Peterborough United manager delighted with the passion and commitment of his players, praise for two-goal Clarke-Harris, refereeing decisions cause concern and why Sammie Szmodics missed the match

Peterborough United manager Grant McCann was delighted with the passion and commitment of his players after they secured a come-from-behind Championship point from a 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the Weston Homes Stadium today (March 12).

By Alan Swann
Saturday, 12th March 2022, 7:16 pm
Updated Sunday, 13th March 2022, 9:39 am
Ricky-Jade Jones of Peterborough United is brought down for a penalty against Stoke City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Ricky-Jade Jones of Peterborough United is brought down for a penalty against Stoke City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh kept their heads during a controversial finish to the game as both sides were awarded penalties in the final six minutes of the match with the visitors furious that referee Geoff Eltringham didn’t award them a futher spotkick in the 94th minute.

McCann felt the penalty Stoke did get for a handball offence by Josh Knight was harsh and he also wondered why a visiting defender wasn’t shown a red card after fouling Posh substitute Ricky-Jade Jones to concede a penalty in the 92nd minute.

Jonson Clarke-Harris stepped up to equalise from the spot after also scoring a first-half equaliser with a quality finish after Jacob Browne has fired Stoke in front. They were the first goals in 11 matches for Clarke-Harris who is now the club’s top scorer with seven.

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Jonson Clarke-Harris of Peterborough United in action against Stoke City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“It was two evenly-matched sides playing the same formation and a similar style on a pitch that wasn’t conducive to playing pretty football,” McCann said.

“The draw was probably a fair result and fair play to my players for showing the desire and resilience required to get back into the game twice.

“I was really pleased with how we responded to setbacks. The players were rewarded for their endeavour and for sticking together with a point. We want to win our home games, but it’s a point nearer to safety with another home game to come.

“We were better in the second-half when we got on the front foot more, but then we got hit with a sucker punch for the penalty. I’m not sure what Josh was supposed to do with his arm there. The ball hit his knee then his arm, but some good play from Ricky won us a penalty. There could even have been a red card as Ricky was pulled back.

“I was delighted for ‘Johnno’. It’s been a stop-start pre-season as well as season for him, but with a full pre-season with me he’ll be a serious player for us next season no matter what division we are in. It’s the same with Jack Marriott.

“Johnno’s first finish was quality.”

A point for Barnsley at home to Fulham today kept the Tykes two points clear of rock-bottom Posh. Derby are now just a point above Posh having played a game more after a 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth. Reading are just outside the relegation zone, but six points clear of Posh after a 4-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Posh forward Sammie Szmodics could return to the squad for the home game against Swansea on Wednesday (March 16) after missing today’s game with a groin problem.