This was far from a vintage performance, but there’s no denying the heart and character of a side who have now banked a six-point Easter. They could have been relegated today (April 18), but a 2-0 win at bottom club Barnsley extends the season until Saturday at least.
Jack Marriott opened the scoring on 26 minutes before Jack Taylor sealed success with a 75th minute header from a corner. Yes, that’s right, Posh scored from a set-piece, these truly are remarkable times.
Reading’s draw meant Barnsley also survived relegation today and the Tykes will be wondering how they didn’t at least manage to score a goal at Oakwell.
Outstanding Posh goalkeeper Dai Cornell was the answer to that particular riddle, helped by some brave defensive blocks and some wayward finishing. Kent was also excellent.
Barnsley hit the crossbar in the first minute and Cornell made a brilliant save six minutes from time. It was Posh’s day for sure.
Posh boss Grant McCann made two changes to his starting line-up. Both were predictable with Joe Ward and Marriott coming in for Kwame Poku and Ricky-Jade Jones.
Ward returned as a right wing-back enabling Sammie Szmodics to push forward into a more natural position.
But Posh were so lethargic in the opening 15 minutes they were lucky not be a couple of goals down. Domingos Quina rattled the crossbar from 20 yards inside the first minute before Cornell was able to field a 12-yard snapshot from Romal Palmer.
Cornell excelled on 16 minutes when Carlton Morris met a free kick with a firm header that looked destined for the roof of the net until the keeper’s fingertip diverted it over the crossbar.
Posh eventually did settle and enjoyed some good attacking moments even if the general quality of their play was poor. Marriott shot over after a strong run from Sammie Szmodics before a superb pass inside the full-back from Marriott freed Joe Ward in the Barnsley area. The angle was tight and Jack Walton saved.
Posh were soon in front though. Kent won a key challenge in the home half, Jeando Fuchs fed Szmodics who slipped Marriott in goal and the left-footed finish was firm and true on 26 minutes.
Barnsley’s confidence levels dropped noticeably and the game degenerated into one you might expect from the two worst teams in the division.
Posh were threatened just once more before the break when a Kent block thwarted a quick Barnsley breakaway.
Ward limped through the latter stages of the half so no surprise he was replaced at half-time by Poku with Szmodics reverting to a wing-back role.
Barnsley also sent on star striker Cauley Woodrow at the break and the hosts started the second as they had the first by putting Posh under heavy pressure.
Fuchs made a great tackle inside the area and Cornell followed up with a fine save to keep out a close range hit from Bassi.
Jack Taylor made a couple of strong defensive blocks including a terrific one as Callum Styles pulled the trigger from eight yards when looking certain to score.
A well worked free kick saw Woodrow shoot straight at Cornell before Posh sorted themselves out.
Szmodics wasted a fine Poku pass with a poor touch before Posh struck again 15 minutes from time.
The arrival of Ricky-Jade Jones from the bench in place of Marriott just after the hour mark made a big difference to Posh who suddenly had an out ball. Posh also changed formation to four at the back.
It was Jones who won the corner and Kent who headed the cross from Harrison Burrows into the net for his first goal of the season. Or so he thought. Post-match video evidence confirmed Jack Taylor was the man who headed home.
There was still time for Cornell to make one superb save after a terrible header from Ronnie Edwards gave Carlton Morris a glorious chance to equalise.
Derby are now relegated and Posh are up to 22nd with a four point lead over bottom club Barnsley.
It wasn’t quite the perfect day though as Reading came back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 with Swansea. Posh still have life through and where there’s life there’s hope.
Posh: Dai Cornell, Harrison Burrows, Frankie Kent, Ronnie Edwards, Josh Knight, Joe Ward, Jeando Fuchs, Jack Taylor, Sammie Szmodics, Jonson Clarke-Harris (sub Joel Randall, 80 mins), Jack Marriott (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 65 mins).
Unused subs: Will Blackmore, Mark Beevers, Reece Brown, Bali Mumba.
Barnsley: Jack Walton, Callum Brittain, Liam Kitching, Mads Andersen, Remy Vita (sub Cauley Woodrow, 46 mins), Romal Palmer (sub Matty Wolfe (76 mins), Claudio Gomes, Callum Styles (sub Victor Adeboyejo, 79 mins), Domingo Quina, Amine Bassi, Carlton Morris
Unused subs: Daniel Jinadu, Jasper Moon, William Hondermarck, Aaron Leya Iseka,
Goals: Posh - Marriott (26 mins), Taylor (75 mins)
Cautions: Posh - Poku (foul), Marriott (foul).
Barnsley - Palmer (foul).
Referee: Darren Bond 8.
Attendance: (to follow)