Posh would have lifted themselves out of the bottom three for the first time since the middle of November with a win against the team just above them in the table.
But, despite out-shooting Reading 16-8, Posh couldn’t find a goal for the fourth Championship game in a row. They remain two points from safety with a game in hand on Reading and now face another huge game at Derby County on Saturday (February 19). The Rams would go above Posh on goal difference with a win.
“We go from one must-win game to another must-win game,” a downhearted Ferguson said. “The performance levels were good again tonight, but the result was rubbish. The performance was secondary tonight as we needed a win more than anything. There is a win in this team, but we need to deliver it against the teams around us which is why this was a terrible result.
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“We are finding the hardest part of football very hard to do and that’s score a goal. We’ve had 32 shots in two home games in five days and not scored a single goal. I’m not sure how much more attacking we can do, but we lacked quality.
“We played with four forwards for the last part of the game. There was only one team trying to win that game and that was us.
“We had our chances. Joe Ward should have lifted the ball when he had a chance late on and then it’s a goal or the defender handles it, but he said he saw a space at the near post and then Josh Knight headed over the bar from a yard.
“I find it hard to criticise as the players are giving so much, but those chances have to be taken.
“We dominated the first-half helped by the wind and we were the better team against the wind. We played some good one touch football at times which isn’t easy on our pitch, but we needed to get in front so the game opened up which probably would have suited us.
“The performance showed belief. The players did everything they could, but they can’t catch a break in front of goal.
”We’ve got to keep believing in each other now. We have to keep giving the fans hope and we have done that in the last two games.
Teenage defender Ronnie Edwards could be available at Derby, but Jack Taylor, Harrison Burrows and Mark Beevers will probably be absent again.
Summer signing Joel Randall is also available, but he might be given extra match fitness in Friday’s Under 23 fixture against Burnley at the Weston Homes Stadium before returning to the first-team squad.