Peterborough United comment on a victory that bodes well for a sustained push for promotion
In many ways this was a more satisfying Peterborough United win than beating the likes of Rochdale 6-0.
Lincoln City are decent, they have fine attacking players, they pass the ball well and they are resolute in defence. They were never going to be blown away in front of close to 3,000 passionate Imps fans even when up against a level of attacking weaponry rarely seen in the third tier.
Patience was a key as was defensive discipline. If Posh stay in games when their attacking fluency is absent they still have a decent chance of victory because of that forward power, that ability to score when little seems on.
And so it proved although few would have bet on Louis Reed smashing home the opening goal eight minutes from time. Toney’s magnificent finish six minutes later was more predictable and put a gloss, harshly as far the visitors were concerned, on the final scoreline.
This was a test of promotion credentials, especially coming on the back of the late collapse at a far less gifted Wycombe side in Posh’s previous outing. Manager Darren Ferguson appeared relaxed beforehand and jubilant, inwardly mostly, afterwards as rights were wronged.
Seven days after a level of game management a team of uncoached under 12s would have bettered, Posh saw this match out strongly, helped by Christy Pym’s excellence in goal and a decisive tactical switch midway through the second-half which saw Siriki Dembele replace Mo Eisa and a change to a 4-2-3-1 formation with George Boyd supporting lone striker Ivan Toney.
On the face of it effectively going one up with the still scoreless was a bold move, but social media trolls were silenced by Dembele’s impact. His pace and direct running were a nightmare for tiring defenders. Sir Alex Ferguson was in the crowd watching, not far away from former Posh boss Grant McCann, and would doubtless have been impressed by his son’s attempt to postively change a likely outcome.
The game as a whole wasn’t the spectacle many were expecting. The tempo was slow and despite six yellow cards - two of them to Reed who was forced to sit out nine minutes of added time - the tackles weren’t exactly flying in. Two deep-lying defences restricted space in behind and Posh were often persuaded to strike the ball long towards two powerful centre-backs.
Neither goalkeeper was called into action until first-half injury time when Pym stood tall to keep out Tyler Walker’s close-range flick. A crucial moment as was Pym’s save from substitute John Akinde’s header at the start of added time in the seond-half. If that had gone in it would have been very nervy finale for the 10 men.
Posh were much improved after the break as Marcus Maddison in particular picked up his game - he was ‘kicked to pieces as usual’ accoding to Toney - but appeared to have muffed their chance of victory when, from close range, Mark Beevers made a hash of the star man’s precise free-kick 15 minutes from time.
Beevers did his day job at the back impressively though as he and Frankie Kent muzzled top scorer Walker’s effectiveness.
That’s four home League One wins in a row for Posh for the first time since March 2015, a run achieved either side of Ferguson’s justifiable sacking as manager.
How times change.
Posh: Christy Pym, Niall Mason, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Louis Reed, Josh Knight, George Boyd, Marcus Maddison (sub Alex Woodyard, 90 + 2 mins), Ivan Toney, Mo Eisa (sub Siriki Dembele, 73 mins).
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Idris Kanu, Joe Ward, Dan Butler, Rhys Bennett.
Lincoln City: Josh Vickers, Neal Eardley, Harry Toffolo, Ciaran Bolger, Jason Shackell, Ellis Chapman, Michael O’Connor (sub Tom Pett, 55 mins), Jack Payne (sub Jake Hesketh, 81 mins), Jorge Grant (sub John Akinde, 88 mins), Bruno Andrade, Tyler Walker.
Unused substitutes: Grant Smith, Callum Connelly, Max Melbourne, Harry Anderson..
Goals: Posh - Reed (82 mins), Toney (87 mins).
Sending off: Posh - Reed (second yellow card, foul).
Cautions: Posh - Mason (foul), Reed (foul).
Lincoln - O’Connor (foul), Pett (foul), Shackell (foul).
Referee: Marc Edwards 6
Attendance: 9,872 (2,788 Lincoln).