LIVE: FULL-TIME: Peterborough United 4, Southend United 0: Posh woke up in the second-half to thrash strugglers and move up to second
Peterborough United woke up in the second-half to hammer lowly Southend United 4-0 at the Weston Homes Stadium tonight (February 11) to move up to second in League One.
It’s six wins in a row for Posh, but this one came at a cost as Ivan Toney, who netted twice to make it 25 goals for the season, picked up his 10th caution of the campaign and will now be suspended for two matches.
Siriki Dembele, with his third goal in three games, and Jack Taylor scored the other goals, all four arriving in the second-half after a poor first-half effort. Twenty goals have been scored in those six wins.
It was 0-0 at the break, but top scorer Toney compounded a poor team display by picking up another silly yellow card.
Add to that Sammie Szmodics limping through the half after picking up an early knock - he was eventually taken off early in the second-half - and Posh were facing an uphill struggle against a team fielding three teenage full debutants.
Southend’s tactics were simple and yet effective. They broke play up with tactical fouls, wasted time at every opportunity and took full advantage of a lenient refereeing display from Carl Boyeson who preferred to warn rather than take action.
Posh started brightly but once Dan Butler fizzed across the six yard box and Toney had sidefooted Niall Mason’s fine pass wide in the opening 10 minutes they disappeared as an attacking force.
Southend had little to offer going forward, but visibly grew in confidence, winning a few corners and pressing Posh on a London Road pitch that is showing signs of wear and tear.
And the moment Posh had been dreading arrived just before the break when Toney apparently caught Jason Demetrieu well after the ball had gone. League One’s top scorer presumably acted out of frustration, but it was a silly act that could cost Posh dear in the future.
Posh had announced their first team changes for six matches as Rhys Bennett and Mason replaced unavailable defenders Nathan Thompson and Frankie Kent.
Toney missed a great chance at the start of the second half when getting no power on Butler’s free kick enabled visiting ‘keeper Mark Oxley to make an easy save.
And then came a dramatic 60 seconds when Southend hit the post with a 20 yard strike from Mark Milligan that took a generous deflection on its way to goal before Posh did take the lead through Sirike Dembele in the 50th minute.
Reece Brown started the move with a fine pass to Joe Ward. Ward fed Dembele and the finish was crisp.
Southend threatened again with a 20 yard strike from Matt Rush that whistled past a post before Posh extended their lead in the 58th minute.
Dembele and Toney were both involved before the ball was lashed home in terrific fashion from the edge of the area by Taylor.
That knocked the stuffing out of Southend and prompted Toney to make up for his daft caution. A Taylor shot landed at the big man’s feet and he showed great poise to take the ball around the keeper to slot home in the 70th minute.
And four minutes later Toney steered home a superb header from Butler’s corner.
Posh dominated the rest of the game and substitute George Boyd came close to claiming his first goal in this spell, but was denied by a fine block
Posh: Christy Pym, Rhys Bennett, Mark Beevers, Niall Mason, Joe Ward, Dan Butler, Jack Taylor, Reece Brown (sub Josh Knight 60 mins), Sammie Szmodics (sub George Boyd, 60 mins), Ivan Toney (sub Mo Eisa, 76 mins), Siriki Dembele.
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Louis Reed, Ricky-Jade Jones.
Southend: Mark Oxley. Elvis Bwomono, Tim Dieng, Jason Demetriou, Mark Milligan, Tom Clifford, Terrell Egbri, Sam Mantom (sub Charlie Kelman, 67 mins), Matt Rush (sub Emile Acquah, 67 mins), Miles Mitchell-Nelson, Stephen McLaughlin.
Unused substitutes: Callum Taylor, Brandon Goodship, Isaac Hutchinson, Eren Kinali, Kenny Coker.
Goals: Posh - Dembele (50 mins), Taylor (58 mins), Toney (70 mins & 74 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Toney (foul).
Southend - McLaughlin (foul), Mantom (delaying the restart), Bwomono (dissent), Milligan (foul), Demetriou (foul).
Referee: Carl Boyeson 5
Attendance: 5,036 (224 Southend).