DONCASTER ROVERS 1, PETERBOROUGH UNITED 4: Blistering first-half display from a much-changed side enables Posh to end a glorious season in style
A glorious Posh season ended in superb style as a much-changed, and very young side, romped to a 4-1 win at Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium today (May 9).
Posh made nine changes to their starting line-up, left 62 goals out of the squad altogether, and still raced into a four-goal half-time lead thanks to some breathtakingly good football.
Mo Eisa – with the team’s 100th goal in all competitions - Niall Mason, Idris Kanu and Ricky-Jade Jones scored the goals which confirmed Posh as top scorers in the division, three more than champions Hull City.
Posh couldn’t keep the pace up in the second-half, but manager Darren Ferguson was still able to send youth teams players Charlie O’Connell and Adler Nascimento on their for debuts along with Academy graduate goalkeeper Will Blackmore before the home side pulled a goal back in the 92nd minute through Tyreece John-Jules
With promotion already in the bag only Joe Ward and Frankie Kent survived from the starting line-up from the remarkable game with Lincoln. The big three free-scoring forwards - Jonson Clarke-Harris, Sammie Szmodics and Siriki Dembele - were not even in the squad.
Instead Ferguson paired Kanu and Jones up front with Eisa just behind them. Posh started with three at the back with teenager Ronnie Edwards in between Mason and Frankie Kent.
And if anyone claims they saw this first-half coming against a bogey team who ought to have been highly motivated to wave long-serving club legend Coppinger on his way, they’d be fibbing.
Posh were simply sensational. They were quick, mobile, passed well, pressed impressively and ran all over opponents who were surprisinglyaccommodating, but even so it was stirring stuff.
In the first minute Jones almost got on the end of a low Kanu cross and in the third minute Ethan Hamilton’s stinging 20-yarder was well saved by Louis Jones.
It wasn’t just a flash-in-the-pan start Posh were ahead in the sixth minute, 2-0 up after eight minutes, 3-0 ahead in 15 minutes and the outstanding Jones made it 4-0 five minutes before the break with his first Football League goal of his career.
Eisa smashed home the stunning opener from 25 yards - a fitting milestone goal - before Niall Mason, against his former club, nodded home a Ward free kick from close range.
Kanu powered home a Harrison Burrows cross for 3-0 and Jones delivered a superb finish after collecting a Louis Reed pass for his memorable moment.
Other chances came and went with Kanu, Eisa and Hamilton close to adding further goals.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic as fit-again goalkeeper Christy Pym made two fine stops to keep out Tyreece John-Jules and Reece James.
Doncaster boss Andy Butler withdrew himself from the fray at the break and there were groans from the home camp when a superb 25-yard free kick from Coppinger rattled the crossbar in his 695th and final game for the club.
And the hosts struck the bar again just before the hour mark when Pym got enough on substitute Josh Sims’ close-range shot.
Coppinger also headed wide as Doncaster started playing for pride against a Posh side who understandably couldn’t keep up their blistering first-half pace.
There was though a promising first glimpse of forward Nascimento who is not yet 17. He, the superb Edwards and the speedy Jones offer plenty of hope for the future.
Posh: Christy Pym (sub Will Blackmore, 82 mins), Harrison Burrows , Frankie Kent (sub Adler Nascimento, 74 mins), Ronnie Edwards, Niall Mason, Joe Ward (sub Frazer Blake-Tracy, 67 mins), Louis Reed (sub Kyle Barker, 82 mins), Ethan Hamilton, Mo Eisa, Idris Kanu, Ricky-Jade Jones (sub Charlie O’Connell 82 mins)
Unused subs: Nathan Thompson, Mark Beevers
Doncaster: Louis Jones, Branden Horton, Andy Butler (sub Ben Blyth, 46 mins), Tom Anderson, Joe Wright (sub Brad Halliday, 28 mins), James Coppinger (sub Ed Williams, 81 mins), Reece James, Matt Smith, AJ Greaves (sub Josh Sims, 46 mins), Tyreece John-Jules, Omar Bogle (sub Madger Gomes, 71 mins).
Unused subs: Ben Bottomley, Brad Halliday, Danny Amos, Josh Sims, Ben Blythe.
Goals: Posh - Eisa (6 mins), Mason (8 mins), Kanu (16 mins), Jones (40 mins).
Doncaster – John-Jules (90 + 2 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Hamilton (foul).
Referee: Peter Wright 8