Peterborough United boss admits his side were well beaten at Luton, but insists there were mitigating circumstances, notably a ‘terrible’ red card decision

Peterborough United manager Steve Evans was quick to offer up some mitigating circumstances for today’s 4-0 League One defeat at Luton Town (January 19).

Saturday, 19th January 2019, 7:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:00 pm
James Collins scores the first goal for Luton against Posh. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh started slowly and conceded an early goal, but enjoyed a dominant 15-minute spell before centre-back Ryan Tafazolli was shown a straight red card for serious foul play just before the half hour mark. Posh faded from contention thereafter as a Luton team unbeaten in League One since October 13 took complete control against 10 men.

But Evans, who watched the game from the directors box by choice, insisted the sending-off decision by Premier League referee David Coote was a horrible mistake and the club have already decided to launch an appeal. If unsuccessful Tafazolli will serve a three-game ban.

Posh have clung onto the final play-off spot as Doncaster failed to win at home to Burton and Evans praised his players for not giving up in extremely difficult circumstances.

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Ben White of Peterborough United cuts a dejected figure at full-time. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“First and foremost we haven’t performed today,” Evans admitted. “But there were big factors in play as to why that happened.

“We have been on the end of a terrible decision. I was sat right on top of Ryan’s tackle and he has won the ball cleanly. The referee claims his trailing leg was the problem which is strange as it never left the ground either. The referee made the decision. He asked his assistant who wasn’t sure.

“We will be appealing and we will expect to win that appeal. It’s not the first time I’ve seen David Coote make a bad decision.

“Of course we were already losing and then we lost a second goal straight after the red card. From then on it was always going to be difficult against a quality Luton side who are in great form.

Aaron Chapman of Peterborough United makes a save against Luton Town. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“I was disappointed with their first-half goals as we spoke about the threat caused by Luton’s attacking full-backs. You stop them and you stop Luton, but one player didn’t track his man twice and they scored twice.

“I made substitutions at half-time to protect players for the tough games to come, but those that stayed on can be proud of the way they kept battling and trying to get in possession in difficult circumstances.

“We could have collapsed. Many teams would have collapsed, but we at least showed some grit and determination. We still made mistakes in possession to give them two more goals, but I won’t knock the players for effort.

“For 15 minutes between the first goal and the red card we were the better team by a distance so the red card decision was huge. We had some set plays that we didn’t execute properly and we weren’t very creative, but we were in command.

“But this game has gone now. It’s a disappointing result and I felt for our fans who shouldn’t have had to see the sort of mistakes we made today.

“We will learn from it. We have already learnt that if you don’t track runners you concede goals. We are all hurting, but we will make changes for the Checkatrade Trophy game on Tuesday and make sure we are fresh for another big game next weekend against Charlton.

Posh take on League One leaders Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Tuesday (January 22). Recent loan signings Lee Tomlin and Kyle Dempsey were both taken off at half-time today, while Siriki Dembele was withdrawn soon after Tafazolli’s red card.

Dembele was the player who failed to track Luton right-back Jack Stacey who set up the opening two Luton goals.