An estimated 100 Posh fans arrived outside the ground with Ferguson’s side 2-0 up and looking set to clinch automatic promotion. Fireworks were let off and celebratory chanting could be heard while the match continued.
It all proved to be damp squib for the fans and the Posh players as Doncaster recovered to force a 2-2 draw and delay the home club’s promotion party.
Posh officials suggested the match was close to being called off after fireworks landed on the playing surface. There was unrest in the director’s box and Posh chief executive Bob Symns left the stadium in the first half to ask fans to behave. The club had asked fans not to attend the game, but an area for them to congregate had been provided.
Reports suggested the fans had been asked to leave a city centre bar because of a lack of social distancing and arrived at the stadium earlier than expected.
Ferguson said: “I don’t want to criticise our fans because we have missed them and it must be frustrating not being able to attend matches.
“There is naturally a lot of excitement around the club with promotion so close, but the fireworks were unhelpful.
“If I was the Doncaster manager or a player I would have got extra motivation from what was going on.”
Doncaster player-manager Andy Butler confirmed that was the case. He said: “We didn’t want Peterborough to be able to celebrate in front of us. We could hear the singing, but it appeared to have stopped by the end of the game!”
Posh will clinch promotion to the Championship at the Weston Homes Stadium on Saturday (May 1) if they avoid defeat against rivals Lincoln City.
Posh will again ask fans not to attend.
Club co-owner Dr Jason Neale added: “(The fireworks) clearly affected the players and were a rallying call for Doncaster. Let’s please keep fireworks for November 5th.”