MATCHDAY TALKING POINTS: Posh were due some luck as they won promotion the right way, Clarke-Harris delivers the best club goals return for 60 years, a team with plenty of ‘bottle,’ unsung heroes step up, pride in Fergie and his backroom boys, and why Lincoln shouldn’t protest about a dodgy penalty too much
It was an embarrassingly poor penalty decision that ultimately sent Posh to the Championship today (May 1), but no-one can possibly describe their promotion from League One as fortunate.
Not after the way last season ended and not after the honking decision that cost Posh their place in the second tier eight long years ago. And not after playing every other team twice this season - the only way to guarantee the best two teams finish in the top two places.
Posh are eight points clear of third with a match to go. All referee John Busby’s remarkable decision to adjudge Lincoln forward Anthony Scully’s 96th minute contact with Sammie Szmodics as a foul did was save Posh from an anxious week. They are worthy runners-up to champions Hull even though they stumbled over the line rather than give the Tigers a race for the title.
It was a shocking decision in both senses (surprise and horror) of the word though. Busby has been excellent twice in recent Posh matches, but he lost the plot at the death here and it was a particular shame for Scully who had scored twice, the second of which was a beauty.
But that’s football. The best team doesn’t always win a match, but the best teams always finish in the top two. That’s what really matters and few should begrudge Posh their promotion party tonight.
And anyway which League One team has won the most penalties this season? Lincoln City and several were highly dubious to say the least.
OTHER TALKING POINTS...
1) Posh have been due some good attacking fortune. They’ve struck the crossbar so many times in recent home games on their way to dropping points and when Jonson Clarke-Harris headed a Dan Butler corner against the bar at 2-3 it looked like Dame Fortune was absent from the Westonn Homes Stadium again.
2) Clarke-Harris has now become the first Posh player for 60 years to score 30 League goals in a single season. Only Terry Bly (52 in 1960/61) has previously achieved the feat.
3) After an hour yesterday, my Twitter timeline had many comments about a team lacking ‘bottle’. Utter nonsense even before the most thrilling of comebacks since four goals were retrieved against Cardiff at London Road in 2009. Posh picked up 22 points (seven wins, and yesterday’s draw) this season after conceding the first goal, seven more than any other team in the division. Teams who lack bottle don’t recover that often from early setbacks that well.
4) It was a strange afternoon in many ways. The reliably good Nathan Thompson was horribly caught out for the second Lincoln goal, star midfielder Jack Taylor was poor by his lofty standards and Clarke-Harris missed an absolute sitter at the start of the second-half. Clarke-Harris redeemed himself with two goals an top forward Siriki Dembele also netted, but praise should go to two unsung heroes of the squad. Dan Butler was excellent throughout and energetic Ethan Hamilton was oustanding in his 30 minutes on the pitch after replacing Taylor. The pair combined well for the crucial first Posh goal.
5) Lincoln were excellent going forward. In 18 year-old Manchester City loanee Morgan Rogers and midfield maestro Jorge Grant they have two top talents. They will be the best side going into the play-offs alongside Blackpool. It would be better for Posh if the Imps come up given they are based 150 miles closer!
6) It’s been a pleasure to work with Posh manager Darren Ferguson this season. He’s been relaxed, confident and calm all season (away from the technical area at least). To pick this squad up and mould them into a promotion-winning outfit is a credit to him and his staff. This might have been the toughest season in so many ways for all of them. They should be proud of their efforts.
7) What a great sight after the match as the Posh players and staff joined supporters outside the stadium. What a crying shame a brilliant game between two top League One sides didn’t play out in front of a full house. There should be many packed houses at London Road next season. Let’s hope Posh will still be giving their support plenlty to cheer about.