Peterborough United suffered their traditional calamitous afternoon at Wycombe Wanderers
But the level the Posh players produced was a shock to the system, even allowing for the absence of key men. The 5-2 scoreline flattered Posh who even threatened a remarkable comeback midway through the second-half by scoring twice in four minutes to get within a goal.
Unfortunately a second Posh own goal of the game soon extinguished that hope and when goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic completed a hat-trick of personal calamities in added time the heaviest defeat of what remains an encouraging season was completed.
Posh were terrible in possession and soft in defence in front of their accident prone number one. Results elsewhere in League One didn’t exactly help the mood.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson’s reaction to one point from three League One games against modest opposition was to change formation, although the absence through injury of Ephron Mason-Clark probably made that decision easier.
Mason-Clark has had a lot to contend with on and off the pitch in recent weeks. He’s taken a physical battering since that big money move to Coventry City so a rest should be him good, although it meant the two most reliable members of the ‘Fab Four’ Posh attackers were missing with Kwame Poku’s return to action scheduled for Tuesday.
Posh lined-up with David Ajiboye and Harrison Burrows as wing-backs with left-footed centre-back Romoney Crichlow joining Josh Knight and Ronnie Edwards in the last line of defence in front of goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic. Jadel Katongo dropped to the bench.
There was also a recall for Jonson Clarke-Harris to partner speed merchant Ricky-Jade Jones up top, while in-form under 21 striker Pemi Aderoju was on the first-team bench for the first time since his move from Biggleswade.
Wycombe recalled former Posh centre-back Ryan Tafazolli and another old London Road man Kieran Sadlier was also involved, but key midfielder Josh Scowen failed a late fitness test.
Posh started okay with Jones running free on a couple of occasions, but there was no precision or tempo with their passing, and no crosses at all to interest Clarke-Harris.
Joel Randall hogged the left hand side leaving Burrows to work more centrally. Randall curled over after 10 minutes following a corner – it was the last shot of the half for Posh compared to 10 for the home side – and then played a terrific pass to Hector Kyprianou who couldn’t squeeze a cross into a dangerous area.
But as the game wore on Posh got progressively worse and Wycombe started to exploit the gaps behind the wing-backs.
Sadlier troubled Knight all afternoon and forced a decent save from Bilokapic just before the half hour mark, but it was a problem area Posh did nothing to solve.
Punishment duly arrived in the 38th minute when left-back Kane Vincent-Young charged past Ajiboye and Knight. His cross was weak, but Collins obligingly slid in to divert the ball past Bilokapic.
It should have been 2-0 five minutes later when Sadlier teed up Richard Kone from the left, but Bilokapic saved with his legs.
But a second goal always looked likely and nine minutes into first-half added time – justifiable delays in this instance for Wycombe injuries – Richard Kone eased past a couple of weak challenges on the left-half side of the Posh defence and pulled back for right-back Jack Grimmer to finish.
Randall who received treatment just before the break was substituted at the break and replaced by Ryan De Havilland.
There was no immediate improvement despite working themselves into a couple of decent crossing position so a third home goal wasn’t exactly unexpected.
The manner of it was an embarrassment though, not withstanding a fine finish from Sadlier, as Bilokapic passed the ball straight to him on the edge of the penalty area.
Posh made substitutions and changed formation to a flat back four almost immediately.
Ajiboye moved further forward and claimed a cracking goal on 66 minutes, twisting and turning inside the area before slamming home a thunderous shot.
And four minutes later Posh were back within touch. Substitute Malik Mothersille played a superb pass with the outside of his right foot. Burrows took the ball on and managed to square it with Tafazolli unfortunate to bundle the ball past his own goalkeeper.
But, instead of acting as a catalyst for a complete comeback, Wycombe became energised. Substitute Sam Vokes made an impact with his first touch, a header from a deep corner which entered the net off the shins of Bilokapic.
Collins missed a decent chance from the edge of the area after more good play from Ajiboye and Aderoju sent a header goalwards with his first touch as a Football League player that was deflected wide, but the hosts had the last word as substitute David Wheler thumped home after another errant Bilokapic pass.
It’s now 21 years since Posh won at this venue. The teams could also meet at Wembley later this season, a tie Wycombe would look forward to more than Posh.
Posh: Nicholas Bilokapic, Harrison Burrows, Romoney Crichlow (sub Jadel Katongo, 59 mins), Ronnie Edwards, Josh Knight, David Ajiboye, Hector Kyprianou, Archie Collins (sub Pemi Aderoju, 87 mins), Joel Randall (sub Joel Randall, 46 mins), Ricky-Jade Jones, Jonson Clarke-Harris (sub Malik Mothersille, 59 mins).
Unused subs: Jed Steer, Harley Mills, Emmanuel Fernandez.
Wycombe: Max Stryjek, Jack Grimmer (sub Nigel Lonwijk, 57 mins), Ryan Tafazolli, Matt Butcher, Joe Low, Freddie Potts, Dale Taylor (sub Luke Leahy 89 mins), Kieran Sadlier (sub Sam Vokes, 69 mins), Kane Vincent-Young, Richard Kone (sub Beryly Lubala, 57 mins), Garath McCleary (sub David Wheeler, 88 mins).
Unused subs: Franco Ravizzoli, Chem Campbell, Luke Leahy.
Goals: Posh – Ajiboye (66 mins), Tafazolli (og, 70 mins),
Wycombe – Collins (og, 38 mins), Grimmer (45 + 9 mins), Sadlier (58 mins), Bilokapic (og, 73 mins), Wheeler (90 + 2 mins).
Cautions: Posh – Ferguson (manager, dissent). Aderoju (foul).
Wycombe – Potts (foul), Lubala (foul).
Referee: Ollie Yates 5.
Attendance: 4,800 (approx 850 Posh).