REPORT: BRISTOL CITY 1 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1: Clarke-Harris makes it six of the best and this one must have tasted particularly sweet

It’s six goals in six Championship games for Peterborough United top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris and this one would have tasted particulary sweet.

By Alan Swann
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 5:31 pm
Jonson Clarke-Harris of Peterborough United scores the equalising goal against Bristol City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Jonson Clarke-Harris of Peterborough United scores the equalising goal against Bristol City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

It was a simple finish from close range midway through the second-half and it rescued a point for a Posh side who had been reduced to 10 men five minutes earlier following a first red card of Joe Ward’s career.

But Clarke-Harris spent a couple of seasons at Bristol Rovers, a fact the home fans were at pains to point out every time he touched the ball.

It might have added to the miserable mood of the City fans when the final whistle was blown on a 1-1 draw. They gave their own players a most unfriendly send off, while at the other end the 400 or so Posh fans applauded their team off the pitch.

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Harrison Burrows of Peterborough United in action with Matthew James of Bristol City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

And quite right as well as Posh refused to wilt when things went against them either side of half time, although keeping 11 men on the pitch might have led to an even more pleasant result.

Posh manager Grant McCann ditched his beloved three centre-back formation in favour of a flat back four with Ward and Harrison Burrows - two players the boss said were not full-backs after the midweek draw with Luton - employed as full-backs.

It was a very positive line-up even though Jack Marriott was dropped to the substitutes’ bench as McCann preferred Ricky-Jade Jones, Kwame Poku and former City player Sammie Szmodics to support in-form Clarke-Harris. Clarke-Harris was captain for the day with Frankie Kent also left on the bench.

And Posh played pretty well before the break. They bossed possession, home ‘keeper Dan Bentley was far busier than Dai Cornell, Ward hit the inside of the post from 25 yards and Sammie Szmodics missed two half chances.

And yet City led 1-0 at the break as a couple of moments of carelessness cost Posh dear just two minutes before the interval.

A great opportuity to break was ruined by a poor pass from Poku which led to a counter-break and a corner which was taken quickly, cleared, but then recycled quickly before Posh could get organised and a fine left wing cross was headed home by centre-back Rob Atkinson. Cornell got a hand to the header, but couldn’t keep it out.

Once Nahki Wells had missed a 12th minute sitter, City only looked a threat from set-pieces whereas Posh found runners in space regularly, but couldn’t buy a finish.

Ward came closest in the 28th minute after he was teed up by Jeando Fuchs, but the ball rebounded to safety.

Jones careered down the left on a couple of occasions, with one cross met by Poku whose shot was blocked. Poku also dribbled into the penalty area after a short corner, but the shot was far less impressive than the run.

Szmodics raced into the area on 31 minutes, but couldn’t beat Bentley and the same player pounced on a Clarke-Harris flick before delivering a wayward left foot shot.

City started the second-half on the front foot and victory looked assured when Ward was sent off on the hour mark for hauling Andreas Weimann down when the striker was clean through. Chris Martin flashed the 20-yard free kick over the bar before McCann understandably restored his three centre-backs.

And Posh were level five minutes later after Josh Knight had allegedy been tripped 30 yards from goal. Harrison Burrows’ free kick was good and the ball fell kindly for substitute Marriott whose shot was deflected into the path of Clarke-Harris who couldn’t miss

City, with their man advantage, naturally dominated the rest of the game. Cornell tipped over a 20-yarder from substitute Han-Noah Massengo before centre-back Timm Klose missed badly with a free header. Martin volleyed horribly wide after one of a succession of crosses reached him at the far post.

Atkinson headed an added time free kick over the bar before Posh could relax. This would have been a decent point in August, now not so much, but there was still plenty to admire.

Posh: Dai Cornell, Harrison Burrows, Ronnie Edwards, Josh Knight, Joe Ward, Jeando Fuchs (sub Reece Brown, 68 mins), Jack Taylor, Ricky-Jade Jones (sub Jack Marriott, 62 mins), Sammie Szmodics (sub Frankie Kent, 62 mins), Kwame Poku, Jonson Clarke-Harris

Unused subs: Will Blackmore, Bali Mumba, Emmanuel Fernandez, Reece Brown, Jorge Grant.

Bristol City: Daniel Bentley, Jay Dasilva, Rob Atkinson, Timm Klose, Joe Williams (sub Han-Noah Massengo, 55 mins), Matty James, Robbie Cundy (sub Zak Vyner, 46 mins), Alex Scott, Nakhi Wells (sub Antoine, Semenyo, 72 mins), Andreas Wiemann, Chris Martin

Unused subs: Max O’Leary, Cameron Pring, Sam Bell, Tommy Conway.

Goals: Posh - Clarke-Harris (65 mins).

City - Atkinson (43 mins).

Sending-off: Posh - Ward (denying a goalscoring opportunity).

Cautions: Posh - Edwards (foul).

City - Scott (foul).

Referee: John Brooks 6.

Attendance: (to follow).