Although why anyone would be grateful for the floodlights returning after a 10-minute powercut to illuminate the obvious failings of the two worst teams in the Championship is hard to explain.
Historically Peterborough United v Barnsley at London Road Road means goals. That was never likely to be the case yesterday (November 27) with the goalscoring records of these two teams this season. Posh have now scored one goal in six matches, while Barnsley’s 13 goals in 20 outings is the worst record in the Championship.
Add the presence of ‘Storm Arwen’ making passing and crossing even more difficult for below average technicians and a 0-0 final scoreline could have been viewed as a banker. It was a predictably awful spectacle, so bad it’s easy to now believe the bottom three in the Championship has already been decided with only Derby County having any reason to claim misfortune. Wins yesterday for the three teams directly above Posh just added to the current desperation levels.
OTHER TALKING POINTS FROM POSH 0, BARNSLEY 0...
1) Of course nothing is really decided before Christmas. Hull City are a modest side at Championship level and they’ve just won four games in a row, three of them against teams in the bottom half of the table. If they can do that why can’t Posh? Not beating a bad Barnsley side at home is not the most encouraging start to a run of six matches against mid-table and below opponents though.
2) Posh played well and created chances with four at the back against leaders Fulham early in November and yet for the third game in a row since then manager Darren Ferguson started with a three centre-backs and a pair of wing-backs. It became a flat back four in the second half yesterday and, although Posh still played poorly, they looked far more of an attacking threat.
3) Failing to score in 11 of 20 Championship matches is a scary statistic and a most unusual one for a team run by Darragh MacAnthony and Ferguson. Forwards who looked potent at League One level are rarely looking like scoring one division higher despite Siriki Dembele creating some glorious opportunities. It’s difficult to blame Darren Ferguson for looking elsewhere in his squad for a spark yesterday, although a debut for Kai Corbett was a major surprise. The 19 year-old did fine given his lack of experience in the Football League, never mind the Championship, but he’s unlikely to be the answer for this season. Let’s hope Ferguson’s experiment shocks the senior players into better form.
4) Dembele pounced on a neat flick from Jonson Clarke-Harris and stretched out towards goal six minutes from time. He could have shot, but instead he laid a first Posh goal on a plate for million-pound summer signing Joel Randall who sadly miscued horribly into the London Road End. Rustiness for a player making his first appearance since August 21 could have been an excuse, but the lack of composure was most disappointing. Who would blame Dembele for shooting on sight for the rest of the season?
5) You’d want Dembele to be the one through on goal, but midfield creativity is rare in this Posh team. Jorge Grant sent Dembele away to score at Hull and Oliver Norburn played him in on goal to score against QPR in back-to-back games in October, but since then? Absolutely nothing. Fingers are pointed at forwards when goals dry up, but, Dembele apart, the service has been atrocious in recent matches. Grant really needs to play when you’re expecting to dominate the ball. He hasn’t been great since he arrived in the summer, but one suspects he has more vision than his teammates.
6) There was concern in the press box when Barnsley selected three big forwards to take on a Posh defence that included 18 year-old Ronnie Edwards, but it was never an issue for the England age group international. There were some intelligent bits of defending among his usual excellence on the ball. The recalled Josh Knight and Dan Butler did well either side of Edwards in the first-half, but Butler struggled when Posh reverted to a flat back four and he was asked to scamper forward and join in attacks. Joe Tomlinson returned to the matchday squad yesterday and maybe his chance to shine is not far away.