LIVE: FULL-TIME: Rotherham United 4, Peterborough United 0: Ten-man Posh battered by physical promotion rivals
Peterborough United suffered self-inflicted wounds as they crashed to a 4-0 League One defeat at promotion rivals Rotherham United today (December 29).
Frankie Kent was sent off early in the second-half after picking up two cautions in five minutes before Dan Butler and Joe Ward both deflected wayward shots into their own net.
Rotherham were deservedly ahead before Kent’s departure through Richard Wood. They had too much power, pace and set-piece muscle for another depleted Posh team and predictably added a fourth from a corner with ex-Posh striker Kyle Vassell volleying home expertly in the 93rd minute. The home side scored twice after their defender Joe Mattock had been sent off for violent conduct.
It all started to go wrong for Posh in five madcap minutes early in the second-half.
Kent collected his first caution for ending a strong Freddie Ladapo run illegally on the edge of the penalty area.
Christy Pym flew across his goal to keep out Dan Barlaser’s free-kick, but pressure stayed on the Posh goal and after a couple of corners were partially cleared, Carlton Morris was given too much time to cross and early substitute Wood headed home in the 50th minute.
Much worse was to follow as Kent then foolishly ended Chiedozie Ogbene’s strong run with another trip leaving referee Andy Haines no option, but to send the defender off.
Posh tried to reshuffle with Rhys Bennett enterting the fray, but Rotherham went 2-0 up on 68 minutes. Matt Crooks burst behind the Posh defence and his weak shot was deflected past Pym by Butler.
Mattock gave Posh hope by senselessly butting Ivan Toney after a coming together and getting sent off 17 minutes from time, but within five minutes Ward, a half-time substitute for Burrows, diverted a Wood header into his own net.
More goals for the home side could have followed with Vassell hitting the outside of the post before he scored and Pym, Mark Beevers and Niall Mason making goal-saving blocks.
Posh had stood up to a strong physical challenge to reach half-time at 0-0.
The Millers are a big strong side, but a Posh team fielding two 17-year-olds played with great commitment to stay on terms.
The home side were a massive threat from set-pieces and might have scored twice from corners in the final 10 minutes through Freddie Ladapo, who miscued a six-yard volley, and Adam Thompson who placed a free header over the crossbar.
Carlton Morris also sent a header over the crossbar early in a half dominated by the hosts who pressed Posh ruthlessly in midfield.
But Posh did break out to miss a great chance of their own in the 38th minute when Niall Mason’s right-wing cross found Toney all alone 10 yards from goal, but his header was weak and easily caught by home keeper Daniel Iverson.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson reacted to the Boxing Day defeat to Doncaster by making four changes to his side for a game, although the absence of misfiring Marcus Maddison suggests at least one was enforced.
George Boyd was drafted in to replace Maddison as Ferguson returned to the midfield diamond formation. Captain Beevers and teenagers Harrison Burrows and Ricky-Jade Jones were also called-up with free-scoring Mo Eisa among those on the substitiutes’ bench.
Posh: Christy Pym, Niall Mason, Mark Beevers, Frankie Kent, Dan Butler, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed (sub Rhys Bennett, 58 mins), Harrison Burrows (sub Joe Ward, 46 mins), George Boyd, Ivan Toney (sub Mo Eisa, 82 mins), Ricky-Jade Jones.
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Archie Jones, Kyle Barker, Sam Cartwright.
Rotherham: Daniel Iverson, Joe Mattock, Adam Thompson, Dan Barlaser, Michael Ihiekwe, Chiedozie Ogbene, Clark Robertson (sub Richard Wood. 26 mins), Matt Olosunde, Matt Crooks, Freddie Ladapo (sub Kyle Vassell, 68 mins), Carlton Morris (sub Michael Smith, 76 mins)..
Unused substitutes: Lewis Price, Jamie Lindsay, Jake Hastie, Ben Wiles.
Rotherham - Wood (50 mins), Butler (og, 68 mins), Ward (og, 77 mins), Vassell (90 + 3 mins).
Sending-off: Posh - Kent (second yellow, foul).
Rotherham - Mattock (violent conduct).
Posh - Kent (foul), Toney (dissent).
Referee: Andy Haines 7
Attendance: 9,019 (874 Posh).