Posh have now stunk out South Wales twice, both times after seeing off a decent QPR side. They were pathetically passive at Swansea City in October and last night (February 9) they rolled over and died in Cardiff.
There was no fight, no commitment, no obvious organisation and ultimately no hope. A 4-0 defeat flattered only Posh. It was some way to start a run of six games in 18 days described as ‘make or break’ by the manager this week. Posh appear broken already.
That manager Darren Ferguson copped it in the immediate aftermath on social media. The charge sheet at Championship level is certainly growing and last night it included claims he’d ‘lost the dressing room’, ‘set the team up disastrously’ and made ‘panicky changes of formation,’ although that latter suggestion ignored an obvious need to try something as Plan A could have been ripped up after 15 minutes by which time Cardiff had scored, hit the post twice and missed an open goal as Posh flailed and floundered as if they were holding auditions for ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘em.’ Josh Knight won the lead role after stepping in at the last minute to play on the left-hand side of a back three and delivering a scarily accident-prone display.
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He wasn’t alone though. If Ronnie Edwards doesn’t make it into the big time it will be a lack of pace that holds him back. He was exposed here time and time again and his indifferent approach to even trying to halt flying wing-back Cody Drameh as he broke away to set up the killer third goal just before the hour mark was a deriliction of his profession.
One can sort of forgive Bali Mumba who must have left the field dizzy given he changed positions so often, but Hayden Coulson didn’t even get as far as flattering to deceive on his first Posh start, Oliver Norburn and Jeando Fuchs were horribly limited in possession and found wanting off the ball in central midfield which restricted the impact of those further forward.
Posh appeared to line up with eight defensive players and three attackers. It looked like the plan was to hit the ball long and over the heads of three slow-turning defenders, but conceding a fifth-minute goal wrecked that tactic as Cardiff just sat deep and waited for the ball to be coughed up. Their own attacks were faster, more accurate and as a result more threatening. They also made set-pieces count.
It helped Cardiff shopped at Leeds United (the outstanding Drameh) and Manchester City (the excellent Tommy Doyle) in the loan market, while Posh were picking up players who had hardly played competitively all season.
It was all desperately worrying. Posh may well catch Reading and stay clear of Barnsley, but it’s hard to see them finishing above Derby unless the Rams go bust and no proper football fan should want that to happen.
Listeners to the chairman’s podcast will know Ferguson is going nowhere (unless last night was bad enough to force a U turn of Government proportions), but does he need more experienced help on the coaching front? Does he still have confidence in his own ability? Has his tactical thinking become too muddled? A good, decent man (and a club legend to be fair) sounded genuinely shocked and horrified after his players had effectively thrown him under a bus last night, and on his 50th birthday as well.