Dembele dazzles and Ward strikes twice as Peterborough United cruise to Stamford success
If Peterborough United’s plan was to enjoy some morale-boosting big wins before the serious stuff starts then it’s mission accomplished.
Posh followed an 8-0 weekend romp at Bedford Town with a 4-0 success at Stamford AFC tonight (July 13). This was altogether a more strenuous test, but Posh still looked several classes above the Daniels, which of course they are. There’s five leagues difference between the club’s in the football ladder.
A lovely evening at a lovely Zeeco Stadium, as well as warm sunshine, greeted the teams. An enthusiastic Covid restricted capacity crowd of 900 also helped to lift the mood.
Two goals from Joe Ward after first-half strikes from Sammie Szmodics and Siriki Dembele (from the penalty spot) confirmed a comfortable Posh victory.
As you’d expect Posh dominated from the off with Dembele right up for the contest. One assumes scouts wouldn’t bother watching a transfer listed star in this sort of fixture so it was encouraging to see him so obviously motivated.
Dembele was too quick and too skilful for the home defence. He played Szmodics through in the eighth minute, but the forward delayed his shot allowing a defender to block.
Dembele then saw a fine shot tipped over by impressive young Daniels goalkeeper Max Peverell before the wing wizard sent Szmodics scurrying through again. This was a much easier chance as there was time and space aplenty, but Szmodics placed his shot wide.
Stamford battled hard, but finally succumbed to the pressure in the 30th minute when Szmodics turned home a low cross from Ryan Broom with a first-time left foot strike and four minutes later it was 2-0 with Dembele taking a penalty Marcus Rashford style, but his stuttering run up was followed by a fierce, on-target strike that Peverell almost saved.
The Posh team altered completely again at the break, but the flow of the game stayed the same. Harrison Burrows saw a 25 yard strike shave the crossbar before Mo Eisa made a hash of a one-on-one. Eisa’s free kick was pushed away by Peverell.
It took a while to break through again, but two finishes in four minutes from Joe Ward lit up what had been a drab second-half. His first on 70 minutes was powered across Peverell into the corner following a Nathan Thompson flick and his second was blasted into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Eisa set that goal up.
It should have been 5-0 eight minutes from time as Peterborough’s Football League referee Neil Hair awarded Posh a second spotkick, this one for a foul on Idris Kanu. Peverell saved Jorge Grant’s penalty to cap a fine personal display,
Burrows came close a couple of times from the edge of the area and Ward was denied a hat-trick by an excellent defensive block before time was called.
Job done. It’s Chelsea away next which could just be a tougher test.
Posh first half: Cornell, Butler, Kent, Knight, Edwards, Broom, Barker, Taylor, Szmodics, Dembele, Jones.
Posh second half: Pym, Ward, Thompson, Beevers, Fernandez, Powell, Kanu, Grant, Hamilton, Burrows, Eisa.
Stamford: Peverell, Burgess, Trialist, Armstrong, Trialist, Blunden, Chitiza, Vince, Siddons, Hicks, Johnson. Subs used: Wright, Butterworth, Da Silva.
Goals: Posh - Szmodics (30 mins), Dembele (34 mins, pen), Ward (70 mins & 74 mins),
Referee: Neil Hair