Peterborough United manager enjoys a happy birthday as his side claim a rare home win

Peterborough United manager Grant McCann’s birthday wish came true as his side showed great character to come from behind and beat promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers in a Championship fixture at London Road today (April 15).

By Alan Swann
Friday, 15th April 2022, 7:23 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th April 2022, 7:21 am
Posh boss Grant McCann and matchwinner Jack Marriott embrace after the win over Blackburn.  Photo: David Lowndes.
Posh boss Grant McCann and matchwinner Jack Marriott embrace after the win over Blackburn. Photo: David Lowndes.

It was a first Posh home win in 10 Championship outings for McCann’s men and the first since the boss returned to the club.

Goals in the final seven minutes from Sammie Szmodics and substitute Jack Marriott secured a 2-1 win on McCann’s 42nd birthday against opponents reduced to 10 men by a red card just before the break. Blackburn striker Ben Brereton-Diaz had opened the scoing in the 77th minute.

Reading’s win at Sheffield United means Posh are still nine points from safety with just four games to go. Posh, who moved up two places to 22nd with this win, but then dropped back to 23rd after Derby beat Fulham last evening, are at relegation rivals Barnsley on Monday (April 18, 3pm).

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Sammie Szmodics scores for Posh against Blackburn. Photo: David Lowndes.

“We were outstanding in the first-half against a very good Blackburn side,” McCann enthused. “I can’t remember my goalkeeper making a save which is testament to how well we defended against a very dangerous front three.

“The second half became harder as it often does against 10 men. They defended in a low block and tried to hit us on the break which is how they scored.

“But we showed real grit and determination to get back and score twice. For a 15-minute spell in the second-half I was worried as we didn’t move the ball quickly enough to be able to get round the outside of them, but we kept pushing and finished the game strongly.

“If we keep creating chances we have players in this side who will score goals and so it proved again. I was very pleased with them again. They are working hard and we have four massive games to go now. We have to win them and hope for some luck elsewhere, but we will have a go. We are working hard to instil a winning mentality and you can see it’s coming.”

McCann, who was delighted with the backing from the Posh fans, delivered a selection surprise with Szmodics starting the game as a right wing-back in place of the suspended Joe Ward. Szmodics was playing in a more advanced role when he equalised.

“Joe Ward was a big miss for us today,” McCann admitted. “He’s been one of the most consistent players since I came back, but I asked Sammie to perform a role he wasn’t familiar with at the start and he was brilliant.

“We tried to overload them down the right when we were attacking and it worked well. He took his goal superbly. He deserved that.

“And Jack Marriott is just a natural goalscorer. He’s like (Blackburn’s) Diaz in that he will score if he gets a chance and they both proved that today.

“And I was really pleased with our fans as they stayed with us even after we fell behind. They’ve waited a long time for a home win and we needed them today.”