PT boost to Peterborough United as advice taken on board, a huge let-off, defensive tweaks required and giving Grant McCann a break

The Peterborough Telegraph is happy to have made such a positive contribution to the Peterborough United survival bid.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 9:18 am
Posh star Siriki Dembele celebrates his winning goal at Hull City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

The outstanding banter provoked by giddy Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony after a nervy, but vital, 2-1 Championship win at fellow strugglers Hull City last night (October 20) as he released details of a text message exchange between himself and manager Darren Ferguson was a surprising postcript though.

Apparently this

summary of a weak weekend defeat at Middlesbrough was used as motivation by the bosses ahead of the trip to the MKM Stadium.

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Jack Taylor of Peterborough United is congratulated by team-mates after scoring the opening goal of the game at Hull. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

An article which implored the depolyment of Jack Taylor further forward, especially at set-pieces (he scored a great goal following a corner last night), registered bafflement at the substitution of Siriki Dembele (he stayed on and scored the winning goal last night), urged the return of front foot football at the expense of safety-first passing (a point echoed by the chairman on a terrific edition of his ‘Hard Truth’ podcast this week), to get gifted Jorge Grant on the ball more often (two assists last night) and to try the odd shot at goal as you never know what might happen (five of nine shots hit the target last night and two flew in) clearly became of interest and the PT is happy about that!

No-one here actually wants the season to end with a whimper, but six defeats in a row away from had suggested it was a possibility.

OTHER TALKING POINTS FROM LAST NIGHT...

1) Results always colour the reaction to a performance. There’s no escaping the fact the 13th game of the season was a huge one for Posh and as midfielder Oliver Norburn tweeted last night ‘3 points was all that mattered’. He’s right of course and the result, plus two high-class goals, were the best moments of the night. Did Posh play better than they did at Middlesborough? It was a close call. Did Posh play well? Not really given they were taking on another struggling outfit and were outshot 18-9. Did Posh deserve to win? Not really, but the hope is the boost to confidence and morale a crucial win, a first of the season on their travels, and leaving the relegation zone will bring. Fingers crossed.

2) MacAnthony and Ferguson have both spoken about Posh being due a break and they certainly received one last night after Dan Butler conceded a blatant penalty at the end of 20 minutes of constant second-half pressure from the home side. Josh Magennis had never missed a penalty for the Tigers and he employed his usual Michael Bostwick-style approach of belting the ball as hard as possible last night, only to see it soar high and wide of Dai Cornell’s goal. It was the game’s key moment given the Posh habit of wilting once behind on their travels. The fillip it gave Posh and the deflation it caused in the home camp was obvious and seven minutes later Dembele had won the game after the team’s only fluent passing move of the half. It was a good one though and it showed the potential in the side when Taylor pops up higher up the pitch and Grant gets on the ball in dangerous areas.

3) Posh seem certain to stick with three centre-backs and two wing-backs for the foreseeable future, but last night it was a defence that survived on determination rather than outstanding organisation. Hull profligacy also helped during their spell of total control at the start of the second half of the game. Passing the ball around at the back when two of the three centre-backs don’t exactly provoke comparisons with Bobby Moore is fraught with danger. Posh lost possession in their own half on a scary number of occasions last night. One suspects Frankie Kent will soon be recalled and it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see Nathan Thompson returned to a centre-back role for the visit of QPR on Saturday. He looked far more comfortable when switching there for the final half an hour last night. Hull’s goal came after they were afforded a ludicrous amount of space down the side patrolled by Thompson and Josh Knight and Posh then left a big bloke unmarked six yards from goal when they had ample defenders in the penalty area. Hull tend to keep Mallik Wilks and Keane Lewis-Potter very wide while they build attacks and they found it too easy to get in behind the Posh wingbacks last night.

4) When they did move the ball positively through the thirds Posh looked a threat. There was noticably more aggression, tempo and postitivity in their attacking play compared to the weekend. Switching the play quickly from right to left worked often in the first half where Dan Butler and Sammie Szmodics found plenty of space.

5) It was quite sad to listen to the hammering a Posh playing hero received from the home fans as his team slipped to defeat against his old club last night. Grant McCann’s Championship record at Hull makes awful reading. He’s won 14 and lost 32 of his 58 second tier games with the Tigers, but he had the legs chopped from under him by the January sale of two star players two seasons ago and this season a transfer embargo of sorts is in operation at the club. Fans sadly don’t care about that sort of thing.