Peterborough United come back from the dead to claim a vital point at Stevenage

Ricky-Jade Jones of Peterborough United scores the equalising goal against Stevenage. Photo Joe Dent/theposh.comRicky-Jade Jones of Peterborough United scores the equalising goal against Stevenage. Photo Joe Dent/
Ricky-Jade Jones of Peterborough United scores the equalising goal against Stevenage. Photo Joe Dent/
Peterborough United launched a terrific second-half comeback to claim a point at current promotion rivals Stevenage.

Posh were probably bemused to find themselves 2-0 down at the break – two poor pieces of defending were responsible for that – after creating several good chances of their own.

Strangely Posh didn’t play with the same fluency in the second-half, but scored twice themselves to earn a point, and yet they ought to have left the Lamex Stadium disappointed such was their obvious superiority in speed and attacking quality.

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Ricky-Jade Jones was the Posh saviour. He set up Joel Randall’s expertly back-heeled goal early in the second-half before equalising nine minutes from time. He was a constant threat as he continued his development into a top notch League One striker.

Josh Knight of Peterborough United in action against Stevenage. Photo: Joe Dent/ Knight of Peterborough United in action against Stevenage. Photo: Joe Dent/
Josh Knight of Peterborough United in action against Stevenage. Photo: Joe Dent/

Stevenage had eased into their two-goal lead courtesy of two Dan Butler crosses. Neither were particularly good, but first goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic and then Archie Collins fluffed their clearance lines enabling Luther James-Wildin and Ben Thompson to score with superb volleys.

Predictably Posh kept faith with the starting line-up that recently demolished both Cambridge United and Burton Albion. There was a change on the substitutes’ bench though with Emmanuel Fernandez providing the defensive cover rather than Zak Sturge or Romoney Crichlow.

The former Posh boss in charge of Stevenage fielded four former Posh players. Nathan Thompson, Butler, Carl Piergianni were part of a back five with Ben Thompson selected in midfield.

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Posh showed early promise as Jones saw a shot deflected behind after a cute Kwame Poku pass, but they struggled to get out until a five-minute purple patch which saw Hector Kyprianou denied by a terrific defensive block after a Jones cross and then Poku’s header was superbly saved by home ‘keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond after a fine cross from Ephron Mason-Clark. Mason-Clark also had a decent claim for a penalty turned down.

Ronnie Edwards made a thrilling burst forward before shooting wide from 25 yards, but then it all started to go wrong.

Stevenage boss Steve Evans deployed Butler to keep an eye on marauding Posh right-back Peter Kioso and it was a simple tactic that appeared to flummox the visiting captain.

His 22nd minute error led directly to a Butler cross that Bilokapic elected to punch rather than catch.

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And it was a poor decision as the ball fell to James-Wildin on the edge of area and he was allowed to have three touches inside the area and from the last of them he smashed the ball into the top corner.

Home top scorer Jamie Reid almost grabbed a quick second from a free kick, but the hosts didn’t have long to wait to double their advantage as Posh defended another poor Butler cross badly.

Collins was the villain this time with his weak clearance setting up Ben Thompson to smash home a fierce 10 yard volley.

Posh were shaken, but still threatened. They looked quicker than the home side and only a poor touch or final ball let them down.

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They were unlucky not to pull a goal back six minutes before the break when Jones pressured Nathan Thompson into hooking the ball towards his own goal. Frustratingly for Posh the ball struck the inside of the post with the ball running kindy enough for Stevenage to clear.

Posh actually started the second half sloppily and Bilokapic had to get down well to keep out Reid’s 25 yard strike and Knight rectified his own mistake by sliding to block a Jordan Roberts shot.

But Posh dragged themselves back into the game on 51 minutes after a swift counter attack. Collins fed Jones whose electric pace left the home defence standing and his cross was turned home by Randall who had his back to goal. It was an instinctive moment, although the ball took an age to travel into the net.

Posh now had their tails up, but momentum disappeared when Nathan Thompson was poleaxed by a fierce Poku strike. The veteran was down for a good five minutes before leaving to generous applause from both sets of fans.

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Mason-Clark tested Ashby-Hammond from 20 yards, but the play became fractured and frantic with referee Sunny Gill Singh awarding far too many free kicks.

Posh didn’t have the fluency they showed for most of the first-half, but they kept pressing and were rewarded with an 81st minute equaliser. A corner was cleared, but Collins floated the ball towards the far post where Edwards was waiting to prod the ball goalwards. And there was Jones was waiting to flick the ball home.

Stevenage hit back with a succession of set pieces with Burrows making a key interception to stop a tap in for Reid.

Randall volleyed over a Mason-Clark cross in the first of eight added minutes, but Stevenage looked as likely to claim a winner as Posh did.

It’s another tough away game out of the way though.

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Posh: Nicholas Bilokapic, Harrison Burrows, Josh Knight, Ronnie Edwards, Hector Kyprianou, Archie Collins, Ephron Mason-Clark, Joel Randall, Kwame Poku, Ricky-Jade Jones.

Subs: Fynn Talley, Jadel Katongo, Ryan De Havilland,Emmanuel Fernández, David Ajiboye, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Jacob Wakeling

Stevenage: Taye Ashby-Hammond, Luther James-Wildin, Nathan Thompson (sub Nick Freeman, 61 mins), Carl Piergianni, Jordan Roberts, Terence Vancooten, Finley Burns, Ben Thompson (sub Louis Thompson, 83 mins), Kane Hemmings (sub Elliott List, 73 mins) Jamie Reid.

Unused subs: Krisztian Hegyi, Alex MacDonald, Aaron Pressley, Harrison Neal.

Goals: Posh – Randall (51 mins), Jones (81 mins).

Stevenage – James-Wildin (22 mins), B. Thompson (30 mins).

Cautions: Stevenage – Piergianni (foul), Ashby-Hammond (time wasting).

Referee: Sunny Singh Gill 5.

Attendance: 5,041 (1,383 Posh).