LIVE: PETERBOROUGH UNITED 4, WYCOMBE WANDERERS 0: Posh back to form with a bang after early red card
Peterborough United roared back to form with a 4-0 League One thumping of second-placed Wycombe at the Weston Homes Stadium tonight (January 21).
Two goals from Ivan Toney, a fine first goal for the club from Jack Taylor and a lovely goal from Siriki Dembele secured a first win in seven League One matches for Posh against a side who would have gone top by picking up a point.
But the visitors can feel aggrieved about a contentious penalty decision and red card in the 23rd minute when Giles Phillips was adjudged to have pushed Sammie Szmodics as he tried to reach Toney’s knock down.
The contact looked minimal but referee Charles Breakspear, the undisputed red card king in the Football League, awarded the spot-kick and sent the defender off.
Toney converted the penalty and Posh were off and running. It was a 12th red card shown by Breakspear this season.
Posh switched to a 3-4-1-2 formation for this game - and made four changes to the starting line-up - and the gameplan clearly involved spreading the ball wide with Joe Ward in particular often in acres of space.
Wycombe rallied with 10 men and pumped the ball long and high as often as possible and to the obvious discomfort of the Posh centre-backs, but they created nothing.
Posh finished the half strongly and scored a superb goal in the 45th minute following a long-range 1-2 between Dembele and Toney.
Dembele, who started the game as a striker, collected the ball on halfway and advanced before feeding Toney 20 yards from goal. Toney ignored Dan Butler’s overlap and played a delightful ball back to Dembele who finished expertly.
Posh could have scored further goals in added time as Szmodics was denied by Wycombe ‘keeper Ryan Allsop and Taylor missed a sitter from six yards after Toney had rolled the ball into his path.
Taylor made amends 12 minutes into the second-half with a fine controlled finish from the edge of the penalty area after Toney had dummied Dembele’s short pass.
Dembele was denied a second goal, after excellent work from Taylor and Szmodics, by a brave defensive block, but Posh were now dominating and a fourth goal 16 minutes from time came as no surprise.
Reece Brown let fly from 20 yards and Allsop made a mess of the save directing the ball straight to Toney who finished first-time into the roof of the net.
A poor cross from Ward denied Toney his hat-trick as did an offside flag, but they were minor quibbles for a side who had scored one goal in their previous six League One matches.
Posh: Christy Pym, Nathan Thompson (sub Rhys Bennett, 68 mins), Dan Butler, Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Jack Taylor, Reece Brown, Joe Ward, Siriki Dembele (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 75 mins), Sammie Szmodics (sub George Boyd, 75 mins), Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Louis Reed, Mo Eisa, Niall Mason.
Wycombe: Ryan Allsop, Joe Jacobson (sub Sido Jombati, 45 mins), Anthony Stewart, Curtis Thompson, Giles Phillips, Matt Bloomfield, Nick Freeman, Jason McCarthy, Josh Parker (sub Paul Smyth, 57 mins), Nnamdi Ofoborh (sub Alex Samuel, 78 mins), Adebeyo Akninfenwa.
Unused substitutes: Dominic Gape, David Wheeler, Jamie Mascoll, Darius Charles.
Goals: Posh - Toney (pen, 23 mins & 74 mins), Dembele (45 mins), Taylor (56 mins).
Sending-off: Wycombe - Phillips (denying a goalscoring opportunity).
Cautions: Posh - Taylor (foul), Butler (foul), Beevers (foul).
Wycombe - Bloomfield (foul).
Referee: Charles Breakspear 5
Attendance: 3,851 (257 Wycombe).