Posh star ‘in floods of tears’ after promotion and the secret was to never stop believing in himself
The permanent signing of Szmodics in the summer, after a very impressive loan spell last season, was the point many Posh fans truly started to believe that automatic promotion was going to happen.
The 25 year-old built up a cult following online in his short spell as Posh hunted the same prize last season, only to be denied by the curtailment.
This time around though, he played a key role in getting the club over the line and he was the man at the heart of yesterday’s decisive moment.
It was Anthony Scully’s foul on Szmodics that won the last gasp penalty which Jonson’s Clarke-Harris smashed home to secure a 3-3 draw from 0-3 down with 25 minutes to go. A point was all Posh needed to secure a top two finish.
Szmodics, like the rest of the squad, celebrated the moment with hundreds of fans waiting outside the Weston Homes Stadium.
Szmodics said: “After a performance like that we had to go straight to the fans as they’re who we do it for.
“Obviously it’s been a weird season because there’s been no fans in the ground, but we could hear them from the first whistle and it was only right that we went out there.
“We were quite beaten up at half time (Posh were 2-0 down). It was very quiet in the dressing room and the manager and Robbo (Mark Robson) had to get us going again. We felt as if we’d thrown it away again and let people down.
“Then we conceded a third goal and you just think it’s not your day, but as soon as we got the first back, the momentum just kept building.
“The luck was with us when Jonson’s free-kick hit the wall and went in and we just kept pushing and pushing and I got the penalty.
“I just felt contact. We’ve had penalty decisions go against us this season and if that happens on the halfway line no one moans about a free-kick.
“I couldn’t watch though. As soon as it was given I was in floods of tears. You have to give all the credit to Jonson for the bottle he showed.
“Afterwards, I looked up and there were about 50 people on the pitch and I’m crying my eyes out. It was the best feeling in the world.
“I wouldn’t have been able to take any more if there was more than 40 seconds left. I’d have had to have been subbed off.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling because we work so hard every day for this. You see these boys more than your family and it’s for days like this.
“I’ve had a sniff of the Championship with Bristol City and to be back there is the best feeling in the world.”
It’s not been easy for Szmodics though. He had a tough start to permanent life at Posh, scoring only one league goal before January 16.
During the enforced Covid break over Christmas, he took himself away from the game and came back rejuvenated. He now sits on 16 league goals and six assists.
Szmodics added: “You get your doubters when you come from a Championship club. I came here last season and did so well, but I couldn’t hit a barn door for the first two months and the pressure was building.
“We had a Covid break over Christmas and I just came away from the game completely. Obviously we all read Twitter, I saw people criticising me, calling me a million pound flop ,but I didn’t take any notice. If anything I took it as a positive and took it in my stride.
“My confidence stayed high and I know, and the fans know, that I give 110% every game and it was only a matter of time. When one goal came I knew they would all come.
“(Bristol City manager) Lee Johnson changed my life by giving me an opportunity in the Championship and I took that into my time at Posh.
“I thought, I’ve had a sniff of the Championship before and it’s what everybody dreams of and I tried to instill that in the boys.
“It’s a different lifestyle, you’re playing in front of 30,000 instead of 3,000 and it’s what we work every day to do and for us to achieve that is unbeleivable.”