of promotion from League One after a superb 1-0 win at Charlton Athletic today (April 24).

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 5:21 pm
Sammie Szmodics of Peterborough United in action against Adam Matthews of Charlton Athletic. Photo: Joe Dent/

An early goal from prolific striker Jonson Clarke-Harris and a stunning penalty save from on-loan goalkeeper Josef Bursik delivered a hard fought win.

And the results at Lincoln and Sunderland mean Posh will return to the Championship with a win over Doncaster at the Weston Homes Stadium on Tuesday (April 27).

Posh boss Darren Ferguson opted for Ethan Hamilton’s power over Louis Reed’s poise as injury victim Reece Brown’s midfield replacement.

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Ex-Posh star Conor Washington started on the substitutes’ bench for a Charlton side protecting a 10-game unbeaten run.

Ferguson had urged his side to start better and they responded. In the third minute Sammie Szmodics saw a shot blocked after good work from Jack Taylor and Joe Ward.

Siriki Dembele then saw a shot from the edge of the area saved comfortably, but Posh were not to be denied for long.

There were just nine minutes on the clock when Frankie Kent’s fine pass picked out Szmodics. He laid the ball off to Clarke-Harris who took aim with his trusty left-foot from the edge of the area and found the bottom corner.

Szmodics was then denied by fine defending and on 18 minutes he really should have made it 2-0. Kent was again the provider to find Szmodics behind the home defence and with plenty of time. He went for the sidefoot, but Charlton ‘keeper Ben Amos made the save.

That miss seemed to galvanise Charlton who started to dominate the ball. Bursik had to race off his line to deny Liam Miller after a Taylor error, but the number one made an even greater impact just past the half hour mark.

The Posh passing had become increasingly sloppy and when Dembele gave the ball away Alex Gilbey was able to scamper into the area and draw a foul from Kent. A harsh decision was the verdict from the visiting camp (and it certainly looked like a dive on first viewing), but no matter as Bursik dived thrillingly to his right to keep out Jayden Stockley’s fierce strike.

Forster-Caskey shot over just a minute later and Charlton kept the pressure on until the half-time whistle when a succession of free kicks and crosses kept the Posh defence on their toes.

At the start of the second-half a neat Szmodics flick sent Ward into the area, but he was brushed aside before Charlton gained control again.

Stockley sent a neat header just over the crossbar and a superb run from Alex Gilbey and an accurate shot required some smart handling from Bursik.

Posh struggled to retain possession, but when they did they created a great 61st minute opportunity as Dembele’s fine pass sent Szmodics through. Goalkeeper Amos rushed out and Szmodics skied his shot wide.

On loan Liverpool winger Liam Miller was the Charlton threat down the left and Thompson was taken off 20 minutes from time to ensure he couldn’t get sent off after a first half caution. Niall Mason deputised impressively.

Miller set up a Forster-Caskey shot that was deflected just wide by substitute Reed. The excellent Frankie Kent was next to divert a shot wide, but it was all coming from outside the penalty area as Posh defended the box superbly even when Chuks Aneke was sent on to join Stockley in an all power forward line.

Posh almost grabbed a second in injury time after some fine pressing from Ward. Clarke-Harris pounced to lob Amos, but Szmodics could only volley against a post.

It didn’t matter as the final whistle was soon blown to spark joyous scenes in the visiting camp, and in the press box.

Posh: Josef Bursik, Dan Butler, Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Nathan Thompson (sub Niall Mason, 72 mins), Joe Ward, Ethan Hamilton (sub Louis Reed, 68 mins), Jack Taylor, Siriki Dembele (sub Harrison Burrows, 87 mins), Sammie Szmodics, Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Unused subs: Dan Gyollai, Mo Eisa, Ricky-Jade Jones, Idris Kanu..

Charlton: Ben Amos, Ben Purrington, Jason, Pearce, Ryan Inniss (sub Akim Famewo, 84 mins), Adam Matthews, Alex Gilbey (sub Chuks Aneke, 77 mins), Jake Forster-Caskey, Ben Watson, Diallang Jaiyasimi (sub Albie Morgan, 24 mins, sub Conor Washington, 84 mins), Liam Millar, Jayden Stockley.

Unused subs: Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Chris Gunter, Darren Pratley.

Goals: Posh - Clarke-Harris (9 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Thompson (foul).

Charlton - Gilbey (foul).

Referee: Keith Stroud 7.