REPORT: Blackpool 3, Peterborough United 1: Woeful Posh couldn’t have looked less than a promotion-winning side at Blackpool

Posh couldn’t have looked less like a promotion-chasing League One side at Blackpool tonight (March 23).

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 11:41 pm
Jonson Clarke-Harris of Peterborough United battles with Demi Mitchell of Blackpool. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Slow and disorganised at the back, lightweight and inaccurate in midfield and powderpuff up top. It was all a recipe for disaster against an in-form home side. Blackpool made light of numerous senior absentees to outplay Posh for the second time this season and a 3-1 win was the least they deserved.

It was all too much for Posh boss Darren Ferguson who was cautioned by ex-Premier League referee Bobby Madley for one rant too many towards the end. Madley was dreadfully inconsistent throughout and his refusal to award Sammie Szmodics

a 75th minute penalty looked a bad decision.

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But that’s an excuse rather than a reason for a dispiriting defeat. Blackpool were ahead inside the first minute and even a well-taken equaliser against the run of play from Joe Ward in first-half added time couldn’t alter the flow of the game.

Madley gave Blackpool a penalty after the ball struck Ethan Hamilton’s arm six minutes after the break and seven minutes later a poorly defended corner ended with Ward deflecting Luke Garbutt’s shot into the net.

The game drifted to an inevitable conclusion after that with only the penalty appeals offering any hope for Posh.

Ferguson named an unchanged side giving those embarrassed by a second-half collapse at Rochdale the chance to redeem themselves.

Pool’s recent excellent form has been all the more remarkable given the number of injuries they’ve suffered. They were without seven first-team regulars tonight plus highly-rated on-loan Arsenal centre-back Dan Ballard was on international duty.

And the home side enoyed a dream start with a goal in the 59th second from top scorer Yates. It was noticable at Rochdale on Saturday how often their players were able to shoot from 20 yards at Christy Pym’s goal. They rarely hit the target, but Yates did with a screamer into the bottom corner.

And the goal clearly rocked Posh who were all at sea by the seaside in the opening quarter. Pym handled the ball outside his area without sanction other than a free kick, which was wasted, and Demetri Mitchell shot over from a 20 yard set-piece after a foul by Dan Butler.

Posh struggled to cope with the home side’s press. They were also overrun in midfield, but the home side wasted many promising positions with poor crosses. Sullay Kaikai also slipped when well placed.

Set-pieces, unusually, did look a potential route back into the game for Posh against small opponents. Szmodics shot wide on the turn after Mark Beevers had won a header from a Butler free kick.

And a Butler corner caused panic before the danger was cleared.

Ferguson was so unimpressed he switched to a flat back four 10 minutes before the break. It didn’t change much until right on the stroke of half time when Posh found a high-quality equaliser.

It had its origins in a mistake as Pool centre-back Jordan Thorniley made a hash of a hoof upfield. Siriki Dembele pounced and fed Szmodics who looked like he’d taken far too long to make an attacking gesture.

But he then delivered an inch perfect cross which found Ward lurking on the far post, His volley was superbly controlled and found the back of the net off the inside of the post.

But any thoughts the goal would lift Posh were soon dashed by an incompetent start to the second-half.

From the kick off the ball was booted out of play, Frankie Kent was soon giving possession away as was Ethan Hamilton.

And from a corner Posh gifted Blackpool the lead with the help of Madley. Pym made a mess of his attempt to catch the ball. He chased after it, but couldn’t stop Thorniley shooting at goal, the ball striking Hamilton’s arm which appeared to be by his side according to biased iFollowers, although Ferguson accepted that particular decision. Yates did the rest from the spot.

And it was another corner which settled the destination of the points. Posh sent just one player out to combat a short corner even though the quality of Garbutt’s left foot is well known. He was given the time to power a shot which appeared to be heading straight for Pym until it glanced off Ward’s head.

And that was pretty much that. Pool relaxed in the knowledge they were facing a team very much out of sorts. The only Ward crosses that beat the first man ended in the goalkeeper’s arms.

Jonson Clarke-Harris wanted a penalty 15 minutes from time after feeling a nudge and a minute later Szmodics did appear to be tripped, but the well-placed Madley disagreed much to Ferguson’s annoyance.

Substitute Mo Eisa did turn home a cross from fellow replacement Harrison Burrows, but from an offiside position in the final moments and Eisa should have done better than screw badly wide following a Clarke-Harris flick in injury time.

Blackpool were well worth their win though. They are into the top six for the first time this season. Posh stay second, but for how long is anyone’s guess. Not long judging by this display.

Posh: Christy Pym, Frankie Kent, Nathan Thompson, Mark Beevers, Joe Ward, Dan Butler (sub Harrison Burrows, 67 mins), Reece Brown, Ethan Hamilton (sub Niall Mason, 67 mins), Sammie Szmodics (sub Mo Eisa, 81 mins), Siriki Dembele (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 73 mins), Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Unused substitutes. Dan Gyollai, Idris Kanu, Louis Reed

Blackpool: Chris Maxwell, Jordan Gabriel, Ollie Turton, Jordan Thorniley, Luke Garbutt, Kenny Dougall, Grant Ward, Demetri Mitchell, Elliott Embleton (sub Ethan Robson, 77 mins), Sullay Kaikai, Jerry Yates.

Unused substitutes: Stuart Moore, Ellis Simms, Daniel Gretarsson, Cam Antwi, Rob Apter, Brad Holmes.

Goals: Posh - Ward (45 + 1 min).

Blackpool - Yates (1 min & 51 mins, pen), Garbutt (59 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Brown (foul), Kent (foul), Hamilton (handball), Ferguson (dissent).

Blackpool - Ward (foul).

Referee Bobby Madley 5